Jim Abbott, of Wells, with a beautiful 21-inch brook trout. (Jerrod Vila/For The Recorder)

By JERROD VILA

Recorder Outdoors Columnist

The past weekend myself and two good friends embarked on a four-day long, remote brook trout fishing trip into the depths of the Adirondacks.

Wondering to what lake or pond we went? Well, let’s just say I would rather publicly divulge my social security number and credit card information. No offense meant, it is just the way of all brook trout fishermen.

Heavy packs were loaded with seemingly endless supplies; hammocks, sleeping bags, rain flies, freeze dried meals, Jet Boil, hatchet, clothing, etc. The list of essentials goes on and on — in addition to a canoe, paddles and all necessary fishing gear. Anything we could need for spending four days in a remote Adirondack wilderness. Everyone’s pack weighed in around 65 pounds or so. Which means a 4.2-mile hike with a canoe also resting on the tops of said packs really wasn’t the greatest time in the world. But was it worth it? Absolutely.

A few miles back in along the trail I met an incredible man who was walking out. Jim Abbott was his name, and this is the type of guy that Adirondack legends are made of. Green wool pants, button up shirt nicely tucked in, a neatly kept large white beard that screams, “I’ve roamed these mountains for a lifetime and know more about them than you could ever dream of knowing.” He had a fish over the 20-inch mark and another of very similar size, we had a wonderful conversation about brook trout and the techniques used to consistently catch them. It was also a nice break from the rigors of the trail.

This man only uses fly gear, saying he gave up on Lake Clears 25 years ago and has never looked back. As for the rest of the methods and flies he uses, well as per request and out of sheer respect for a man of this caliber, I will certainly :keep them under my hat.” Thank you, sir.

We got into fish immediately and steadily caught numerous brookies all weekend long, no record size fish, but a couple around the 16-inch mark with most in the 12-to-14-inch range. Which were also the perfect size to wrap in aluminum foil with some onions, butter and seasoning and into the fire they went. Little foil packets of delicious protein nutrition, much better than ramen noodle soup. There is really nothing like super fresh, fire-cooked fish in the middle of nowhere.

We caught them using all different kinds of fishing methods, from traditional Lake Clear Wabblers and a crawler, to spinners like an old school Aglia Mepps and Panther Martins, to slow trolling soft hackle flies and woolly buggers on sinking lines. We were even able to catch a number of brookies right from the shore at our camp as well. I would have to say that slowly trolling within 30 yards and sometimes much closer to shore proved deadliest, no matter  what method or type of tackle we were using. Overall it was a great weekend away, with 30-plus fish caught. New York really has some of the best wild brook trout fishing to be had in the lower 48 states. Do a little research, maybe try and squeak a secret name or two out of a veteran fishermen, and go from there. There are many good brookie ponds that are fairly accessible with a minor amount of leg work.

Food & Fuel Season Long Turkey Contest Results

I really don’t even know where to begin here, so many really nice gobblers were taken this spring it’s difficult to start on any one particular category. Apparently two back to back fairly easy winters have helped grow some substantial local longbeards.

Combination Weight:

First Place: Gary Doviak with a whopping 49.1 pounds including the biggest bird entered in the contest at an insane 26.6 pounds.

Second Place: Richard Rumrill Sr. with a weight of 46.9 pounds.

Third Place: Doug Morrison with a weight of 43.1 pounds.

Youth Combo: Kendrick Jackson with 42 pounds even.

Beard Length:

First place: Youth hunter Colby Hime bested all the old veterans with an awesome gobbler toting a beard over a foot long. 12 1/4 inches to be exact.

Second place: Joe Benato with an 11 7/8-inch rope.

Third Place: Brent Phetteplace with a beautiful 11 1/2-inch beard.

Spurs: 

First Place: Joe Benato with a monster set of hooks measuring in at 1 7/8 inches.

Second Place: Tom Sterner with 1 9/16 inches.

Third Place: Four-way tie of 1 1/2-inch spurs between Rich Rumrill Senior, Doug Morrison, Sean Richards and Dan Conrad.

Fun fact per the NWTF Record book: The largest spurs ever recorded in New York were two inches taken by Thomas Craig in Tioga on May 8, 1980.

Trout Streams

Obviously higher than normal conditions all across the area due to 21 days of measurable rainfall during the month of May. Temperatures in most of the big-name streams are hanging steady in the 50s right now, and with that the Hendricksons have all but disappeared. Leading into some smaller BWOs and some sporadic March Brown Hatches beginning to pop up here and there.

West Branch of the Ausable river checked in Thursday with a medium flow value, good clarity and very fishable river conditions. Fishing should be very good this weekend. The Battenkill was running right around a thousand CFS with very good clarity, but a 1000 CFS on the Battenkill is quite high, this reading is taken at Battenville in New York, so farther upstream near the Vermont border the river may very well be quite fishable. Solid West Canada creek reports have been coming in as well, with many fish being taken on emergers and dries in the late evening.

Despite very high conditions the Mohawk has been producing, for some reason or another numerous reports of decent size northern pike have been coming in. Yes, from the Mohawk. So get out and fish!.Whether it be the Great Sacandaga, the Mohawk or a remote little brook trout pond, plenty of fishing opportunities abound.

Deer Prep

Now that turkey equipment as been hung up for the year, it’s time once again to start thinking about deer. (Just what the wife wants to hear.) Bucks this time of year are well on their way and the mature guys are sporting significant racks already. Get those trail cameras out, clear your cards, throw a fresh set of batteries in and get them out in the woods. Maybe start flinging a shot or two with the bow here and there. Going through gear that needs to be replaced, checking and trimming stand locations. So much to do before October rolls around.