Category Archives: Adirondacks

Over Snow Travels in the Great White North

If there ever was a better time to invest in a snowmobile, the winter of 2014-2015 was that time! The current cooling weather pattern which settled in on us around summer/fall of 2013 has continued in its full glory allowing for copious amounts of winter sports! In my life, Ice Fishing started as and has always been a hobby for winter with little or no usable snow. This winter has featured continuous snowfall; therefore I do not believe I have even gone out ice fishing on a single occasion, excepting for Ice Fish and Chips!

FJ makes first tracks to feed the starving deer.
FJ makes first tracks to feed the starving deer at The Lazy K Ranch.

As a quick update on ice fishing in the winter of 2015, Zach Boynton has caught a few Northern Pike, his girlfriend caught a large Brown Trout and Chris Woodhead purchased a gasoline auger. That has been the extent of my ice fishing discussion this year.

Mark caught this large Chain Pickerel on a warmer day.
Mark caught this large Chain Pickerel on a warmer day.

This blog is a comprehensive overview of all the winter fun had by the Moose Knuckle Fly Fishing Rod, Gun and Snowmobile club. There should be an upcoming final Ice Fishing blog on these pages shortly. For your fishing entertainment I have tucked in a picture of Mark’s massive Chain Pickerel caught through the ice as any blog is not complete without at least one fish pic.

The January 23rd Snowstorm on Southtown Road.
The January 23rd Snowstorm on Southtown Road.

Trail Building

Brenton starts the Arctic Cat on Thanksgiving.
Brenton starts the Arctic Cat on Thanksgiving, cousin Jessica watches from afar.

New Jersey suffered back to back hurricanes, Irene in 2011and Sandy in 2012, combined these storms did extensive ecological damage on the forests and streams of northwest New Jersey. The winter of 2012/ 2013 was snowless and 2013/ 2014 the blow downs made it near impossible to navigate a snowmobile in the forests. In 2014 we enjoyed a white Thanksgiving, at that moment I resolved to get back into snowmobiling for 2015. Call the return to snowmobiling a New Year’s Resolution!

Clearing a blowdown on the SnoMax.
Clearing a blowdown on the SnoMax. Note Stihl Chainsaw posing on log.

The first step for the resurgence of snowmobiling at the MKFF proving grounds was driven by a January 23rd snowstorm, also my 31st birthday! We woke up to a fresh clean blanket of snow across all of the fields at the Lazy K Ranch and the MKFF Proving Grounds. I had been working on clearing trails before this storm, after the storm it became a little more difficult, however, not too difficult that the New Holland Workmaster and my Stihl Chainsaw could not blaze through the mess.

Enjoying a Yuengling after clearing trails.
Enjoying a Yuengling after clearing trails. Also sweet table for my lodge style house.

SnoMax

Brenton, dad and I used to maintain a hare scramble track through the woodlot on Old Barn Acres (MKFF Proving Grounds). The track winds a challenging course through the limestone outcroppings, swamps, ledges and forests common in our area of Frelinghuysen Township. Over the years the track has evolved and several features were added but the general principle of a strenuous trail through rugged and wooded terrain remains.

Zach and Chris take a break from riding the SnoMax.
Zach and Chris take a break from riding the SnoMax.

The trail, henceforth referred to as SnoMax, with its tight features lends itself well to vintage and smaller sleds, the type of machine where you have to lean in and become part of the chassis to make it go and dowhat you want it to. A vintage sled takes skill to ride, which is what we like! SnoMax features one small table top, a rhythm section, one ditch jump, a ledge climb and countless hairpin turns mixed with dodgy high speed straightaways.

Farm work is more difficult in the snow.
Farm work is more difficult in the snow, not with a New Holland Workmaster!

This summer, the SnoMax will be expanded with the help of heavy equipment, the features enhanced, the brush cleared wider and various other improvements will be made. With these augmentations and the help of a cooling climate in 2015/2016 the MKFF RAGSC will host a vintage snowmobile timed hare scramble.

Woodhead's snowmobile poses seductively, inviting someone to ride her.
Woodhead’s snowmobile poses seductively, inviting someone to ride her.

Tug Hill Plateau

The plateau is a forested upland region of New York that is known far and wide for it unbelievable winter snowfalls and epic snowmobiling. Locate east of Lake Ontario, north of Oneida Lake and west of the Adirondack Mountains; this region, covering four counties of upstate New York receives more than 200 inches of snowfall per winter.  In fact the local ski area, Snow Ridge Ski Resort receives more snowfall than any ski area east of the Mississippi River. This gem, located only five hours from northwest New Jersey is a true national treasure for Winter Sports!

Seasonably cool weather.
Seasonably cool weather.

Tug Hill is home to a very active snow sports community. Sometimes, it is refreshing to leave my home state where everyone but me curses the winter and go somewhere that the season is embraced with a passion. Depending on the snowmobile club in the area, there are 24-7 grooming operations on major trails. The gas stations pump ethanol free gasoline for snowmobiles and a restaurant or bar will not survive without access to the snowmobile trail network.

Which way to go on the hill?
Nick and Rob ask, “Which way to go on the hill?”

The Edge Hotel

Ovation and GMC 2500HD pose for a picture in front of The Edge.
Ovation and GMC 2500HD pose for a picture in front of The Edge.

Nick initially approached me about a 2015 snowmobile adventure back over Thanksgiving weekend when we received our first snowfall of winter 2014/2015. At that time I was anticipating a return to “normal” New Jersey winters which do not amount to much snow, only mud. I was also anticipating getting the Lazy K Ranch lodge construction project kicked off early, the January 23rd snow event quickly dampened those expectations. With the lodge on hold, Nick informed me that he had found accommodations that meet the needs of snowmobilers. He showed me some pictures and we booked at The Edge Hotel in Lyons Falls, New York.

The Edge Hotel lobby, Adirondack style.
The Edge Hotel lobby, Adirondack style.

Driving into The Edge’s parking you will understand that this is a place built for snowmobilers by snowmobilers and managed by people who ride snowmobiles. The hotel is coupled with a bar called Boondock’s, there are vintage snowmobiles and SUVs decorating the roof! The bar crowd is lively and arrives largely by snowmobile, in fact; the trail goes right through the parking lot. The hotel has a snowmobile loading ramp set for three sizes of pick-up trucks, I consider this a new must have for any new lodge construction. The rooms are modern, clean and comfortable while the main lobby is decorated as an Adirondack style lodge. The staff is friendly and breakfast is free in the morning, allowing you to get on the trail quickly!

Snowmobile loading ramp at The Edge Hotel, newest must have feature for any house.
Snowmobile loading ramp at The Edge Hotel, newest must have feature for any house.

On Misadventure

No, Winter Sports!, story is complete without the breakdown or adventures of being lost. You could own a brand new sled or be driving something from the 1980s, it does not matter, they are machines designed to operate at peak performance, you ride them and they breakdown! The 1997 Yamaha Ovation, which I have run continuously since the late 1990’s was functioning perfect all year. However, about ten miles into the town of Brantingham, NY, a horrible noise started to erupt from inside the engine compartment. A screeching, bearing disintegrating howl poured out from under the cowling.

Making the best of a bad situation.
Stephanie, making the best of a bad situation.

No sooner had the howl started; it calmed down for a minute after I shut off the sled and restarted. Maybe the belt was cold? Nope! As I piloted across the soft snow at about thirty miles per hour all of the sudden, an extreme howl and loss of significant engine power. I quickly pulled to the sled and shut down; this ride just became a recovery operation.

Nothing better to do but pose for pictures during a breakdown.
Nothing better to do but pose for pictures with Stephanie during the breakdown.

Two hours passed, with Nick and Rob’s help, the Ovation was in the back of my GMC, I rented a sled at the Flat Rock Inn and we planned a ride for rest of the day. The four hour tour which took almost eight hours, in the dark….we will save that story for another day.

Everyone is now re-equipped with snowmobiles
Everyone is now re-equipped with snowmobiles. Left to Right Stephanie, Rob and Nicko.

The Montague Inn

The Montague Inn
The Montague Inn

The Montague Inn located in Lowville, NY is the site that recorded a snowfall total in the United States, 77 inches in a 24 hour period from a single storm. In addition, the New York State Seasonal Snowfall record of 466.9 inches in the winter of 1976/1977 was set in this very town. A localized architectural feature is second floor entry ways for people’s homes. It goes without say that this place is an excellent snowmobiling bar and restaurant. Heavy snows, friendly people and a business that is OPEN to snowmobilers, day or night. Walk right in and there is a huge helmet rack for your gear. Saddle up at the bar; enjoy a delicious local brew and one of the many reasonably priced daily specials.

Local brew, highly recommended.
Local brew, Blackwatch IPA,  highly recommended.

White To Brown

Vintage Snowmobiles
Vintage Snowmobiles – Actic Cat Lynx various years.

This brings us to the end of this tale of a white and wondrous winter. As I type my closing thoughts, I am staring out the window at a brown nightmare, 45 degrees and mud everywhere, not yet warm enough for daffodils. The mud season has commenced, so has maple sugar season. Trout fishing is a mere 23 days out, to pass the time we will be working on boiling down maple sap to make maple syrup.

Stay tuned for the 2015 Trout Season reboot!

24-7 Grooming Operations can't help the trails in the summer.
24-7 Grooming Operations can’t help the trails in the summer.

Fall Highlights

School, work and just life in general has been rather hectic the past few months, but every once in a while the Moose Knuckle crew has been able to escape the realms of reality and venture to the outskirts of the land. From Block Island Fly Fishing to hidden lakes right next door, we have had some awesome fall fishing mixed with scenic destinations. Here are a few of our favorite shots from the past few months. We hope you enjoy!

Brant Lake Shots

Fall Road, Brant Lake NY
Fall Road, Brant Lake NY
Fall Shot
Fall Shot
Panoramic shot of Lake Pharoah
Panoramic shot of Lake Pharoah

 

Block Island 30th Birthday Celebration. Unfortunately we didn’t catch any Stripers!

The Surf Breaking
The Surf Breaking
Ladies Hanging Out
Ladies Hanging Out
Me preparing the fly
Me preparing the fly

Fall Fishing In Blairstown, NJ. Items needed? Some beervrages, a discovered pet, a good friend and trusty transportation.

Transportation
Transportation
Beervrage
Beervrage
A discovered pet named Pete
A discovered pet named Pete
A Good Friend
A Good Friend
A beautifully peaceful fishing hole
A beautifully peaceful fishing hole
The perfect end result
The perfect end result

It has been one hell of a season this past year. Next year we expect so much more. What’s up next for the Moose Knuckle Crew you ask!? Well, my friends, ice fishing is almost upon us! Augers are all sharpened up, tip-ups are all re-strung and hooked, toasty clothing is ready for wear, and of course a good old American bottle of Yuengling will be in hand. Prepare folks, the stories are just beginning 🙂

Until next time, keep rippin’ lips.

Birthday Bass

A few weeks back now a few friends of the MKFF crew took a trip up to the Adirondacks to get away from the city and rip a few lips. High expectations were felt throughout the cabin as the crew started to roll in. However, the day before is when I had arrived to take a quick day trip up to the Ausable River with my brother-in-law as the ladies stayed behind to catch a few rays. Not knowing what to expect, I prayed for a slammin day with a good friend and a few beastly trout. My expectations were met pretty well.. Here’s my story…

The Day Begins
The Day Begins
First Cast Beaut
First Cast Beaut

Baetis Dun
Baetis Dun

After a few hours on the Ausable, and a handful of nice trout, we decided to call it a day and head back to the house, the babes, and the beverages. The next day, however, would show the true force of the bass fishing in the Adirondacks.

The Cabin. Heaven.
The Cabin. Heaven.
Overcast and Cool? Deadly Popper Weather
Overcast and Cool? Deadly Popper Weather
The Three Sisters
The Three Sisters
Fly Fisherman Take Off
Fly Fisherman Take Off
Daves Typical Catch
Daves Typical Catch
Mark Chipping In
Mark Chipping In

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Everyone SHUT UP! I Caught A Fish
Everyone SHUT UP! I Caught A Fish

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There is a lot going on in this picture and I approve of it all
There is a lot going on in this picture and I approve of it all

All in all the weekend birthday break was a blast. Can’t wait for more adventures with the MKFF crew! Tune in next week for the lips that are ripped off of Block Island!!!

June ADK Photo Wrap-Up

waterfall adk
Moose River Falls

This has been one of the rainiest June’s on record for the east coast.  In the Adirondacks, it seemed like every other day the rivers would be blown out.  Even with mother nature not cooperating, there was still some great fishing to be had.  With the constant and rapidly changing conditions this month, every type of fly fishing (streamers, nymphs, wets, and dries) had their place.  Along with my normal Schroon River fishing, I was able to get up to the West Branch of the Ausable River, again.  One of my favorite days was the last time I was on the Schroon.  I fished a size 10 Stimulator between the pockets on hot mid-afternoon.  The trout were super aggressive and continuously slammed my dry fly throughout the day.  The Adirondacks is an amazing place for fly-fishing, and I feel I have only scratched the surface.

W. Branch Ausable: 20" Rainbow
W. Branch Ausable: Very Skinny 20″ Rainbow
Size 8 Invicta Muddler
Size 8 Invicta Muddler
bass
Brant Lake

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W. Branch Ausable: Size 8 Golden Stonefly Nymph
W. Branch Ausable: Size 8 Golden Stonefly Nymph
W. Branch Ausable: Polish Woven Nymph
W. Branch Ausable: Size 10 Polish Woven Nymph
Polish Woven Nymph Hook: Curved Nymph 10-16 Body: Woven Orange and Olive Danville 4 Strand Rib: Silver Wire Thorax: Hare's Ear Dubbing Head; Tungsten Bead
Polish Woven Nymph
Hook: Curved Nymph 10-16
Body: Woven Orange and Olive Danville 4 Strand
Rib: Silver Wire
Thorax: Hare’s Ear Dubbing
Head: Tungsten Bead
W. Branch Ausable: Size 6 Vladi Worm
W. Branch Ausable: Size 6 Vladi Worm
W. Branch Ausalbe: pocket water heaven
W. Branch Ausalbe: pocket water heaven
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W. Branch Ausalbe: Size 10 Turk’s Tarantula
Rooster Comb Mt.
Rooster Comb Mt.

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Schroon: Size 10 Stimulator
Schroon: Size 10 Stimulator
Schroon: Size 10 Stimulator
Schroon: Size 10 Stimulator
Schroon: Size 10 Stimulator
Schroon: Size 10 Stimulator
Schroon: Size 12 Mini-Muddler
Schroon: Size 12 Mini-Muddler
Schroon: Size 14 Picket Pinn
Schroon: Size 14 Picket Pinn
Picket Pinn Hook: 12-16 Thread: Black Tail: Red Saddle Body: Peacock Herl Hackle: Red Saddle Wing: Deer Hair Body
Picket Pinn
Hook: 12-16
Thread: Black
Tail: Red Saddle
Body: Peacock Herl
Hackle: Red Saddle
Wing: Deer Hair Body

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skeet
A little cast and blast session with my college buddy Rich
My dad's doggie Maddie in Otter Creek
My dad’s doggie Maddie in Otter Creek
Fishing is always fun!!!!
Fishing is always fun!!!!

Brant Lake Expedition

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Nick and Jess invited the MKFF Crew up to the Adirondacks for Zach’s 25th Birthday weekend. On Friday evening, we departed New Jersey. The rain was terrible, fortunately we made it up to Brant Lake safely. Saturday’s weather was cloudy and warm, perfect for Bass fishing. I was able to catch Crappie, Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, Pickerel and Rock Bass on a Wooly Bugger with dumbell eyes. The next day, the sun shined through. Nick killed it on the Schroon using a Minnie Muddler and Slump Buster leveraging a Wet Fly technique. Overall, a great celebration combined with Rippin’ Lips.

Just Schroon’in Around

casting
I have limited internet acess up here in the Adirondacks, so my posts will be brief and few for the time being.  The Schroon has been fishing great the past two weeks.  I have found new acess points and remote beats that see few flies.  The highlight so far was landing a nice 20 inch landlocked salmon on a hornberg fished as a dry.  The salmon fought me for about five mintues on my six weight.
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I love finding new water away from the popular fishing holes.  The fly for the time being is a mini muddler, it has been crushing up here.  I fish it dry up stream, and then I continue to mend and drift it on the swing below me.  Big bushy hackle dry flies with a dropper have also enticed trout in the pocket water.  Trout, smallmouth, and landlocked salmon are still present.  The rest of the MKFF crew is coming up here this weekend to continue exploring the Schroon as well as hitting the legendary West Branch of the Ausable in search of some hogs in the trophy sections.  Sampling of the past weeks below:
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Mini Muddler: Hook: 12 Thread: 70 Brown Denier Tail: Turkey Body: Silver Tinsel Underwing: Snowshoe Rabbit Wing: Turkey Collar: Deer Hair Head: Spun and Trimmed Deer Hair
Mini Muddler:
Hook: 12
Thread: 70 Brown Denier
Tail: Turkey
Body: Silver Tinsel
Underwing: Snowshoe Rabbit
Wing: Turkey
Collar: Deer Hair
Head: Spun and Trimmed Deer Hair
Sulphur Comparadun Hook: 18 Thread: PMD Tail: Microfibbets Split Body: Sulphur Super Fine Wing: Coastal Deer Hair
Sulphur Comparadun
Hook: 18
Thread: PMD
Tail: Microfibbets Split
Body: Sulphur Super Fine
Wing: Coastal Deer Hair

Classic Clouser

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Small Stream Exploring

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My dad recently bought some property and built a cabin in the western Adirondacks.  I finally got up here to enjoy some quality time with the family.   My dad’s property back’s up to a remote stream, so yesterday I decided to give it a go and see if there were any wild trout.  We hiked through the property to get to the water.  This creek is nice and remote, and the only other way to access this section besides my dad’s property is a 3-mile hike in.   I rigged up with my favorite way for prospecting small streams: a size 16 mini muddler.  This fly is like a small Turk’s Tarantula.  You can fish the mini muddler as a dry fly up stream and then swing it through a run downstream at the end of your drift.  It’s a great way to cover a lot of water.  On some of the slower pools, I switched to a Hendrickson Comparadun.

Tea color water of the Adirondacks comes from the decaying vegetation and leaves.
Tea color water of the Adirondacks comes from the decaying vegetation and leaves.
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The pocket on the other side of the main current yielded a small brookie

I hooked up with a lot of wild brookies, and they were spread out pretty evenly in different kinds of water.  The creek had the classic Adirondack tea color with lots of structure, runs, pools, and pockets.  Lots of midge activity on the surface with the occasional Hendrickson.  It was an amazing time just exploring and catching these small but aggressive trout.

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Brookies have such great colors.
Brookies have such great colors.

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Hendrickson Comparadun
Hendrickson Comparadun

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Nice slower pool
This guys was the winner of the day at 6"
This guys was the winner of the day at 6″