You may ask, “When it looks like this in your backyard, why are you driving for hours to go up north? Easy,…the Adirondack Museum’s Fishing Derby for Kids! Silas had this in his sights since we missed it last year, there was NO way he was going to miss it this year!
The ride up was pretty amazing, if this isn’t peak color, I don’t know what is. The scene here to the left is Gore Mountain, which was absolutely on fire! As we drove up we stopped to take a few shots along the way, and Silas played me some of “his” music on the iPod. A light sprinkle turned to mist as we climbed higher into the mountains.
The parking pull off at Lake Durant is one of my favorite “easy access” views in the central Adirondacks. As you can see here, the foliage was unbelievable. A small flock of wood ducks rocketed across the water about six inches off the surface. As I looked out over the lake, I remembered a friend saying the fishing was quite good here, and the small campsite was really excellent. I’m thinking an overnight there next summer might be in order, and if that happens I’ll post a complete report here. It’s really easy to get to, not too far off the Northway, and would be a really family friendly location with easy access to food and other supplies.
When we arrived at the Museum, the sky cleared, the temperature came up a good fifteen degrees. As you can see here, the grounds were every bit as colorful as the roadside view on the way up. The Museum was packed with visitors from all over this country and Canada. As Silas and I headed down to grab lunch at the cafe, folks passed us with an amazing bouquet of accents from southern drawls to Quebecois .
This is the view from the Cafe, Blue Mountain Lake looking south towards the Marion River Carry. There was no boat traffic at all, and I couldn’t help but think this same view hasn’t changed for many, many years. Except for the camp on the island, this was the same view Native Americans saw for years before my family came here in the 1700s. The food was great, and the music of my buddy Dan Berggren wafted across the dining room from the cd player at the counter. I would have been happy to sit there for quite some time, but we had to move on, and get Silas registered for the fishing tournament.
Silas couldn’t resist a try on the stilts in front of the old school house on the way up to the pond where registration was located. He’s been coming to the Museum as long as he can remember, trying activities like this one, making toy boats, wandering through the exhibits, and even listening to his old man play songs and tell the tales he learned here in these mountains when he was his age.
The pond at the Marion River Carry exhibit was already buzzing with activity as kids hit the eight different stations trying to catch the trout stocked there last spring. The pond has to be drained each fall to avoid ice damage, and that means the kids get a shot at fishing for some really respectable trout. As I stood on the dock a rainbow in the 20″ class glided easily under the dock as kids casted frantically trying to get it’s interest. Clearly, it was going to be a challenging day on the water for these young anglers.
While some were watching the action on the water, others were watching volunteers from Trout Unlimited tie flies, and give casting lessons on the lawn. The museum staff helped the kids trace, weigh, and clean their catch. As Silas and I perused some of the tracings of fish caught earlier in the day, it became obvious there were some monsters in there. The little spin cast rigs handed out at the registration desk would be tested to the max.
Silas’s frustration with the kiddy pole was palpable. Worm fishing is not his cup of tea, but he busted out cast after cast as the shell shocked trout became tougher and tougher to engage.
Finally, he abandoned the spin cast rig with the Superman decal on the reel, and grabbed Dad’s 9′ St. Croix fly rod. A quick switch to his first choice river fly, the Montana, and he was back in business. The Montana is a stonefly imitation, and I had no idea if these fish had ever seen a stonefly, but the return of his confidence was obvious as he worked the fly across the rocky bottom. All of the sudden there was a flash across the bottom, the fly line straightened out, and Silas let him have it! The fish ran back and forth across the face of the dock, finally breaking water less than six feet in front of him. Folks gathered round as Silas guided him to the front of the dock, I reached down with the net and,…
Silas capped our season with a 12″ Brook trout,…that’s my boy! Boy, it’s gonna be a LONG winter waiting for the next time we can do this up here again, but what a year it was!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!