Brook trout boot camp

Alas, I have returned from yet another successful week-long fishing trip deep within the Adirondack wilds. I timed this one perfectly with ice out and my crew was rewarded with plenty of spunky spring brookies for our effort.

This was my annual trip into the St. Regis Canoe Area, an outing that has become a tradition for half a dozen of my fishing chums and I. Last year we celebrated my Dad's 75th birthday there. This year we dubbed the trip "Spirit of 76" in recognition of his B-day, even though he was unable to tag along because of work commitments.

Rest assured, you were there in spirit, pop.

Probably a good thing he missed this one anyway. While we caught a ton of fish, the atmosphere was dampened by five straight days of rain. Seriously, it started pouring last Sunday and did not stop until it turned to snow Thursday. Ponds ran high and brooks and rivers were roaring.

We'd head out in our canoes just long enough to get soaked, return for dry clothes and head out again. At one point, my buddy joked that he could have stood in an ice cold shower with his pack on for a day and come out dryer. We're actually contemplating using that as a training exercise prior to next year's jaunt.

There's a thought - brook trout boot camp. Force cadets to march 5 miles through the forest carrying a Radisson and a 60-pound rucksack full of food and fishing equipment, while swatting black flies from their foreheads without dropping the 30-packs from under each arm.

Only a select few will make it, but they'll be rewarded with washing meals of cold Spaghetti O's down with frozen beer after sleeping on the ground in a paper-thin bag in near sub zero temperatures during driving rain and gale-force winds.

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