Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Winter is over: Adventures in Albany and The Hudson Valley

A few weekends ago I decided to take advantage of the first real spring weather to escape the dull pavement in Brooklyn and replace it with... Albany? That's right, you are looking at Empire Plaza in Albany. 

Why was I here? First off, when in Albany, always try to get into the Speakeasy (under the Beer Hall, a great bar near the Arena.) After some really well made cocktails it was obviously time for a middle of the night walk around Empire Plaza.

The amount of imported stone and the architecture left me feeling like I was walking through a scene in Star Wars.

After we were done striking the empire back with some late night shenanigans and a few cool photos, it was time to rest and prepare for a great day in the mountains.

We opted for a trip to Kaaterskill falls in the afternoon. I was hoping to fish and brought my Nissin pocket mini 270 along with a minimalist Tenkara setup. When we arrived, it was obvious the snow had just melted out with the previous days' rain, and fishing conditions were less than ideal, if not abominable.

Adversely, the hike was beautiful and just what the doctor ordered. The trail followed the stream towards the falls. We walked by plunge pool after plunge pool as I noted where I thought fish could be hiding.

Too many pockets to fish them all this day. I chose a few, expecting nothing, and getting just as much. Water temp? 39 degrees. Ouch. We arrived at the base of the falls and man were they roaring!

Some beautiful ice sculptures had formed naturally and we had to get a better look. We ignored this appropriately-placed sign and prepared for a treacherous climb up to the falls. This is not a joke, please do not attempt to do this without understanding how truly difficult and seriously dangerous it is. The sign says it better than I can: 

After a harrowing climb with a few seriously sketchy moments, we arrived at the upper falls:

You can get a sense of the scale in terms of size, but not in feeling.

Walking into the cave, the most alien-looking and glacier-esque ice formation was leftover, formerly a piece of the frozen falls itself. 

The water was slowly melting what was left of the massive ice-wall away as my friend looked on.

The view from inside the cave was epic. So were the sounds. How many centuries have seen humans sitting behind these falls?

Looking back on the way down, one last view for our enjoyment. It had been a great day and we traveled back south towards the city.

The following day, I set out to do some fishing on a stream that I had previously thought was closed to fishing. I had no idea what to expect.

The upper section of stream emerged from a swamp. It was good because this meant warmer water. It also meant no trout. I spotted a sucker and some kind of darters or creek chubb.

There were plenty of signs of life in the stream, like the stonefly on a clam, above, and the little stick-houses of the nymphs, below.

As I got closer to some kind of gorge, the stream picked up some gradient and I saw what I was looking for - faster moving water with rocks, opportunity for oxygen to increase in the water, and the protection of steep banks and trees overhead. Trout territory.

I had no luck in the first section fishing kebari.

Moving downstream, I fished a few pools. Letting the fly pause or manipulating it next to the right rocks yielded some flashes of silver... territorial showing and one hit. But no hookups.

A little farther down I found this nice pool and knew there would be some fish there. No trout to be had, but a little creek chubb took my fly.

 The sun was fading and I decided to call it a day. Overall it was a great weekend spent in the woods, with a little fun in a previously unexplored city thrown in.


  1. The Kaaterskills falls are among my favorite to visit. Nice post.

  2. Thanks Kiwi, I hope to explore the area more in the coming months.