The recent snowstorm delivered an unpleasant reminder of the fickle nature of nature and provided positive proof that the only predictable elements of the earth’s natural elements are their unpredictability.
Prior to the week’s brief return to the ski season, the fishing season had been off to a fantastic start as stream temperatures approached the 50-degree threshold. Warmer surface waters were found on the ponds, which resulted in some prolific mayfly hatches.
Anglers have enjoyed nearly a full month of steady action, but the bonanza was bound to bust at some point. Despite the intrusion of the white matter, I fully expect local fisheries will perform a prompt rebound. Anglers should have a rod ready, as mayflies will likely replace snowflakes in the airspace over Adirondack trout waters.
At the crack of dawn on Saturday, May 1, the spring wild turkey hunting season will commence. Hunters across the state will employ a variety of clucks, calls, decoys and possibly a few silent prayers, in order to bring the wily birds within the effective shotgun range of 30 yards or less.
Dressed in camouflage, turkey hunters will sit still to remain undetected as they communicate with a tom while attempting to entice the bird in. There are very few woodland experiences that rival the challenge and excitement of turkey hunting, which features a running conversation between a hunter and their prey.
New York’s month-long turkey season permits a bag limit of just two bearded birds per hunter. Hunting hours are limited from sunrise until noon.
Whitewater Derby and Adirondack Adventure Festival
The small hamlets of North Creek and North River will host the 53rd annual Hudson River Whitewater Derby this weekend.
Long considered one of the premier whitewater paddling events in the nation, the Hudson River Whitewater Derby offers outstanding opportunities for spectators.
This year’s event will introduce the inaugural Adirondack Adventure Festival, which promises an exciting mix of outdoor activities available throughout the village of North Creek.
The festival will offer guided road and mountain bike rides, guided hikes, canoe and kayak demos, fly fishing demos, helicopter rides, live music, food and drink specials throughout town and great shopping at local stores and with a variety of vendors located throughout the village.
FishFest at the Wild Center
The Wild Center in Tupper Lake will host its annual Spring Outside Free Community Day on Saturday, May 15. This year’s event, FishFest, will feature a celebration of Adirondack angling adventures, with an emphasis on utilizing fishing as a method to foster a connection between children and nature.
Angling is one of the most readily available and easily accessible recreational pursuits in the park as the majority of Adirondack communities have a river, stream, pond or lake located in close proximity to the center of town.
The featured speaker will be author, artist and angler James Prosek, and more than 20 organizations and businesses will be on hand to offer ideas to families for getting outside.
Family activities available throughout the 31-acre campus will include fly casting with members of the Tri-Lakes Chapter of Trout Unlimited, fly-tying demonstrations with Vince Wilcox of Wiley’s Flies, spin casting clinics with staff from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, wooden boat building with the Adirondack Museum, Camping 101 with the Adirondack Mountain Club, a rock climbing wall, nature scavenger hunts and fort building.
An artist, angler and award-winning author, Prosek earned the moniker of the Audubon of Trout for his naturalist styled paintings. He will offer an afternoon presentation on “Fishing the 41st Parallel,” which details the around-the-world angling adventures he accomplished while circumnavigating the globe on the 41st parallel, beginning from his home in Connecticut.
Additional presentations will be offered by DEC Region 5 Fisheries manager Bill Schoch on the Adirondack Heritage Strain Brook Trout Restoration Program and by flyfishing guide Patrick Sisti, who will present his popular introduction to local waters with “Fishing Adirondack Ponds 101.”
Local guide, Sonny Young, will discuss Water Safety for Families and author and historian, Jay O’Hern will be on hand to discuss his books about the legendary Adirondack hermit, Noah John Rondeau, the self proclaimed “Mayor of Cold River City, with a population of 1.”
Throughout the day there will be otter enrichments, animal encounters and naturalist walks. There will be art projects, fish encounters, fish feedings, casting contests and live music.
Prosek made his authorial debut at 19 years of age with “Trout: An Illustrated History,” which he published while still an undergraduate at Yale. The book, which features his watercolor paintings of trout, became an instant best seller among both anglers and non-anglers alike.
He remains a regular contributor to The New York Times and won a Peabody Award in 2003 for his documentary about traveling through England in the footsteps of Izaak Walton, the 17th-century author of The Compleat Angler.
In 2004, Prosek co-founded a conservation initiative called World Trout with Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia clothing company, to raise money for coldwater habitat conservation through the sale of T-shirts featuring trout paintings.
As of 2009, World Trout has raised over $350,000 for coldwater conservation.
Prosek’s current work is concerned with man’s changing relationship to nature. In his writing and painting, he is examining the human compulsion to create order in nature through naming. Prosek’s most recent publication is “Bird, Butterfly, Eel,” his first children’s book.
His next book, about eels, due out in the summer or fall through HarperCollins Publishers, explores the life history, mystery and world cultural associations concerning the freshwater eel. His story about freshwater eels is scheduled to run in National Geographic Magazine in 2010.
Prosek is a curatorial affiliate of the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale, and a member of the board of the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies.
Get Out and Play Day
On Saturday, May 15, the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s Northern Forest Institute, in partnership with Children and Nature New York, will host its first Get Out and PLAY! Conference in Newcomb.
The event will feature a full day of play-based workshops and provide training and development for professionals and non-professionals who work with children in formal and informal settings such as organized sports, recreational leagues, youth programs, camp programs, scouting and childcare facilities.
Paul B. Hai, program coordinator for ESF’s Northern Forest Institute (NFI) and a co-founder of CiNNY, will be hosting and co-coordinating the event.
“Playing outdoors does more for children than just let them burn off excess energy,” explained Hai. “Researchers are seeing exposure to nature has a substantive, measurable effect on children’s physical, psychological and mental well being. It has a real effect on their behavior and study skills and their ability to think creatively.”
Currently, efforts are under way across the nation to create a fundamental societal shift toward increasing the value given to a child’s need to interact with nature, and to play in unstructured, self-created and self-regulated activities.
Workshops will concentrate on the core concepts of play including creativity, character education, sportsmanship and healthy competition.
Hosted at the Newcomb Central School, the event will be limited to 60 participants with a $10 registration fee that includes lunch and all conference materials. For registration and further information, contact Erin Vinson at 582-4551 x104 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with Get Out and Play Conference in the subject line.
Photo by Joe Hackett
John Roegge of Pawling, slips a speckled trout into the landing net while fishing on a remote Adirondack pond.