4 days, 16 miles & 320-acres of new to explore waters

In the spring of 2016, over twenty thousand acres of the Boreas area, located in the High Peaks Region in The Adirondacks National Park, NY was bought from Finch, Pruyn & Co. a paper company.

The Boreas Ponds – which form a 320-acre body of water, now one of the largest in the park, completely surrounded by jaw-dropping forest views and summits of the Boreas Mountain Range. A large portion of the Boreas Ponds Tract is a lowland area between the North River Mountain Range to the west and the Boreas Mountain Range to the east. Other waters of the pond include LaBier Flow, Boreas River, LeClaire Brook, Casey Brook, Slide Brook and White Lily Brook. Currently, the Boreas region is unclassified lands in the Adirondack Park Preserve.

Team CRUA will be the first public adventure anglers to experience these waters in 150 years! Since now, it has been completely off limits. Potentially, the water could be home to some great cold water fish, like the brook trout. Or it could be horrible fishing, but who knows right?

Our hook and bullet crowd for this adventure was Sal Bono, Walter Weigel, Derrek Axel Russell and Ben Chamberlain. Sal and Walter came along to give Derrek a hand with the gear and production. Ben was the experienced fly-fisherman on the trip, doing what he’s crazy about! For the team to get to their location it’s a hefty 7.5-mile hike in. The views are not too bad, you’re surrounded by mountains, wilderness, and pristine waters. Team CRUA has struck gold on this one! 

The opportunity to explore the waters in this highly-undiscovered and newly-acquired Adirondack’s land is pretty damn cool. Our team had over 20,000-acres of land all to themselves! If you are looking for some info on fly-fishing the Boreas (sorry to disappoint) but the 2017 Adirondack fishing guide does not have the Boreas on their fishing map yet. But to try out some other nearby fishing locations while you’re waiting, take a look at the guide. 

Bright and early Tuesday morning, during the last week of April, the team was making their way to the high peaks region. On the way there, of course they had to fuel up! Now, we’re talking about real man fuel here, so they stopped off at Ben’s Brew Castle (also his home) in Keene, NY for some hard cider, craft beer and great food. Ben is an established fisherman and got into the craft to get away from his day job and serious headaches - “Fishing gives me that peace of mind”. Apart from working in construction, Ben and his wife also own the coolest craft beer store in Keene, NY - known as the Mountain Town of The Adirondacks.

While Ben was fishing, Derrek and the guys were capturing epic footage. We asked Derrek how he got into the outdoors “For me, I grew up in farm country so I was always exposed to it, might not even have known I was into the outdoors. And then once I ran away to college in Manhattan, I lived there for four years and all I wanted to do was just ride my bike in traffic and eventually I ran away back north and got into backpacking”. Derrek never pursued fly-fishing like Ben, but he’s the type of guy who just wants to be in the backcountry, kicking back with great friends.

Days before the trip, major packing preparation was undertaken, but packing light may not have been an option for this one, given that alone, there were four grown men going on a four-day excursion. The food alone weighed a few lbs. Survival mode on, Ben and the guys, put their heads together and chose their survival equipment.

  1. Canoe
  2. Boat on top of Derrek’s head. Doable!
  3. Tri
  4. Hybrid
  5. Fly-Fishing Gear – Rod, Reel, Flies
  6. Paddles
  7. Big-ass backpack
  8. Production gear

The Adirondack Brook Trout is also known as the Arctic Char, and it has been living wild in the park for about 11,000 years. Before the guys got going, they were pretty familiar with the fishing conditions in the Adirondacks. A dramatic increase of acid rain from pollution in the 50’s until the 70’s changed the acidity of the ponds, lakes, and streams in the park and wiped out some brook trout. This is just one of the factors that got our team a bit worried, especially since they were heading out into the Boreas, which hasn’t been opened to the public since around the 1860’s.

But over the course of 10 years, fish biologists from the DEC (New York State, Department of Environmental Conservation) have  been doing awesome work in the Adirondacks, reproducing some of the few surviving native brook trout and releasing them back into the streams, lakes and ponds, and restoring the natural pH levels of the waters.

The team was pretty psyched to go out and get dirty! But will they find any brook and brown trout in the uncharted Boreas high peak region? Let’s find out.

The guys were supposed to go on Monday but because of weather and bad storms they went Tuesday morning, they got up and headed into the woods before another system came through and down poured on them for the next 24 hours. So, when they finally got into camp and were done putting-up camp, that’s when the damn rain showed up, again. “We were pretty much in the Tri for 36 hours. Then Wednesday it snowed”

Thursday, the team finally got a break and woke up to a mirrored Boreas Pond, that you could see the reflection of all the high peaks in, it was unreal! Nothing to fight, everything was magnificent. The guys took some time out to dry their socks and shoes, chill out at the campfire, and have a laugh!

By the end of one o’clock, that day, Ben and the guys heard another system was rolling in and that they were meant to get sleet and ice that night. The biggest part of the adventure was dealing with how fallible the weather was. “Thank God, we had the Tri and Hybrid! - Ben even had a bear defense system set up around the Hybrid, it was pretty funny actually”.

While exploring the lake that was never been explored before, it turned out that the lake was home to some bass fish, trout and others. “Bass fish eat everything, and basically destroy all the fun fish to catch”- This is how Ben kind of described it. At the end of the day, it was a challenge to catch the elusive Adirondack Brook Trout.

The fish that Ben was on the look-out for, is something you got to take your time with. Because you might only catch three of them out of the whole season. But at the end of the day, the team agreed it’s more about the struggle and the fight through it, to achieve that - which correlates with what Crua Outdoors is all about and what it means. The story turned out to be more about adventure and struggle just to have those few minutes of bliss and epic footage of scenery.

There was defiantly some ups and downs with the trip, hanging out in the Tri for a day and a half straight is definitely interesting. Derrek got hooked by a fly-line getting too close filming, this is what we call commitment! It was a unique time for the team, that’s for sure. Having such bad weather to work in was stressful.

During the four-day trip, it was probably 40 °F the whole time, and give or take 10 degrees, it kept fluctuating between 30 and 40 °F in The Boreas. “But we had the Tri and Hybrid so no worries”.

What the guys loved about the trip was waking up that Thursday morning, the sun was out it was so crystal clear, no haze, no wind. The pond was literally a mirror and just seeing the great range (the great range is the most technical route in the Adirondacks, NY) and that was basically in the background. Thursday was definitely the epic day!

The fish that Ben was looking for was the Adirondack Brook Trout, it’s a very elusive fish and it’s very hard to catch, and it turned out there was none there in the pond, except for bass. Right from the gecko, they guys knew there might be nothing in that pond but, since it was an unexplored area of the park for over 150 years, they couldn’t help themselves and explore it. I mean who wouldn’t! This place hasn’t been available to the public in over 150 years. New York state just bought the 25,000 acres last fall, and now it finally became public. In the past, this land was for governors and presidents to go fish at. It was not available to the public, it’s one of the best views in New York.

Overall, the trip was more of an expedition to see what was actually in the lake, and the team pretty much found out that most likely the good ole boys were lazy and just fished, and left all their live bait in there and that’s what pretty much killed off anything else. That’s the theory anyways. There was a shot of a governor catching a brown trout there but they guys came to the conclusion the DEC probably put a thousand baby fish in there before he came out and did his governor like speech thing about the property. And that’s part of fishing you know. The fish are only going to be in like five percent of the lake and finding where they are, it takes work, it’s what fishing is all about.

To end the trip on a high, with some good-looking brook trout, Ben detoured to one of his favorite fishing spots in the Adirondacks (Which are top secret). The guys finally got their hands on some fine brook trout and got a chance to explore raw Boreas land. It was a killer trip!

Wet and cold, but so worth it! Look at this beauty...


Useful Resources...

1. The Adirondacks, High Peaks Region 

2. The Adirondacks Fishing Guide 2017

3. The Adirondacks - Brook Trout Fishing

4. DEC (New York State, Department of Environmental Conservation) - Managing Our Lakes, Rivers, and Coasts

5. DEC (New York State, Department of Environmental Conservation) - Restoring Natural pH Levels of the Water

6. DEC (New York State, Department of Environmental Conservation) - Backcountry Information for The Northern Adirondacks


1 comment

  • Since when is the Adirondacks a National Park

    Jack Hogan

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