Up For the Challenge?

Two flies. The Ausable River. Winner take all.

  • By: Jim Reilly
Fishing New York's Ausable

The One-Fly contest in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is world-famous for attracting some of the best anglers from across the country to the banks of the South Fork of the Snake River. But a less-well-known fly-fishing contest in northern New York hopes to make a name for itself on the East Coast.
The Ausable Two-Fly Challenge will be held on May 16 on the banks of the West Branch of the Ausable River. More than 75 anglers from as far away as Texas are expected to come to Wilmington, New York, to try their skills on the trout of this storied river flowing through the Adirondack Mountains.
The contest was formed 10 years ago by a group of local anglers who wanted to promote the river as a fishery and raise money to protect it. The contest’s rules are simple: Anglers bring two flies to the river and when you lose them you’re out. They can be any combination of patterns: a nymph and a streamer, or two nymphs and so forth.
Leonard Sauers, a past director of the event, said subsurface flies—streamers and nymphs—have caught the most fish. In fact, Sauers won the 2001 tournament with weighted and non-weighted versions of a size 12 Pheasant Tail Nymph. Other winning patterns include Prince Nymphs, Hare’s Ears and Woolly Buggers.
Sauers describes the river as being surrounded by mountains and “a mix of fast water with lots of riffles and deep holes, and a section upriver that is slow and meandering. It’s a great fishery.”

The contest is followed by a dinner. For more information call 888-944-8332 or visit ausableflyfishing.com. For travel information go to whitefaceregion.com.