column By: Conrad LaPierre | March, 21
Approximately 25 years ago, owner/operator Jerry Bottcher added the bird hunting portion of the operation. Bottcher is the consummate host, and his influence is evident in every aspect of the Hungry Trout experience. There is no pen-raised bird hunting here; only wild woodcock and ruffed grouse are offered. Hunters can be catered to, based upon physical limitations. They can walk two-tracks or venture into the haunted thickets that these birds call home. The terrain, although typically flat, is relatively forgiving. The area sees its share of both resident and migrating woodcock, while grouse are full-time residents. Hungry Trout has an exclusive bird hunting lease on 3,300 acres of private land under forest management. Stands of both old and young growth forest with poplar, birch and beech trees and swamp edges scattered about offer ideal grouse and woodcock habitat. Additionally, each of their eight seasoned guides has rights to hunt on other potentially productive parcels. It is mandatory to utilize one of the guides to access any of these properties. Midday lunches are served afield. Hunting guests may use their own dogs or those owned and handled by the guides, who also do any bird cleaning at day’s end. As the bird hunting phase of the operation takes place in the month of October only, guests are treated to magnificent autumn vistas of the north country, “leaf peeping” at its best!
The lodging is classically Adirondack in style. Twenty-two spacious rooms have a classic warmth and are quite comfortable, the walls decorated with fishing-and-hunting-themed art. All have views of the Ausable River. Kitchen suites and standard rooms are offered. All are cleaned daily by an efficient housekeeping staff. No details are overlooked. Yes, dogs are allowed in rooms but preferably crated. Cable TV, Wi-Fi and coffee makers are standard. But the amenities certainly do not end here.
A quick walk across the parking lot takes guests to The Hungry Trout Restaurant for “dining extraordinaire.” Highly creative and delicious appetizers are offered, followed by entrées such as pan seared Atlantic salmon, lemon caper chicken and shrimp, Hungry Trout bone-in rib eye, house-smoked rainbow trout with light herb horseradish aioli and other culinary delicacies. Just outside the restaurant is a fly fishing-themed bar with large leather sofas surrounding a stone fireplace for “après-hunt” relaxation.
Downstairs from the restaurant is yet another, albeit more casual, eating establishment, also a part of the Hungry Trout Resort: R.F. McDougall’s Pub and Grille. Here one also has very interesting starters to include McDougall’s famous wings, cabin fever calamari and more. Main courses are comprised of sandwiches, burgers and pub fare. R.F. McDougall’s has been rated as being among America’s “Top 10 Fishing Bars.” The name “R.F. McDougall’s” is taken from the name from the “Rat Faced McDougall” fishing fly.
Breakfast is not served in either of Hungry Trout’s eating establishments, but vouchers are provided for morning meals at a nearby café.
Of course, Hungry Trout came into being as a premiere fly fishing lodge four decades ago with its location along the Ausable, considered to be among world-class trout waters. Guided fishing is available, and the fly shop on premises supplies all tackle needs and fishing tips.
Visiting Hungry Trout:
Woodcock and ruffed grouse hunting are offered Oct. 1-31 only. The rate is $1,399 per person double occupancy and includes three nights lodging, three breakfasts, three gourmet dinners and two days of guided hunts with field lunches. Fishing on the Ausable is open year round.
Hungry Trout does not offer cast and blast packages.
For nonfishers/hunters, nearby Lake Placid offers a plethora of shops and lunch eateries. For information: lakeplacid.com.