Top 5 Flies for the Adirondack Mountains

Written by: Ken Kalil, Kalil’s Upstate Outfitters 

Ken Kalil ties on a favorite pattern while fall fly fishing on his home waters in Upstate New York.
Photo courtesy Ken Kalil

When you mention you live in New York, many out-of-staters immediately picture New York City. But five hours north, in a state park four times the size of Yellowstone, nothing could be further from the city life. Here, you will find an angler’s paradise, where mountains dotted with still waters and moving water paint the landscape. The opportunities are limitless in the Adirondack Mountains, site of a rich angling history and is home to the legendary rivers, such as the Saranac and Ausable.

In this wilderness paradise, the rivers have a distinct tea color, which might explain why trout find these top flies for the Adirondacks so enticing.

1. Zug Bug
From the many picturesque rivers or streams that flow through the Adirondacks to the countless lakes and ponds dotting the landscape, this fly is hard to fish wrong and is a great choice for many of the Park’s trout waters. With the peacock-herl flash of a glitzy New York night, this buggy nymph induces trout to strike in all kinds of conditions and is a must-have for our Adirondack waters.

2. Hornberg
Big or small, this fly can be like throwing a New York pizza at many trout species. It’s a brook trout favorite, whether you fish it on top or below the surface in streams or ponds.

3. Black Ghost Streamer
In low water, stripped fast or dead-drifted, this classic streamer produces as well now as it did when it was first tied, almost a century ago.

4. Olive Caddis Pupa
With so many olive-colored pupae cluttering the trout’s home, this one is a no-brainer. Fished just under the surface on a trout pond or dead drifted deep through a run, this fly produces well.

5. Griffith’s Gnat
This fly can is a local favorite for stillwater fishing or casting to cruising Ausable River trout on an August morning during a dense spinnerfall of tricos. The Griffith’s Gnat is usually tied in small sizes, but can also be fished successfully tied on larger hooks.

Ken Kalil owns and operates Kalil’s Upstate Outfitters in the Adirondack region of New York State and is a contributor to the Orvis River Reports for the Ausable and Saranac Rivers.

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