Learning to Fly Fish in the Adirondacks #EatPlayLoveNY

fishing with cousins - Learning to Fly Fish in the Adirondacks

Our huge mackerel catch! (Tie-dyed sweaters FTW!)

For being someone that isn’t really an avid fisherman/lady I have surprisingly fished many a fish around the world. Seen in the above image, as a child I use to fish for mackerel in front of my cottage on the Atlantic Ocean in Nova Scotia with my cousins and more recently I have been doing a lot trips that have unintentionally involved fishing.

cailin squid jigging - Travel Yourself 2014 Year in Review

My first squid!

Touring around Newfoundland with Candice last summer we went cod fishing not once, but twice, and OH MY it was tasty. Previous to that I was invited to Malaysia for a Squid Jigging Festival, being one of the more odd requests that I have received I of course said yes to this and had an amazing time. Ok so maybe my list isn’t huge and it is only Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Malaysia, but that is still a lot of fishing for me!

cailin fly fishing - Learning How to Fly Fish in the Adirondacks

What I imagined I would look like with my awesome Fly Fishing skills

I have fished with a rod and reel and I have jigged, however one type of fishing that I had yet to try was fly fishing. On TV this always looked like the coolest type of fishing however I greatly feared that I would get a hook or two in the mouth with the way people seem to wildly cast their lines. I was slightly apprehensive of trying it but I had dreams of fly fishing and catching a gynormous salmon. Naturally.

On my trip a couple of weeks ago to North Country New York I realized that I would be learning how to fly fish in the Adirondacks. As soon as the opportunity to do this was offered I said yes immediately. Which I swear also wasn’t fuelled by the only other option for that day, was for me to go hiking… I promise.

Ken Kalil Fly Fishing Guide in the Rain - Learning to Fly Fish in the Adirondacks

Ken seemed very much at home in the rain.

As we headed to meet our Orvis Endorsed fly fishing guide for the day Ken Kalil the heavens opened up and it began to rain. Initially I thought that this might cancel our trip, but our expert guide Ken said quite the opposite and that when it is raining it can actually be the best time for fishing.

Cailin snapchatting and blogging, getting ready to fly fish - photo credit Shaun Kittle - Learning to Fly Fish in the Adirondacks

Snapchatting away, getting ready to fly fish for the first time!

Photo Credit: Shaun Kittle

Unfortunately the rain meant no fancy camera for me on this excursion but I still fared quite well with my GoPro and risked the life of my iPhone, because of course, blogger over here.

Cailin ready to go fly fishing - Learning to Fly Fish in the Adirondacks

All geared up with hip waders and rod, in the Ausable River before the rains.

Ken took us to one of his favourite fishing spots on the Ausable River just outside of Lake Placid, New York in the Adirondacks and provided us each with hip waders, rods and boots. Our time was short having only a couple of hours to learn and cast (when typically Ken offers 4 and 8 hour guiding trips). So we didn’t bother with us practicing first on a lawn somewhere, we just jumped right into the river.

Let me tell you. Wearing hip waders in a flowing river is the WEIRDEST feeling ever!! The deeper I went the weirder and cooler it felt. It was almost as if my legs were being suctioned all over, so odd and hard to explain.

Ken Kalil Fly Fishing Guide - Learning to Fly Fish in the Adirondacks

Before Ken put our hooks aka “flies” on our lines we stood in the Ausable River and practiced a few different casts like the Roll Cast, Standard Cast, Slack Line Cast… who knew there were so many different ways to cast your line? The seemingly different thing to me about fly fishing over regular fishing is of course the weight of your “fly”, that you hardly actually use the reel and you basically always have the same amount of line out.

I also quickly learned that you are suppose to use your full forearm when casting and you aren’t suppose to break your wrist when doing so. I have weak wrists and found this hard, but after Ken jokingly mentioned that he would duct tape my arm to the rod to prevent my wrist from breaking it became a lot easier. Another trick was also sticking the end of the rod up my sleeve until I got the hang of it.

Fly Fishing on the Ausable River, Lake Placid in the Adirondacks, New York - Learning to Fly Fish in the Adirondacks

The Ausable River is a BEAUTIFUL spot to go fly fishing

Ken told us about the fish we “would” be catching that day and where the best spots to find them would be. After practicing our casting a bit more he put a fly on my line and I waded out to the bend in the river to give it a try. At first I was only out to around my knees but then Ken suggested if I wasn’t catching anything after a few minutes to move closer and closer to the middle of the river. Eventually I almost went to far and was mere cms from going in higher than my waders, but I saved myself and realized just in time.

Ken Kalil ties a new fly on my line - Learning to Fly Fish in the Adirondacks

Ken adds a new fly to my line

With Craig and Lori lined up down the river on either side of me casting away it was a peaceful time waiting for the fish to bite. Ken gave us suggestions on how to cast better and if we were doing good, he even switched our flies a couple of times to see if the fish preferred something different to up our luck in catching one.

Craig of StayAdventurous.com Fly Fishes in the Ausable River, Lake Placid, in the Adirondacks, New York - Learning to Fly Fish in the Adirondacks

Craig, loving the fly fishing

After awhile I started getting some nibbles however each time I pulled up to hook and get the fish out of the water it would let go and the peacefulness of the river may have changed with the profanity I blurted as I lost my fish more than once.

Cailin fly fishing in the Audable River, Lake Placid, Adirondacks - Learning to Fly Fish in the Adirondacks

GoPro Selfie! Drenched and no fish caught but still happy.

It was calming learning how to fly fish but also exciting and fun. Sadly we got drenched and walked away empty handed but now I can’t wait to try it again, for longer next time too. Our little excursion was also featured in the Lake Placid News! Check it out HERE.

To see some of my mad fly fishing skills in action check out my video Highlights from the Adirondacks.

Big thanks to Ken Kalil for teaching me all of the best fly fishing knowledge possible, if you are ever looking for a Fly Fishing Guide in the Lake Placid area of the Adirondacks I highly recommend him.

Ken Kalil – www.ADKWildlife.com

– [email protected] 

Twitter @KenKalil 

Facebook Kalil’s Upstate Outfitters


Thanks to ROOSTADK and other service providers for hosting me on this trip, follow along on social media with #EatPlayLoveNY . As always all views expressed are my own.

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  • Reply
    Kristi Trimmer
    September 4, 2015 at 10:33 pm

    I love that you tried fly fishing – that is one type of fishing I have yet to get out and do. Too bad you were skunked your first trip out, but I bet you will be back out in those waders in no time at all.

  • Reply
    August 31, 2015 at 6:02 am

    Haha, love the picture at the top!

  • Reply
    Lindsay Nieminen
    August 31, 2015 at 2:31 am

    I’ve done a lot of fishing but never fly fishing! I imagine it to be peaceful and relaxing too as you whip the line back and forth! looks like a fun day despite the rain ( and the lack of fish caught!)

  • Reply
    Lieurene Tran
    August 30, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    Oh cool that you got to try this experience! I never actually heard of the squid jog, how interesting is that?! Anyway I actually do not know how to fish at all but I would love to try if an opportunity ever arise :)

    • Reply
      August 30, 2015 at 8:16 pm

      I don’t claim to be the best fisherman either but it is definitely fun to try! Definitely give it a go sometime! :)

  • Reply
    August 30, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    So fun! I can watch fly fishing for ages. It just looks so graceful. Didn’t realize the hard work it was!!too bad you didn’t catch anything but fun regardless. And lucky you that you didn’t drop your phone! I took mine in the narrows at Zion and dropped it in the last 100 feet!

    • Reply
      August 30, 2015 at 8:17 pm

      We only had a couple of hours not even, next time I do it, it would be great to do an 8 hour trip and your chances of catching them would be better then too I assume :) Also Oh no! Your poor phone! lol

  • Reply
    Meg Jerrard
    August 30, 2015 at 10:27 am

    Sounds like a fairly wicked adventure though – how good are the GoPros in situations like that when it just randomly decides to downpour with rain! I’ve been reall impressed with the waterproof seal on ours, so good call packing that in for the day!

    Learing to fly fish sounds like a lot of fun, even if it does get you absolutely drenched along the way :D I’ll have to add it to my list of experiences to try!

    • Reply
      August 30, 2015 at 1:05 pm

      Yes, I am so glad I had my GoPro with me or I wouldn’t have many pictures from that day! It can definitely be a lifesaver :) You should definitely try fly fishing at least once! :)

  • Reply
    Natasha Amar
    August 30, 2015 at 4:47 am

    There’s quite a technique to it and so I’m pretty sure I’d be so bad at this!

    • Reply
      August 30, 2015 at 1:03 pm

      I think more than technique what is important is patience, because once you get your line out there you just have to kind of sit and wait and we were doing dead drifts so we were moving the line with the flow of the water. It wasn’t that difficult, give it a try sometime :)

  • Reply
    August 30, 2015 at 3:10 am

    I’ve personally never done this, but I would love to try. Looks interesting and the scenery is pretty stunning. Great job on the squid! Haha

    • Reply
      August 30, 2015 at 1:02 pm

      Thank you! You should definitely give it a try sometime! :)

  • Reply
    August 29, 2015 at 8:37 am

    Seems like a really interesting and nice family activity. We don’t do that much here but it looks like it was fun :) I feel like I’ll go home empty handed but well, I shouldn’t say that without even trying. Flying fish— WOW!

    • Reply
      August 29, 2015 at 12:51 pm

      You definitely need to visit again and do some hiking and paddling and fly fishing!! :)

  • Reply
    August 29, 2015 at 5:40 am

    haha, squid jigging? that sounds weird weird

    It must be cool to step into a river dressed like that and not get wet, kind of counter intuitive and yak on putting the flies on the hook!

    • Reply
      August 29, 2015 at 12:52 pm

      Yeah it was really cool to walk in the water and not get wet! Eventually I got some water in my boot but it wasn’t that bad :) Also the flies aren’t real! They are just called that and are fake but made to imitate flies that the fish would eat.

  • Reply
    Paula McInerney
    August 29, 2015 at 5:26 am

    You are a talented lady, and now i have to try wearing the fishing waders into water. I want to feel that.

    • Reply
      August 29, 2015 at 12:52 pm

      Thank you so much! lol It was really the coolest feeling!

  • Reply
    Erin Marie
    August 26, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    The suction part is the best part!! Vicky and I were a bit obsessed – don’t judge.

    This looks like some hardcore fly fishing and you look just as good doing it as you did in your pre-fly fishing photo. Can we go back now?

    • Reply
      August 28, 2015 at 12:52 am

      haha the suction part was so cool and not what I expected! lol

      I was into it 110% giving it my all! We MUST go back until we actually catch something!! lol

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