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Old 03-06-2015, 01:31 PM   #1
EagleCrag
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Fishing Adirondack Ponds

I have a friend that attended a TU meeting in Saratoga this week. Their guest speaker was Brian O'Donnell who gave a presentation on fishing Adirondack Ponds. My friend sent me a summary of his presentation. Some of the more noteworthy info:

--58% of Brook Trout diet in ponds consists of Chironomids & Scuds
--Full sinking line recommended
--Floating line ok for fishing chironomids in shallow waters
--Fish steep sloping banks versus flats or gradually sloping banks. This focuses the forage in a narrower band and hence the fish as well.

I notice, judging from pictures that some of the more ardent brookie fishermen on this site seem to prefer streamers. I thought it might be interesting to weigh in on what you fish and how you fish it and how you approach a pond you haven't fished before.
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Old 03-06-2015, 02:05 PM   #2
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I want to do more stillwater brook trout fishing but there is scant info on Eastern pond fishing online.

Up here it seems every second fishing show is Brian Chan or Phil Rowley fishing little lakes for Kamloops Rainbow in British Columbia and from what I have seen I didn't think those techniques had much application here in the east. The waters there are shallower and much more fertile than ponds back east.

I wonder where he got the 58% figure from? Sounds like something pulled from a hat. I question the scud and chronomid thing. I always thought scuds were more prevelent in rich alkaline waters, the last thing you'd call an ADK pond.

When I look at the dinky chronomid patterns with a bit of thread and floss I cannot help but think the only thing I'd catch on those is red belly dace. Maybe the trout hit the dace that ate the chronomid

My limited opinion is brook trout in ADK ponds are more like largemouth bass. They are very cover/structure oriented and will eat anything that will fit in there mouths. Probably because they have to.

The other thing I don't want to use is a full sinking line. The guys out west often fish small marabou leech patterns on floating lines below indicators. Reminds me of crappie fishing but I can see it working here especially around wood.
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Old 03-06-2015, 02:26 PM   #3
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I rarely fish a streamer in a brookie pond. My primary flies are black leeches, damsel nymphs or corixia (water boatmen). Chironomids work well but the best way of fishing those is off a strike indicator which is like watching grass grow. I will tie a chironomid behind a larger fly and that will be taken at least half the time when using a slow retrieve. I have yet to see a scud in an Adirondack pond and would question that figure. If I had to fish ONE fly, I guess it would be a black leech pattern with some burgundy in it.
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“Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. They smelled of moss in your hand. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.”
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Old 03-06-2015, 02:42 PM   #4
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My limited opinion is brook trout in ADK ponds are more like largemouth bass. They are very cover/structure oriented and will eat anything that will fit in there mouths. Probably because they have to.

They are opportunistic. Everything from frogs to snails to the usual bug life has been found in their guts. The more I fish, the more I'm surprised how often brook trout suspend in open water. I fish the structure because casting a fly in the middle of a lake seems like pretty low odds, but I know guys who fish worm/wabbler setups and thats how they catch their fish. I suppose the fish will come in to the shallows early and late to feed and then move out during the day?

Last edited by Glen; 03-06-2015 at 02:49 PM.. Reason: clarify
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Old 03-06-2015, 03:16 PM   #5
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I question the scud thing too. I guess if the statement of 58% is accurate (most likely not) then 99% of the 58% could be chironomids and 1% scuds or anywhere in between, I think its a questionable statistic. Most ADK ponds do not contain scuds, in fact I only know of a couple that do or did back in the day. I've heard of some really crazy rumors of a former forest ranger taking scuds out of one pond and stocking them in another. How's that for bucket biology! That being said, scud or scud like flies are effective regardless of the presence or absence of scuds. A small hares ear can effectively imitate a swimming scud and is a good brook trout pond pattern at times.

I don't know anybody who fishes brook trout in ponds who uses streamers. I can count the number of fish I've caught on streamers in trout ponds on 1 hand through the years. Not for lack of trying either especially on ponds that have smelt.

As of today, my main patterns are stylized midge patterns that could be chironomids, diptera, etc. After that, dragon fly nymphs and maybe a mayfly or two.
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Old 03-06-2015, 04:14 PM   #6
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I'm not sure where the 58% came from either. Sounds like an odd figure to pull out of a hat, but if it was from a study, I don't know what it was. Not sure if that came up during the presentation or not. I also agree with this:

"My limited opinion is brook trout in ADK ponds are more like largemouth bass. They are very cover/structure oriented and will eat anything that will fit in there mouths. Probably because they have to."

I fish around logs & structure because it gives me something to focus on. Like Glen, fly fishing in the middle seems like looking for a needle in the haystack. Also, seeing likely looking logs/brush in the water heightens one's anticipation.
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Old 03-06-2015, 04:25 PM   #7
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When I approach a pond I've never fished before I tend to troll with streamers. I like large ones too...sometimes even articulated but never over 5" total length for Brookies. Some favorites are Buggers, Gray Ghost, Fancy Pants, John's Smelt, Leech patterns. Full sink and sometimes behind a Lake Clear Wobbler. When I'm not trolling I try to use chironomids but I also don't have a lot of confidence in them even though I've had lots of success with them. I believe in the theory that bigger lures catch bigger fish but have caught some 3 lb brookies on very small flies.
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Old 03-06-2015, 04:58 PM   #8
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I usually troll streamers that look like minows in the pond or a leach pattern. On new ponds I just troll back and forth going the long way of the pond and staying about 20 feet from my last pass. If its a big pond with not many landmarks to go by sometimes ill take my gps with me to stay on course and to mark where iv'e had bites.
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Old 03-06-2015, 05:51 PM   #9
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Glen
, You talk about Brook trout being opportunistic, I caught a big trout an if fought so hard we couldn't revive it we tried for along time but no luck, We ate it one of the few I have killed. I hated to . We cut it open an it had a full grown mouse in it. I never so surprised.
I caught it on a dragon fly nymph.
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Old 03-06-2015, 06:09 PM   #10
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My strategy when approaching any pond is to get an understanding of the structure, that being springs, deep areas, weed beds, drop-offs, timber and floating bog mats. Rule #1: Brookies will be where the food is at some point during the day. If that place also provides good cover and a comfortable temperature, it's a sure winner. That is why drop-offs are always worth investigating, especially if they have downed timber for cover. It's also why morning and evening and cloudy days are good times to fish.
Rule #2: Fish something that they will see and recognize. That doesn't necessarily mean huge. If fish are up top after chironomids (rare) that's what you fish. Otherwise, it's crayfish, damsels, dragons, corixia and leeches.
Rule #3: Only troll when going from place to place. Think about it. You're going right through the fish you hope to catch. It's much better to work an area carefully where you think the fish are and cast in a structured pattern. Rule #4: Fish at the depth the brookies are. In late Spring or early Autumn you can count on that being around 12 feet or 2 feet off the bottom. In Summer they will concentrate and hold in very deep water, often around springs. I think it's less than sporting to fish for them under those conditions because no fish caught can be safely released.
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Old 03-06-2015, 07:11 PM   #11
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My strategy when approaching any pond is to get an understanding of the structure, that being springs, deep areas, weed beds, drop-offs, timber and floating bog mats. Rule #1: Brookies will be where the food is at some point during the day. If that place also provides good cover and a comfortable temperature, it's a sure winner. That is why drop-offs are always worth investigating, especially if they have downed timber for cover. It's also why morning and evening and cloudy days are good times to fish.
Rule #2: Fish something that they will see and recognize. That doesn't necessarily mean huge. If fish are up top after chironomids (rare) that's what you fish. Otherwise, it's crayfish, damsels, dragons, corixia and leeches.
Rule #3: Only troll when going from place to place. Think about it. You're going right through the fish you hope to catch. It's much better to work an area carefully where you think the fish are and cast in a structured pattern. Rule #4: Fish at the depth the brookies are. In late Spring or early Autumn you can count on that being around 12 feet or 2 feet off the bottom. In Summer they will concentrate and hold in very deep water, often around springs. I think it's less than sporting to fish for them under those conditions because no fish caught can be safely released.
Hey guys-He must know what he's talking about. Check out this picture....
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Old 03-26-2015, 03:44 PM   #12
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Hey guys-He must know what he's talking about. Check out this picture....
That's one heck of a brook trout!!!
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Old 03-07-2015, 10:23 AM   #13
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Glen
, You talk about Brook trout being opportunistic, I caught a big trout an if fought so hard we couldn't revive it we tried for along time but no luck, We ate it one of the few I have killed. I hated to . We cut it open an it had a full grown mouse in it. I never so surprised.
I caught it on a dragon fly nymph.

Bob,

I always wondered about using a mouse pattern on the ponds. I brought some last fall to try but never got around to it. I think if one did catch a brookie on one it would have to be a good fish. I'm tying up some dragon flies this weekend.
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Old 03-06-2015, 08:58 PM   #14
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Sooo funny.
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Old 03-07-2015, 01:00 PM   #15
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I looked into the Scud business. I think when you hear Scud most of us think of the little olive green guys that live on the bottom of spring fed creeks, groundwater particularly in water enriched with sewage. Ninemile Creek near Syracuse is full of them. It is a spring creek with sewage issues but has lots of trout. They are called Amphipods but there is a very similar bug called Isopod which in layman's term is sometimes called a Scud or Sowbug.

I believe the bug he is referring to is what we call freshwater shrimp and is an Amphipod as well. In many lakes they are most abundant trout food especially young trout. It is also the principal food of Yellow Perch and this may be one reason why brook trout have such a problem with perch.

This is the only fly I know that is tied as a freshwater shrimp imitation. Funny thing is I was going to tie it for the swap. Wish I did now.

http://www.flyanglersonline.com/feat...es/part140.php
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Old 03-07-2015, 01:43 PM   #16
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I've used these freshwater shrimp imitations for years. I've never caught a pond brookie on them (I don't really fish for them that much), but they're death on crappies and bluegills.
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Old 03-07-2015, 01:53 PM   #17
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Pondhopper found a mouse in one of his state records he didn't submit. I've tried the mouse several times but only had success once. I went out on a small pond with wild fish that had a propensity to take surface presentations. This was at near dark with the idea of perhaps drumming up a big fish. I had several fish hit it that were probably too small to take it then finally a 12" fish got the hook in its mouth and I caught it. One of these days I'll try it again.
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Old 03-07-2015, 02:44 PM   #18
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A mouse sounds like a huge meal for a trout but given that the average field mouse is about the size of a mans thumb and very vulnerable in water maybe even foot long trout could take one. I would think an ornery crayfish a much more imposing meal. I caught a foot long brookie once that had a 6" pike in its gullet. Score one for the underdog.
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Old 03-07-2015, 09:53 PM   #19
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Its not hard to open one up and look inside to see what they are eating. The biggest brookie I have seen pulled out up here come to find out had a half a stick of string cheese in its stomach. Somone dropped it out of a boat and the damn thing ate it up on the drop. Outside of brookies, specifically on Lake Colby I have this last spring pulled out several browns that where loaded to the max with Gary Yamamoto bass woms. I believe its the high salt content that attracts them. So far this winter I don't know how many I have pulled out with wacky rig bass setup using the garys. Stupid I know but hey they love them.
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Old 03-08-2015, 01:38 AM   #20
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Today, Gary enjoys spending much time with his wife Beverly
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