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An online space for outdoorsmen from CNY and beyond. Tell us about the one you caught or the one that got away.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Adirondacks offer great outdoor variety

The evening sun casts a soft glow on the waters of an Adirondack Lake marked only by the rising of fish, a couple of canoes of fishermen, and families of ducks swimming along the shore. The smell of a campfire mingles with the scent of pine and balsam while the silence is broken by the plaintive call of the loon. Sitting by the lakeshore and watching a deer or an osprey it is easy to forget about the outside world and the daily pressures and chores.

You can find this scene many places in the central Adirondacks. But the nice thing about this area is that it also offers much more and while you enjoy the solitude of the wild, the services, fine restaurants, other accommodations, or any of the other attractions can be just a few miles away.

It is no secret that the Old Forge-Inlet area of the central Adirondacks occupies a special place in my heart since I have spent much of my life hiking, hunting, fishing, paddling and boating in the area. I never tire of going back and doing similar things and each trip finds new adventures that I have not previously discovered.

Although fishing for brook trout in small streams or ponds and pursuing rainbow or lake trout in the larger lakes gets attention, the fishing for bass in lakes and ponds is often overlooked. Recently I was talking to DEC personnel as they loaded tanks of trout onto a helicopter at the Old Forge airport for transport to Raquette Lake, Stillwater Reservoir and many area lakes and ponds.

A great thing is that you can hike or paddle to remote fishing areas that you will have virtually to yourself. Or if you prefer you can rent a boat or launch your own on the Fulton Chain of Lakes to fish for lake trout, landlocked salmon, northern pike, tiger muskie, largemouth and smallmouth bass.

Paddling opportunities abound from the Moose River to smaller, out of the way bodies of water like “Black Bear Lake” featured in Ann LaBastille’s books. Pick up your free booklet “Adirondack Waterways” at either Old Forge or Inlet Visitor Centers.

There are countless miles of hiking trails that range from short and easy to longer and more challenging day hikes. Bald Mountain, Rocky Point and Black Bear Mountain are easy to moderate hikes that offer great views. But there are many miles of interesting trails such as the Moss Lake circle or trails in the Moose River Plains.

The Moose River Plains is a unique area with dirt roads giving access to campsites, hiking trails, fishing in ponds or streams, and viewing wildlife. Stop in at the Inlet Information Office for a map and some expert advice from Mitch Lee.

The Old Forge–Inlet area offers all the usual outdoor and water sports like boating or swimming, etc. in a beautiful setting. But there are many rainy day activities, including the “View” Arts Center in Old Forge which is continually changing its excellent exhibits. Other activities range from the concerts by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in Inlet, Arts in the Park festival at Inlet, horseback riding, seaplane rides, golf at Inlet or Thendara, or the Adirondack Scenic Railroad. Space does not permit listing all the things to do or places to go, so check on the tourism centers in Inlet ( 1-866-GO INLET or Old Forge ( 369-6983.

Looking for the longest water ride in the central Adirondacks? It’s the Moose River. For leisurely, gentle flowing and scenic paddling you cannot beat the North Branch or the Middle Branch just below Old Forge. A trip from North St. Bridge gives you an eight-mile trip back to Old Forge in about four hours. Add two hours to your trip by starting at Rondaxe Lake. Rent canoes or kayaks from Tickners on Riverside Drive or arrange their shuttle service for your own vessels.
You can go down the Middle Branch to Lock & Dam in about an hour if leisurely paddling. Or take the River and Rail where you paddle down the Middle Branch for four hours and you and your canoe or kayak ride the train back to Old Forge. This is a fabulous adventure that operates Thursday through Sunday. Contact Tickners Moose River Outfitters (369-6286) for reservations or more information. They don’t just rent you a boat; they help plan your adventure. Trust me – they are the best.

If you are looking to get off the beaten path or try something new this summer, contact Scott Locorini of Adirondack Exposure. From day trips to longer adventures you can choose from rafting, kayaking or canoeing, hiking, woodcraft skills and fishing. Check out his line of canoes and kayaks, accessories and fishing gear at his headquarters near Okara Lake two miles south of Old Forge. Call 369-6699 for more information.

Accommodations range from motels, bed and breakfast inns, rental cottages or campgrounds. State campgrounds at Nicks Lake, Eighth Lake and Limekiln Lake offer nice facilities or you can opt for primitive camping at Moss Lake or the Moose River Plains as well as other locations. Check the websites mentioned above for complete listings.

A new magazine, “Adirondack Outdoors,” is devoted to traditional Adirondack sports like fishing, hunting, canoeing, hiking and more. The summer issue has many articles on how and where to enjoy your Adirondack experience. Look for free copies locally at Hanifin Tires, Herb Philipsons and Sweet Temptations Café. Pick up copies at the Inlet or Old Forge information centers.

In the meantime be sure to include the central Adirondacks in your summer plans. Whether it’s a vacation, get-away weekend or several day trips, take advantage of this great area at our doorstep. As they say, the good roads make it easy to get there; the mountains make it hard to leave.


Trout In the Classroom: Trout Unlimited’s highly successful Trout In the Classroom program had another great experience locally. Otto Shortell Middle School students, under the guidance of regional coordinator Bob Fields, hatched trout eggs in the aquarium and released the fry in a local stream. During the year long experience the students learned about the biology and ecology of fish and their habitat, and incorporated these lessons in other disciplines.

Bob Fields reported that this recent release of the trout fry was unusual because the Oneida Indian Nation accompanied the release and led even with a prayer of thanksgiving. Following this there were four stations where students learned the relationship between earth and their lives.

Bill Alexander Jigs: Many area residents are aware that Bill Alexander of Sylvan Beach is a very successful fisherman. Since 1981, when he started fishing competitively, he has either won or finished in the top three in several Bassmaster tournaments.

But what many do not realize is that part of the secret to Bill’s success is the fact that he designs and makes his own jigs. Bill understands bass habitat, their feeding habits and other behavior and fine-tunes his lures to take advantage of this. He also believes in using quality components, whether there is money on the line, or just fishing for fun.
Bill also sells his successful line of jigs with a variety of styles. Check his web site which gives background, illustration, and even tips for using the various types. Of course the name comes from “Made To Order” since all of the lures are individually poured, painted and tied with hair or other material. Check out the site for useful information and to see the amazing variety available. Support a local person and at the same time your fishing success may increase.


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