Into the Boreas with Crua Ambassador, Ben Chamberlain
In the spring of 2016, over twenty thousand acres of the Boreas area, located in the High Peaks Region in The Adirondack State 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.
For the past 150 years the ponds were off limits to the public. Team CRUA were the first public adventure anglers to experience these waters.
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!
Crua Ambassador, Ben Chamberlain is a well known face around Keene, NY. On a typical day Ben can be seen doing some local construction work, stocking the shelf in his Craft Beer Store or canoeing the Adirondack ponds with his rod at hand. For Ben, fly-fishing is his way of escaping the realities of life, i.e bills! We all know that Fly-Fishing is a little bit more competitive than that ;) Ben's goal is to beat the state record for the Adirondack brook trout. When he heard the Boreas ponds were open to the public he was calling at Derrek's door to plan a boy's weekend trip.
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 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, 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 1 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”.
When exploring the lake, 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 described it.
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.
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. 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 in there. Right from the get-go the 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.
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...
Gwendoline is the newest member to the Crua Team. She has many years experience with skiing, but that comes as no surprise as she is originally from a small town located under the French Alps. That's not her only hobby though because she has 10 + years of ballroom dancing under her belt too!