Tuesday, November 18, 2008

St. Regis - May 2008

Trip Report for Spring Fishing Trip to St. Regis Pond - Adirondacks, NY

This was the first week of May, 2008. Just a week earlier, I had been hard at work on a campaign for the Pennsylvania primary, working as a field organizer in the southern portion of Lehigh County. At over 100 hours a week, the job had almost killed me, and I needed the trip, the silence, the fresh air badly.

We headed up early, stopping at Saranac Lake for sandwiches and a fishing license. We made it to Little Clear by around 1, unloaded quickly, and started off. I was in the stern of the
Eagle with my brother, Zack, paddling bow. With us was my father, in the Companion. The wind on Little Clear was non-existent, the first time I had ever been on the pond without wind in the face. We zipped along to the portage, which had been recently cleared and was in great shape. Dad and I hossed the canoes and the packs, and Zack took the food. The portage was as pleasant as a walk through the woods with a canoe "hat" could be.

The paddle into Saint Regis was very nice, and soon we were searching for a camp site. The lean-to was taken (I think the same group lives there year round). Our usual site on the right side of the lake directly opposite the lean-to was also taken. In the end, we decided to stay on a different section of the pond, on the northern shore across from the lean-to. The site was big and open, and had a great rock landing, with deep, deep water. It was a great site.

I pitched the tent as Dad strung up a tarp. As Zack gathered firewood, I put my rod together and shoved off in the
Companion. I cast against the north shore, far away from where I had fished on previous trips. Almost immediately, I was rewarded. I landed a nice splake, about 17 inches or so. I released it and started fishing again. A minute later, a strike, and another splake. It was a little smaller, but still a nice fish.

(One of the fish)

Dad got his line in the water and caught a splake as well. This was the first site we had stayed that had good fishing from the site. Usually, we had to paddle out to one of the "spots".

After the fishing cooled off, Zack and I headed to the other end of the pond to chase loons, a la Gus in Lonesome Dove. Zack wasn't as game as I, probably because he didn't have a coat and it was rather chilly, but we managed to track two and snap a few pics before heading back.
(Loon chasing; cuz pretty soon, there won't be any loons left to chase!)
(A cold, cloudy spring sunset)

The next day, I added another splake to my total, and Dad put up one as well, a beautiful splake that we would keep to supplement dinner.

Later that afternoon, Dad and I paddled down to the fish barrier on the west end of the pond. We scoped out the portage that goes to Fish Pond, deciding to come back the next day.

When we got back to camp, we checked out the land around the camp site. The forest was thick, and there was some great erratics, including this, the bastard love child of a tree and a boulder.
(Geology gone horribly wrong)
In all the tramping around, I lost my brand new sunglasses, a pair of Easton wraparounds that I had bought just for the trip. I wear contacts when I'm tripping, and without sunglasses, my eyes dry very quickly. But I think it was the wasted 25 bucks that stung more. Lesson learned, don't put the sunglasses on top of a wide brimmed hat. You don't feel them fall off.

That night, we dined on the fish. With a little butter, salt, and pepper, it was great.
The next day, we hiked down to Fish Pond, meeting a pair of portage cleaners on the way. We stayed at Fish for a few minutes, but without a boat we grew bored and headed back. Once back on St. Regis, we opted to paddle down the St. Regis River into Ochre Pond. It was a bit of an adventure, as none of us had ever tried it before. A few beaver dam-pullovers later, we made it to Ochre, before heading back. It was tiring and I got a little wet hauling the boat over obstructions, but all in all it was quite fun.
("Portage" to Fish)
Back at camp, Dad snagged two more fish, including a beautiful laker. Zack got skunked, unfortunately, but Dad and I had the best fishing either of us had ever had. It was extremely cold and windy, as weather was beginning to move in. Dad and I stayed up for a while, watching the last fire of the trip burn down into coals before heading to the bags.
(Dad's Laker)
The next day, it was wet and misty, but the rain had stopped before dawn. We broke camp and headed towards the portage. Little Clear was engulfed in fog and mist, but again the wind was minimal. We raced for the put in, chased by grey clouds to the north. We made it back to the car and tied the boats down in record time. I snapped a picture of Little Clear just as the clouds opened and the rain started.
(Little Clear, seconds before the rain)
A great trip.


We stopped at the Adirondack Loj and then the Mountaineer on the way out of town. Both were very cool, and reaffirmed my wish to tramp about in the High Peaks soon.

Losing my sunglasses sucked. I need to be more careful. On a long trip, that could have been a problem.

The fishing was great, and it was nice to see a part of the lake we had never seen before.

Overboots are okay for getting in and out of a boat at portages, but if there is any wading to be done, like going over a beaver dam, water tends to seep in. In the future, I want a water shoe, one I can wear without socks and that dries fast. Salomon Techamphibians?

It's time to go to Fish Pond and explore a bit.

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