I am not sure who named the AuSable river but if I were to take an educated guess it was probably a French explorer (Samuel de Champlain) or trapper who was facinated by the sandy deposits that line the bottom of that river. The French translation of Au Sable is “sand”. After fishing the west branch of the AuSable River while on vacation last week I think the French should have named it AuRochers “Boulders”.
The many rocks and boulders create the perfect habitat for bugs and the trout that eat them. Unfortunately the rocks are hard to manuver and the currents before, after, and around the rocks make it difficult to get a good drift on your fly. After making your way to the right position and a little high sticking you will find the AuSable to be a very productive river.
Every Summer my father-in-law and I vacation with our family in the Adirondacks. Every Summer we have successfully avoided the AuSable. We have been told for years that the river is overrated and yeilds few large trout. Although we did not find any large trout there were plenty of 10-
12″ browns many who were willing to take our flies. We were told that tricos were on in the morning with small BWO, Caddis, Stonefly hatches during the day and to keep an eye out for the Isonychia (slate drake). After trying many different flies and nymphs to start, I finally tied on a size 14 iso emerger and watched the fireworks.
If the fish were feeding I could put my iso emerger over just about any hole and get a take. In many cases the fish would launch themselves from the bottom to the surface and through my fly. It was quite exciting but I often found my fish wrapped around rocks underwater. With a bit of coaxing I was able to get the fish out from beneath the rocks and land them.
In the end I would fish the AuSable again for sure. It was a lot of fun and there was a ton of beautiful scenery. I would, however, look to other rivers for the big fish. In my opinion the Saranac, Salmon, and the Chateaugay rivers will produce bigger fish more often with less angling pressure.
Finally I would like to thank the AuSable River Two Fly Shop for giving us a lot of good information about the river for a successful fishing trip. Be sure to stop by their shop in Wilmington NY before you head out on the river.