Lake Placid: Where to find the fish

By Lisa Densmore

With five months between now and the 2013 OWAA conference in Lake Placid, I thought this might be a good time to help you figure out which pre and post-conference trips best fit your interests and available time. You have lots of choices. Jessica Pollett at OWAA headquarters, the Lake Placid CVB’s staff and I have compiled a list of more than 40 pre- and post-conference trips which you received via postal mail in March. We’ll add more trips until the conference begins, so keep checking OWAA’s conference website,, for additions.


Most of the pre- and post-conference trips range from a half-day to two days and one night, short enough to fit into even the most time-crunched schedule. However, if you can’t tack even just an extra half-day onto your conference itinerary, you can still go fishing during the conference right from outside your hotel room in Mirror Lake, the 128-acre lake in the middle of town. Thanks to Steve Piatt, editor of New York Outdoor News, you’ll receive a profile of the lake in your welcome packet. In the meantime, let me tempt you with a few tidbits about this local fishery known for its rainbow trout.
Each spring, the state of New York stocks the lake with 1,300 yearling rainbows. A year ago, the state also put in about 60 1.5-pound to 4-pound landlocked salmon. In addition you might land a lake trout, smallmouth bass, rock bass, yellow perch, sunfish or bullhead. Note: Motorboats are not allowed on Mirror Lake.
If you’re looking for lake trout, some of the other lakes within an hour of Lake Placid harboring these deep water dwellers include the lake called Lake Placid (on the edge of town), Taylor Pond, Tupper Lake and Upper Saranac Lake.
Walleye and northern pike are among the big prizes anglers commonly pull out of Adirondack waterways. Tupper Lake and the Saranac River between the villages of Saranac Lake and Bloomingdale are prime spots for hooking these toothy piscine. Big bass also prowl the weedy waters along this stretch of the Saranac River and throughout the Saranac Lake system.
For fly fishers, the two closest stretches of trophy trout water are on the West Branch Ausable River between the village of Lake Placid and Whiteface Mountain and on the Saranac River near Redford, a small hamlet on Route 3 west of Plattsburgh.


The summit area of Whiteface Mountain is a known hotspot for seeing the endangered Bicknell’s thrush, and you don’t have to hike 4,000 vertical feet to get there! A toll road winds up the mountain starting in Wilmington, N.Y., about 10 miles from Lake Placid.
Bloomingdale Bog, another birding hotspot, has boreal chickadees and black-backed woodpeckers in its avian mix. Two local birding experts, Ed Kanze and Joan Collins (not the actress) are offering half-day trips to Bloomingdale Bog.


The Saint Regis Canoe Area is the only designated canoe area in New York that is managed for non-motorized, water-based recreational activities. Its 18,000 acres seem more water than land. The area is made up of many lakes, streams and ponds connected by short portages. The Adirondack Mountain Club is offering a day of pond-hopping in this paddler’s paradise.
A little further afield in the northern region of the park, Packbasket Adventures, named for the woven, open-topped backpacks used a century ago by Adirondack hunting and fishing guides, is hosting a day-long canoe paddle and return float down the legendary Oswegatchie River. Bring a camera for the wildlife, a bathing suit for a swim and a rod for the trout on this classic Adirondack outing.


Representatives from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will host a number of trips to give you a first-hand, insider’s look at specific conservation initiatives in the Adirondack Park. If you’re curious how New York handles its historic sites, endangered and invasive species, trail building and relocations, and how it manages its extensive public lands, check out one of these trips.


With 48 peaks over 4,000 feet, the Adirondack Park is hiker-heaven. Cascade Mountain, the easiest 4,000-footer, is only a few miles east of Lake Placid. It’s a steady 2.5-mile ascent to the top where you’ll ogle a 360-degree view that includes the Great Range, Whiteface and Lake Champlain. Back at the trailhead, soak your feet as you cast a line into Cascade Lake.
Mount Marcy is the marquee mountain in the region, the highest in New York and the source of the Hudson River. Marcy is a full-day, 12-mile commitment, as is the Great Range (Gothics, Armstrong, Upper Wolfjaw and Lower Wolfjaw mountains).
Hikers in the Adirondacks also enjoy trekking to one of the historic fire towers in the region. The closest one to Lake Placid is atop Hurricane Mountain, but it is closed. Instead, check out the towers atop Goodnow Mountain, Snowy Mountain and Blue Mountain, which are among my favorites. If you opt for Blue Mountain, spend a few hours after your hike at the Adirondack Museum across the road from the trailhead. The museum is a marvelous repository of Adirondack artifacts and historical information.


Carl Heilman II, who I personally consider the best landscape photographer in the Adirondacks, is offering two half-day photo excursions. If you’re seeking stock images of the Adirondacks, Carl will put in you in the right place at the right time.


This is just a sampler of the many pre- and post-conference trips that we’ve lined up for your visit to Lake Placid.  To round out your Adirondack experience, don’t forget to include a visit to an Adirondack “Great Camp” (it doesn’t matter which one), listen to the loons while lounging lakeside in an authentic Adirondack chair, and sample a Udu ale from the Lake Placid brewery, named for the owner’s black lab.
Please don’t hesitate to contact Ashley Andrews ( or me ( if you need a guide or some just some guidance as you plan your trip to Lake Placid.♦
A former OWAA board member and an award-winning television producer, writer and photographer, Lisa Densmore is local chair of the 2013 OWAA conference in Lake Placid, N.Y.

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