Saratoga Spa State Park is a great place to do a lot of things: enjoy a concert, go on a picnic, cross-country ski, take a mineral bath.
Can we soon add fly-fishing — “real” fly-fishing — to the list?
Maybe so. There’s always been a fishing opportunity in the park, of course, in Geyser Brook, the charming spring-fed stream that rises in Greenfield, flows under the pedestrian bridge to Saratoga Performing Arts Center and winds through the park’s picnic area en route to its confluence with Kayaderosseras Creek.
Geyser is stocked with about 1,400 browns a year, many of them by elementary school students in a popular springtime ritual. But the fishing opportunities have always been limited by the stream’s lack of depth and structure; the stocked trout tend to migrate to more suitable water, and those that stayed weren’t likely to survive the summer.
This summer, Geyser Brook should be more fish-friendly, thanks to a $35,000 grant from Saratoga Springs and plenty of volunteer elbow grease by the Adirondack and Clearwater chapters of Trout Unlimited.
With the help of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stream expert Carl Schwartz, last summer the chapters dug five deep pools and three under-bank structures, and built boulder clusters and other places for trout to feed, hide and rest.
It’s hoped the improved stream will retain trout better than it used to.
“What was previously a largely barren and shallow stream now bubbles over boulders and plunges into knee- to thigh-deep pools,” wrote Greg Cuda of Clearwater and John Braico of Adirondack in a report on the project. “The stream has been nudged into a narrower and deeper shape which results in faster currents and cleaner bed, a much better habitat for trout and other aquatic wildlife.
“The Geyser Brook Project will help park visitors, adults and children alike, understand the importance of aquatic habitat when they again stock the stream next spring,” Braico and Cuda wrote. “They will be able to fish the rest of the season with a healthier population of surviving trout. Some day, they may even be able to catch trout that were born wild right in Geyser Brook.”
That would give the Spa City yet another quality-of-life amenity — wild trout within the city limits. You don’t find that just anywhere.
McKeown at CDFF
Colin McKeown, host of the “The New Fly Fisher” TV show, will speak on fishing in Ontario at the March 18 meeting of the Capital District Fly Fishers.
The meeting, at the VFW Hall, 140 VFW Drive, Colonie, will start at 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
“The New Fly Fisher,” which has included Tom Rosenbauer of the Orvis Co. as a co-host, is geared toward people new to fly-fishing.
McKeown will talk about the passport-worthy angling in the province north of New York. For more information on CDFF, visit cdflyfishers.org.
banquet, flea market
The Clearwater chapter of Trout Unlimited has a pair of noteworthy events this month.
The chapter’s annual banquet, its prime fundraiser, will be held March 14 at the Century House, 997 New Loudon Road, Latham. The cocktail hour begins at 4 p.m., dinner at 6. The cost is $45. Seats are available.
The evening will feature door prizes, bucket raffles and live and silent auctions, including the ever-popular auction of a 16-pound Hornbeck canoe.
On March 28, the chapter will hold its flea market, a bonanza of fishing tackle, fly-tying stuff, books, videos, artwork and even non-fishing items at yard-sale prices.
Vendor tables are still available at $20 for the first table, $15 per additional table, plus 10 percent of sales.
The event will run from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Albany Ramada Plaza Hotel, 3 Watervliet Ave., Albany. Details on both events can be found at clearwatertu.org.