Opportunities to accomplish an Adirondack version of The Macnab are limited to three days Oct. 13 through 15. The effort will require catching a brook trout on the fly, harvesting a whitetail buck with a muzzleloader and taking a pair of ruffed grouse on the wing in a single day.
According to the most reliable reports, angling opportunities on most local lakes and ponds has slowed down significantly in recent weeks. Overall, it has been a very slow season, even for anglers with the expertise to fish in deeper waters.
Anglers can only hope for cooler air temperatures and cold rains to help salvage what has been largely, a dismal fishing season.
Although I’ve seen a few nice specimens, and heard tales of a few others, ‘few’ seems to be the most commonly used term. Many anglers have asked if the lack of finding active fish was just an oddity? I’m sorry to report that this season’s distinct lack of action appears to be a consistent trend for most fish species including trout, bass and walleye. Lake trout and salmon, which tend to inhabit the deeper, cooler waters were taken a bit more readily by those who prefer to plumb the depths with downriggers and wire or leadcore lines.
It is open to debate whether the poor fishing can be attributed to the scouring effects that occurred on local waterways during last year’s extreme water levels, or to the diminished oxygen content resulting from the season’s usually warm waters.
While I have enjoyed a couple of days of consistently good fishing this season, the feeding has been largely sporadic, if at all.
Fortunately, there is already the hint of autumn in the air, and the hardwoods have begun taking on their fall colors. Hopefully, the subtle seasonal changes will prompt a feeding streak that’ll last through the end of trout season.
As September rolls around, so do many other sporting opportunities, with birds again available on the wing, and turkeys in fields. Big game hunters have been counting down the days to the start of Early Bear Season, as archers await the beginning of Bow Season for whitetail deer.
Traditional hunting opportunities will mix easily with the tail end of trout season, and the beginning of the annual salmon spawn runs.
With such a wealth of outdoor opportunities, it is easy to understand why autumn is considered the High Holy Days of Sportsmen.
In the Adirondacks, fishermen and women qualify for an Angler’s Grand Slam by catching at least three different species, or taking three fish of a singular species in a single day.
According to the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) a saltwater Grand Slam is achieved when an angler lands a bonefish, tarpon and a permit during one day of fishing. An Inshore Grand Slam includes three species on the same day, including bonefish, tarpon, permit or snook.
A freshwater, Grand Slam may include any combination of three distinct species such as bass, pike or trout in a single day’s outing. The achievement can also be ‘species specific’ with the combination of any three single species, whether brook, rainbow, brown, lake, splake, or tiger trout.
A Super Grand Slam, also known as an Adirondack Five Star requires five of the same species such as a brook, brown, rainbow, lake and a splake to be taken in a single day. Similarly, a Super Grand Slam could be accomplished by combining five different game fish species including a Northern pike, walleye pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and a lake trout or landlocked salmon. Any combination of warmwater or coldwater gamefish species is considered acceptable.
The Real Mcnab: Rod, Rifle and Gun
Once every four or five years, New York State’s sporting calendar provides sportsmen and women with a unique opportunity when the bird hunting, deer hunting and fishing seasons all overlap.
The timeframe when these concurrent seasons occur is usually of a short duration, however it provides Adirondack sporting enthusiasts with an opportunity to pursue a unique American version of a fabled Scottish sporting accomplishment, known as a Macnab.
A Macnab is a sporting challenge similar to an angler’s ‘Grand Slam’, however, it is compounded by a combination of angling, stalk hunting and wing shooting required in the effort.
To accomplish a pure Macnab, it helps to have a good friend with a large estate in Scotland, or a lot of money.
Currently, Highland Lodges in Scotland offers a MacNab Challenge hosted at the Aberchalder Estate near Invergarry in the West of Scotland for roughly $2500 per person. Meals, lodging, transportation, gratuities, trophy fees and airfare are all extra.
A New York state Sportsman’s license costs $47, and it entitles the holder to take fish, fowl and game.
Typically, the day begins at dawn on the River Garry where an experienced Ghillie assists attempts to catch a salmon on the fly.
Anglers are later whisked off to heather covered mountains to stalk a Red Deer Stag and the day is completed after shooting a brace of grouse on the wing.
It is conducted under the guidance and advice of experienced Ghillies, Stag Stalkers and Gamekeepers. Fees include all licenses and permits.
Rods, reels, flies, waders, rifles, shotguns and ammunition are all extra.
In the Adirondacks, the annual trout season concludes on Oct. 15, and the Muzzleloader Season for Whitetail Deer begins on Oct. 13. Ruffed Grouse season opens on Sept. 20 and runs through Feb. 28, 2013.
For the current year, opportunities to accomplish an Adirondack version of The Macnab are limited to just three days, from Oct. 13 through 15. The effort will require catching a brook trout on the fly, harvesting a whitetail buck with a muzzleloader and taking a pair of ruffed grouse on the wing in a single day. Good luck, and take plenty of pictures!
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.