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Rod, Gun & Game: Adirondacks offers majestic outdoors

FISH SUCCESS — Ken Kalil, an Adirondack fly fishing guide that works from Lake Placid village, demonstrates his skill catching native brown trout in the famous west branch of the Ausable River. Forrest Fisher Photo.
New York State and national outdoor writers were privileged earlier this week to visit with NYS-DEC Fish and Wildlife Commissioner, Joe Martens, amidst the majestic mountains of the quaint Adirondack Olympic village of Lake Placid, site of the world famous 1980 USA-Russia hockey game known as the “Miracle On Ice.”

With chilly mornings beginning to turn green leaves to red, orange and yellow hues, Martens started his address by reminding everyone that the New York Adirondack State Park is the largest park in the contiguous United States, covering about 6.1 million acres of land. He said more people visit the Adirondacks than Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon combined — about 10 million people to be exact.

Martens discussed the new changes in the license cost, saying that the decrease in fees will help everyone enjoy the outdoors in a more affordable way, but at the same time, said that with the decreased license fee, the New York State Conservation Fund would only remain solvent for about four years. Assisted by Doug Stang, assistant director of the NYS-DEC’s office of Fish, Wildilfe and Marine Resources, Stang stated that New York is the only state in the northeast that has offered a reduced license fee.

Martens said that there has been a belt tightening all around the state in many departments, not just Fish and Widlife, but that getting more people into the outdoors with the lower cost was a focus of the administration. Martens added that the department actually favors bringing crossbow back for hunter use and is looking into means that might help induce a more favorable position for use of the crossbow in New York.

Martens discussed another new development for New York outdoor folks with the recent agreement to acquire 69,000 acres of land near Indian Lake in the Adirondacks, now known as the Finch-Pruyn acquisition, making this the largest single addition to the Adirondack Forest Preserve in more than a century.

Martens also said that folks who want to know more about the watchable wildlife in the Adirondacks can enjoy a new 248 page New York Wildlife Viewing Guide that offers over 100 of New York’s best wildlife viewing sites to begin your next Adirondack adventure. Marten said everyone can find their favorite mammal, bird, reptile or insect in the manual, including pictures of soaring eagles, spectacular moose and playful river otters. Readers can choose from hundreds of trails, miles of rivers, marshes, wetlands and other easily accessible viewing areas. Visit

The outdoor writer core of more than 200 columnists visited the area to share in an annual conference of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. All shared that they did enjoy the Lake Placid area, many fishing in the world famous west branch of the Ausable River, known for wild brown trout. An evening hatch of trico flies is still in progress during evening hours before sunset, providing anglers with excellent opportunities to catch fish with conventional fly-fishing means. For more information on fishing this area of the Adirondacks, contact Jones Outfitters proprietor Chris Williamson at (518) 523-3468, or email guide Ken Kalil at

While fishing one evening during the week, I was fortunate to see much wildlife. During the same trip, a large 30-pound beaver that worked on building his dam a bit higher. A moment later, a beautiful Osprey that soared from high overhead to latch onto a three-pound brown trout and take off, screeching his usual call, an eerie sound amidst the gentle trickle sound of the river. It was a good reminder that the Adirondacks are still a very rugged and wild area with moose and black bear populations also on the rise.

Outdoors Calendar

- Sept. 19: Archery Shoot, West Falls Conservation Society, 15 targets, 4pm start, unlimited shooting, open to public, call Mike at 655-5030 .

- Sept. 19: Seminar, 7pm, Economics of Lake Erie, Bruce Fisher-professor, will speak, Lake Erie Seaway Trail Center, Route 5, Woodlawn, open to public.

- Sept. 25: 3D Archery Shoot, Evans Rod & Gun, Cain Rd., 4pm start, call 549-0333.

- Sept. 25: 3D Archery Shoot, East Aurora Fish & Game, 1016 Luther Rd., East Aurora, 5pm start, unlimited shooting, target bunks, call Nadine at 982-7069.

- Sept. 28: National Hunting and Fishing Day, Elma Conservation Club, 600 Creek Road in Elma, 10am-4pm, 20 learning stations, call Rich at 510-7952.

- Sept. 28/29: Annual Hunting Expo, Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel, 777 Seneca Allegany Rd., Salamanca, 9am-5pm, call 569-6810 or visit online at

E-mail outdoors news to Forrest Fisher 10 days in advance at

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