Recent warm weather patterns have accelerated the progress of ice out. While the ice cap on most waters is still over a foot thick, much of it is snow ice, which is not as dense as black ice. Snow ice will disappear rapidly under a combination of winds, rain or hot sun.
Judging by the extent of open waters already apparent, it looks to be an early ice out this season. By now, brook trout anglers should have completed their homework and developed a strategy for the first trip of the season.
One of the key issues of accessing these chosen waters is transportation. Many years of backcountry angling adventures have revealed the importance of choosing the proper equipment.
The multitude of remote Adirondack brook trout waters are located many miles from the nearest road. Typically, the quality of the fishery is in direct proportion to it's location; the more difficult the access; the better the fishing. Although this is not always the case, it's a good rule of thumb.
Preparation precedes perspiration
Once an angler has assembled the necessary angling equipment, which should include at least two pack rods, a long handled, landing net, a small tackle box with a wide assortment of lures, spoons, flies and terminal tackle; the next step in the process involves accessing the waters. Although I have skidded boats over the snow in the early season, the decision usually becomes, "Do we hike, bike, fly, paddle and portage or hire a horsepacker?"
While wilderness areas in the park remain off limits to motorized vehicles, there are still a fair number of trout waters serviced via float planes from Helms Aero Service in Long Lake and Paynes Floatpanes in Inlet. Floatpanes offer easy and affordable access to backcountry waters. Anglers should note that the pilots usually know which waters are most productive. Don't be afraid to ask them for suggestions. They want you to be successful; it's in their best interest.