May 19, 2013

Kayak trip almost becomes ice-out adventure

By now, Adirondack trout fishermen should be having their way in the back country. That is, with the exception of some black flies.

Usually it’s about the time that pussy willows, apple blossoms or lilacs bloom that old legends say is when things start to happen. Another one of those magical times to fish is supposed to be ice-out.

That’s what myself and four kayak-fishing buddies had in mind a few weeks ago when we did a 10-mile, overnighter on Indian Lake in the central Adirondacks. Our plan was to float and fish the Jessup River, which flows into the southern end of the lake, spend the night and fish our way out.

What little information we found on the Jessup River told us you had to take on this 2-mile stretch in high water. Thus our choice of a spring run in hopes of also picking up some brown trout. However, once we launched and paddled under the Route 30 bridge we knew immediately the fishing would be tough. The current was quick and the water was cold.

This first part of the river would be nice in warmer weather, but other than portaging around a downed tree, the high water allowed us to cruise over a number of beaver dams that may be more obtrusive later in the year.

I love waters like this and quickly gave up fishing and just paddled down the river enjoying the tranquility. It didn’t take long to get immersed in another world. It also didn’t take long to reach the last stretch of the river, which included some Class I rapids.

This section of the river is full of rocks and high, fast water made scouting the whitewater necessary. After carrying our boats a hundred yards my buddy busted out his fly-rod and did some fishing while I went ahead and scouted the river. It looked like we could shoot the rest of the rapids. I haven’t done this kind of thing in quite a few years but I have to say, it was a thrill.

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