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Michael Pepi Stalks Big Brown Trout on Small Streams in the ’Dacks
Posted on July 3, 2015

A prime stretch of river in the Daks, with active, fish-eating Lightning Bug Nymphs in an active ripple

While most of the members of our guide and athlete team live out west, Eddie Bauer Sport Shop guide Michael Pepi is a diehard New Yorker. And while Montana, Washington, or Colorado are the states that anglers visualize in their trout, steelhead, and salmon dreams, northern New York holds its own when it comes to both iconic waterways and fishing potential. Few fly fisherman know the rivers, lakes, and streams of his upstate backyard better, so we asked Pepi to give us a rundown on his latest small-stream, brown-trout mission in the North Country.This is his under-the-radar Adirondack fishing report. —LYA Editor

East coast trout fisherman.

The Adirondacks—or the’Dacks, as we New England fisherman call them—afford great fishing opportunities. Most people know about the big-name, blue-ribbon trout streams that they offer, but there are hundreds of little streams throughout the ’Dacks. Most people know the Ausable River and the St. Regis River as the main rivers, but if those are the only places where they fish, then they are depriving themselves of some great fishing.

Per usual, I travel with my fishing gear in the truck. This past trip up there to visit friends and family, I found myself at a couple of local rivers during a rainstorm. One was a decent-sized river located behind a very old furniture factory that is simply loaded with willing trout. Oftentimes, you can hit this stretch of Fish Creek and not see anyone else besides carpenters and factory workers alongside the river.

Today was like every other day, where my girlfriend Elizabeth and I had a prime stretch of river to ourselves, with active fish eating Lightning Bug Nymphs in an active ripple. The rain picked up, but the action continued to be good despite the rain. We were able to connect with a bunch of nice average-sized brown trout. This trip was special because as soon as the rain stopped, I saw a 25-plus-inch fish rise just above the lie that I was fishing. I quickly switched from a Nymph to an Emerger that I have great confidence in, and knew would land a fish. I re-situated myself to get a prime drift over where I knew the big fish was holding. However, when I got into place, the rain started to come down with a vengeance and quickly put the fish down again. I tried to wait it out, but the rain never let up, so I put on a Streamer to test my luck.


I would love to tell you that I swung a fly through the rip and quickly tightened up and landed a honking brown trout. But, unfortunately, that did not happen. It poured uncontrollably, my time ran out, and we had to head home.

It is always nice to see large sipping browns in a great, secluded river. Now I know where the big boys like to hang out in this little creek, found in an almost no-name town. Next time, I hope to be able to connect to that honking brown I saw rolling in the rain. On the way home, we passed over another creek that has great trout fishing throughout it. The best access is right in the middle of town and there actually is an assigned ‘Trout Fishing Parking Lot,” but even then you still don’t see many anglers fishing there. The horrible weather kept me off another little stretch I like to fish on the way home.

Lucky for me, I know I will be back there soon, and there are always more fish to catch. The Adirondacks are truly a special place: no matter where you enjoy them, when you are there, you step back in time a little and get to fish in pristine locations. There are many rivers, if you are willing to hike and work to find them, where you could be one of the few anglers who get to fish them all year. If you have a love for catching wild brown and brook trout in the mountains as much as I do, the’Dacks are a place to put on your list.

The locals take their parking seriously in the Daks.


Learn more about the Eddie Bauer Sport Shop fishing gear Michael Pepi designed and rocks up and down the east coast at


Author: - Friday, July 3rd, 2015

  1. Maria

    Area is so good for fishing, it is lovely…

  2. Steve

    Fished the Ausable, Bog River, and Raquette River. Anything leading in or out of Long Lake that may be a fruitful day? Heading up 2nd week of August

  3. Maddie T.

    Caught my first fish at age 8 in the ‘Daks, a little sunfish, while on vacation with my parents in the 1960s. Still have the photo, my smile testifies to the fun of it all.
    Thanks for the descriptive story, the draw of that area continues, I see.

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