Birding & Paddling Fishing Brook

Birding & Paddling Fishing Brook


A lovely new area has been opened to the public for paddling and fishing in the Town of Long Lake. County Line Flow and Fishing Brook can both be paddled, and fishing is allowed from the shoreline of Fishing Brook. There are two put-in locations — one on the southeastern edge of County Line Flow and one at a bridge over Fishing Brook to the west of County Line Flow. I opted to put my boat in by the bridge over Fishing Brook.

Bridge over Fishing Brook

Fishing Brook Put-In

It was a beautiful, sunny, September afternoon when I turned onto Pickwicket Pond Gate Road off Route 28N, 2.4 miles east of where the highway crosses Fishing Brook. There is also a large NYS Department of Environmental Conservation sign that reads, "Township 20 Tract, Fishing Brook Access" at the entrance. The parking area for the put-in was a little over a half-mile down this dirt road.

Road Sign for the Fishing Brook Put-In

NYS DEC sign for Fishing Brook

The bridge over Fishing Brook, just before the parking area, had beautiful views.

View from the bridge over Fishing Brook

As I got out of the car, I was greeted by Black-capped Chickadees, a Brown Creeper, and several Golden-crowned Kinglets. The late summer sound of crickets filled the air all afternoon.

The put-in is on the east side of the bridge and a canoe can be dropped at this location with no carrying. I carried my boat from the parking area which was only about 50 feet away from the put-in. The sign-in register showed that this new paddling area has already had a lot of visitors! My car was the only vehicle in the lot, so it looked like I would have solitude.

Paddling West on Fishing Brook

I had just gotten situated in my canoe and paddled it west to head under the bridge when a couple of people in a canoe, already under the bridge, startled me! They had put-in at County Line Flow and decided to eat their lunch up on the bridge during their paddle out. This couple had recently retired to Brant Lake from New Jersey and they do a lot of paddling. It was nice to meet them, and they were the last people I saw for the rest of the day.

Couple from Brant Lake paddling Fishing Brook

I had waited until afternoon to start the trip since the morning was cold with one of the first frost warnings of the season. Given that it was later in the day and well past the breeding season for most bird species, I didn't have high expectations for birding, but I was pleasantly surprised!

Fishing Brook

One of the first birds I heard was a flyover Rusty Blackbird. This species has had a steep population decline of over 90% in the past 50 years. A reason(s) for the decline is still a mystery. It used to be easy to find this species in the beaver-created wetlands of the Adirondacks, but now they are rare. I was even more excited when I came upon three more Rusty Blackbirds farther into my trip on Fishing Brook! Photographing birds from a moving canoe is no easy task, but I was happy one of the Rusty Blackbird photos came out!

Rusty Blackbird along Fishing Brook

I heard woodpecker foraging sounds in boreal forest along the brook which sounded good for a Black-backed Woodpecker. I was debating getting out the canoe to check when the bird flew over me to the other side of the brook, confirming it was indeed a Black-backed Woodpecker.

Many other species were active along Fishing Brook: Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Wood Pewee, Eastern Phoebe, Blue-headed Vireo, both Red and White-breasted Nuthatches, Hermit Thrush, Gray Catbird, Cedar Waxwing, Common Yellowthroat (still singing), and Song, Swamp, and White-throated Sparrows (still singing) among others. New England and Purple Asters were still in bloom along the water. Dragonflies bombarded the surface of the water for insect prey!

Last summer, I photographed a huge Bull Moose along Route 28N in this area, and I could see large moose paths in the vegetation all along Fishing Brook.

Nearby Kempshall Mountain, the tallest peak in the Town of Long Lake with an elevation of 3346 feet, was often visible during the trip.

Kempshall Mountain from Fishing Brook

Kempshall Mountain from Fishing Brook

Fishing Brook was serene and placid – a mirror reflecting the world above.

Fishing Brook

On the western side of the bridge over Fishing Brook, I carried around two beaver dams and one deadfall. By the second deadfall of trees, I decided to turn around.

Paddling East on Fishing Brook

On my way back, as I was carrying around a beaver dam, a Green Frog was in my path and reluctant to move as I put my canoe back in the water. I had to encourage the frog to move so it didn't get hurt by my boat.

Green Frog along Fishing Brook

I heard another Black-backed Woodpecker calling as I canoed back toward the bridge. It was a female and I was able to take some distant photos with my camera (which I keep in a zip-lock bag at all times while canoeing!).

Female Black-backed Woodpecker

The highlight of my trip came next. I saw something sticking out of the water ahead of me and wondered if it was the back of a beaver. As I approached, I saw the head stick out and it was one of the largest Snapping Turtles I have ever seen! The current took me beyond the turtle so I paddled back. The prehistoric looking turtle became more and more curious about me and kept coming up to my boat with its head out! It was so close, I couldn't focus my camera, so I switched to my iPhone camera. The turtle and I hung out together for about a half-hour in the reeds before I said goodbye and continued my trip.

Snapping Turtle in Fishing Brook

Snapping Turtle in Fishing Brook

Snapping Turtle face!

I went back under the bridge over Fishing Brook and continued paddling east toward County Line Flow.

Fishing Brook

Fishing Brook

Fishing Brook

Fortunately, this section only had one beaver dam to go around. It was a huge, impressive beaver dam!

A huge Beaver dam on Fishing Brook

Standing next to the dam, I could now see County Line Flow ahead.

County Line Flow ahead

County Line Flow

As I canoed toward the open flow, the wind picked up and I could see waves on the flow. I found a large beaver house and the water was covered in lilies at the location where Fishing Brook empties into County Line Flow.

A huge Beaver lodge along Fishing Brook

Among the lilies, I spotted two Pied-billed Grebes (one juvenile and one adult), two Wood Ducks, and a Great Blue Heron.

Pied-billed Grebe

I explored the lily-covered end of County Line Flow, but opted not to paddle out into the windy, open flow. I was glad that I had put-in at the bridge over Fishing Brook so I didn't have to paddle the rough flow waters.

I had a beautiful paddle back to the bridge in the calm waters of Fishing Brook bathed in the fading late-afternoon light.

Fishing Brook

Fishing Brook

I'll definitely be returning to this lovely brook. The map on the sign-in register states that "Fishing Brook Bog" is opening to the public next summer (2017). This location is south of Route 28N along Fishing Brook. So stay tuned!

Early fall is a great time to paddle the quiet brooks and rivers of the Adirondacks. At night, stay in one of the comfortable lodgings in the area and relax with great food at one of the local restaurants.

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