If you landed on this article expecting a story of giant Brook trout then you have come to the wrong place. This article is about Adirondack mountain Brookies the size of your index finger with the attitude of a rabid great white. We never thought we would want to target a 4”-6” fish, but after seeing repeated pictures on Instagram of a tiny fish…those colors…those spots…we became obsessed.
We decided to make a weekend out of it and have a home base smack in the center of the Adirondack State Park in New York. While our main goal was those little firecrackers, we decided to break up the trip by traveling up north to the Ausable River for the usual Browns and Rainbows. Ironically enough, we caught some Brookies as well. After a great day on some of the most popular trout waters in the northeast, and of course hitting up another sort of hot spot in the village of Lake Placid, we headed back to basecamp to change up our rigs for a day of nonstop torpedo attacks.
After all of the research we did on Brookies temperament we figured they would be an easy target for dry fly action. However, after several attempts with no takers on the dries we knew we had to switch up our tactics. How we expected the Brookies to act and behave was completely different than how they behaved in reality. While we are use to the cruising methods of other trout, these Brookies tended to just hang out in deep dark crevices of overhanging rocks and log piles. We became so accustomed to targeting their layers that we started throwing 100% guarantees on a fish being there…and our success rate was ridiculous. To add to the excitement, these fish take the fly like a ton of bricks. It was almost comical as four guys are constantly yelling, “Monster!” on every take to only pull up a five incher. It is amazing to see a 5 weight fly rod bend like a 16″ Brown is pulling back.
Like I said earlier, these fish weren’t cruising in fast moving water waiting for the current to wash them down lunch, gradually rising to slurp a fly off the surface. There was nothing gradual about these little underwater missiles, for that reason we needed to change up the equipment and fly. Once we recognized their hideouts, we knew we needed a small enough meal that would sink quick enough to get right up on their door step. We found the perfect weapon in a beadhead scud pattern. Also, we lost the long tapered leaders and tied on a piece of 6x tippet about 18” long right to the fly line. We got rid of casting and just started dipping the scud right into those dark caves that contain the mini monsters. In some holes, we would even handline the scud right into their den. It seemed the darker the cave the better the chance.
What makes this trip, besides the fish, is the terrain and scenery where these Brookies thrive. The stream was absolutely picturesque, something you would see in a Discovery Channel documentary on the beauty of the Adirondacks. We followed this stream miles up into the untouched beauty of the mountains. There were no stud scratches on rocks, footprints in the sandy stream bed, or DEC signs telling of fishing regulations. It made us wonder if our flies were the first flies these fish have ever seen.
You can say what you want… How could someone enjoy catching 5” fish? Our response… Don’t knock it ‘till you try it. This was one of the most fun times we have ever had with a pole in our hand despite having reeled in 40”+ fish in the past. What we didn’t catch in length we caught in numbers and in around 6 hours we easily caught over 200 fish. When you pull out your first mountain creek Brook trout you will immediately fall in love…those colors…those spots…you become obsessed!