Fly fishermen from across the country and Canada are set to convene in Wilmington on May 16 – 18 for the Ausable Two-Fly Challenge.
This year’s catch and release tournament is celebrating twenty years of fishing, storytelling and raising money to preserve the West Branch of the Ausable River. Proceeds go to regional preservation non-profit groups and to stock the river.
To mark the 20th anniversary, organizers added an extra day of fishing, expanded fishing hours and added more non-fishing events including a comedy night with comedian Louis Ramey, who has been featured on Comedy Central, including with his own half hour special.
The Two-Fly Challenge starts at 6 pm Thursday, May 16 at the Wilmington Town Beach with a barbeque, beer, bonfire and a band. Anglers will fish all day Friday and Saturday morning on the beautiful and well-stocked Ausable River. Anglers are invited to a Fly Tyer’s reception Friday evening, followed by Louis Ramey. The weekend wraps up Saturday evening with a banquet at Whiteface Mountain, complete with prizes, raffles, and awards and a new live auction.
Anglers are allowed to bring two barb-less hook flies of any combination or patterns. Once the flies are lost or unusable, he or she is out. Anglers must fish with a partner and each must record the total number of fish caught, the length of each fish and the cumulative number of inches. The winner is determined by the highest cumulative length of each fish caught.
There are four competitive categories: junior, men, women and professional. Each fisherman can choose just two flies to use per day.
It’s the diversity of the river that allures many anglers to explore the West Branch of the Ausable. What stands out the most is the large amount of pocket water, where the best trout live. The river’s rocks and boulders provide plenty of hiding places and resting spots. The river also harbors slower sections that are deep with undercut banks. The town of Wilmington, just nine miles from Lake Placid, is home to fly-fishing shops, numerous guides, and lodging and restaurants, not to mention mountain scenery.
Registration is open to the public, online here. For more information, contact the Whiteface Mountain Regional Visitors Bureau at (518) 946-2255, or via email at [email protected]
Photo of Two Fly Challenge participants on the Ausable River provided.