With the weather warming up, getting on the water is looking more appealin by the day! To get you thinking about the great opportunities for fishing right here in our backyard, We were able to contact a fishing guide from Wiley's Flies in Ray Brook to share his knowledge about Fly Fishing.
Tom Graham is a Pennsylvania native, but came up to the Adirondacks in 2007 to attend Paul Smith's College for Fisheries Science (how appropriate, right!) and has been hooked ever since. He soon started spending a lot of time at Wiley's Flies in Ray Brook. After being hired to work there he proved to be a masterful guide, fly tier and "beast on the sticks" as a rower. He does it all, fishing tiny trout streams to big adventures on the Saranac Lakes Chain to ice fishing trips in the winter. Then off the water he helps produce maple syrup at South Meadow Farms in Lake Placid, NY, restore fire towers and back into the water diving to remove invasive species from local water ways. This man really does do it all! But this time around we're talking to him as a fly fisherman.
What do you see as the true lure of fly fishing versus other types of fishing?
"Fly fishing for me ais an addiction. Being a full time guide at Wiley's flies in Ray Brook has become more of a lifestyle than a job. Fly fishing is more of a cult than traditional hard tackle. The challenge of trying to fool a fish into eating your 'fly' that is no more than feathers tied to a hook is really an incredible feat if you think about it. Fly fishing takes more finesse and understanding of both the aquatic and terrestrial environments."
When did you start fly fishing and how did you learn?
"I started fly fishing when I was about seven years old. My father taught me and proceeded to be my mentor for many years."
Is there a specific fly fishing season?
"There is always a fishing season. It just depends on what you are trying for. Whether it is trout in the spring, pike in the summer, salmon in the fall or steelhead in the dead of winter there is always a fish to be caught."
Do you have a specific tactic that you prefer to use?
"One particular tactic that I like to use when fishing for trout is the dry dropper method. This is when you use a large dry fly and a nymph at the same time. The nymph is tied to the bend of the hook on the dry fly and the dry fly acts as an indicator (bobber) when you get a bite. Fishing this way gives you two chances to figure out what the fish are eating. There are many effective tactics in fly fishing if fished the right way."
Do you typically keep the fish or 'Catch and Release'?
"We [Wiley's Flies] tend to emphasize catch and release fishing no matter what species, after all you hold the future in your hands."
What advice do you have for any fisherman; new or seasoned fishermen?
"The best piece of advice I can give it to remember to just have fun and the fish will come."
Checking in with Wiley's Flies in Ray Brook will set you on the right track for what is going on in the area. They also offer guided trips; both spin and fly fishing, river floats, and scenic tours on the lakes for the whole family. You can check out thier website.
Stop in and say Hi to Tom or any of the other great guides at Wiley's!