Wilmington readies for Ausable Two-Fly Challenge

Fishing during the Ausable Two Fly Challenge (Provided — Gabe Dickens)

WILMINGTON — The Ausable Two-Fly Challenge is set to take place from May 16 to 18 along the West Branch of the AuSable River. The event, now in its 24th year, brings more than 100 anglers to the Adirondack Park.

The Ausable Two-Fly Challenge promises some of the best fishing in the region with three competitive categories: men, women and professional. The premise of the two-fly challenge is that anglers must catch fish on the West Branch of the AuSable River, from the ski jumps in Lake Placid to the bridge in the center of downtown Wilmington, using only two flies that they choose each morning. The tournament takes place on Friday and Saturday, with registration beginning at 6:30 a.m. on Friday, so that anglers can hit the water at 8 a.m. Tournament fishing begins at dawn on Saturday.

The event begins with a celebration at the town beach on Thursday evening where participants meet, share stories and discuss tournament strategy. The kickoff event will feature local music, a bonfire, food trucks and beverages.

Participants are also invited to a fly tier’s reception Friday evening at Twisted Raven in Wilmington. The weekend wraps up Saturday evening with a banquet at the Hungry Trout, complete with prizes, raffles and awards.

Two-fly challenge participants must fish with a partner, record the total number of fish caught, the length of each, and the cumulative number of inches. Only fish handled by the angler and successfully released will count toward the participant’s total score. The winner is determined by the highest cumulative length of fish caught. Official rules are sent with registration confirmations.

According to Michelle Preston, director of the Whiteface Region Visitors Bureau, the Ausable Two-Fly Challenge was originally founded to celebrate the joy of fishing, sportsmanship, the preservation of the AuSable River, and natural wonders of the Whiteface Region.

“This group of sportsmen and women are committed to their sport and to conservation efforts; it’s the reason they are drawn to this tournament, specifically,” Preston said. “They enjoy being able to take part in this event year after year, knowing that their participation benefits local sustainability efforts.”

The West Branch of the AuSable River, stretching from Lake Placid to Wilmington, is world-renowned among fly fishing enthusiasts. The river holds vast amounts of oxygen supplied by cold water tumbling over the rocks and boulders, which also provide plenty of hiding places, food and resting spots for fish. The river is famous for the large amount of pocket water, where the best trout often live. It also harbors slower sections that are deep and cool with undercut banks.

Proceeds benefit conservation efforts in the region, raising money and supporting nonprofits that work to educate, preserve the river’s ecosystem and monitor its health.

Anglers can learn more and register for the Ausable Two-Fly Challenge online at ausableflyfishing.com.

Starting at $1.44/week.

Subscribe Today