Monday, August 13, 2018

Using the Resources Wisely

Hi Folks, It has been a very busy August for me.  I have guided 2 days or full days for the last three weeks. I am grateful that I am so busy and I have learned that using my water wisely is critical.  You cannot fish the same spot day in and day out and expect good results.  There are only so many fish per spot and it easy to wear at your welcome. In the last week I have guided 12 different locations.  I might visit the same river in a weeks time but I always fish a different beat. 23 years of guiding has allowed me to figure out where to be at any given time due to weather.  It is a hot and dry and drought conditions, yet my clients are still catching fish. I visited a mid sized trout stream on Saturday to find the water a cool 59 degrees. Night time cooling the previous night allowed the water to cool off. Air temps of high forties will do that. Night time air temperatures below 60 are ideal for bringing  a trout stream into line after hot sunny days. We were rewarded with rising wild trout and really good fishing.  A great hatch of #22 Tricos had big fish sipping little bugs. We took several fish on a #22 Trico spinner and our best brown was landed on a beetle pattern. A 15" jumping brown that hammered a beetle drifted along a heavily vegetated bank.  Good fun in clear water sight fishing to weary trout.  On the small stream front, the brook trout fishing has been outstanding.  Water temperatures in the small mountain brooks we have been  walking have been 60 to 62 degrees.  The water is wicked low so stealth is important.  We are catching tons of 4" to 9" brookies on a 2wt. casting # 12-#14 Royal wulff or Royal Trude. The river bass fishing has been the most consistent. The water has been between 75 to 79 degrees but the fish seem to still be active. With the fly rods a #8 yellow belly frog popper and a #8 chartreuse Sneaky Pete have both been consistent. With the spin gear it is hard to get away from the 3" Senkos dead drifted.  They catch everything that swims. Lake fishing in the boat has been the trickiest. Surface lake temperatures have reached the high seventies. We have located smallmouth in 15' to 20' of water off deep milfoil beds. The largemouth bass have been holding in skinnier water. Mostly around Lilly pads and downed wood. I am off to do my second trip of the day. Looks like a thunderstorm could be in store for late day.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, August 10, 2018

Dog Days of Summer

Hi Folks, The summer heat continues and being next o the water or in it is not such a bad idea. Actually it looks like we are getting a reprieve from the heat and humidity with a cool down. It will be nice to have cool nights once again in order to cool off water temperatures.  I have been guding bass over the last couple of days with the spin and fly gear. We have been wading and boat fishing.  Water temperatures are still way above seasonal average and we still need lots of rain. The lake I guided the other day had a surface temperature of 77 degrees. We worked for a few fish.  The surface bite was okay first thing in the morning with a one good smallmouth taking a perch colored Floating Rapala that was cast to a downed tree. Interestingly, the fish rising to eat of the top whether it be in the lake or a river have been lethargic on the take. Certainly due to the warm water.  We worked to get a few small bass to eat a 4" Baby Bass Senko. All of the fish are holding in deeper water off milfoil beds around rocky bottoms. On the river front the water temperature yesterday morning was 71 degrees and 78 degrees by late day.  The water is really clear and you could sight fish the smallmouth. In the morning we spin fished dead drifting 3" Baby Bass Senkos and Watermelon Red magic Senkos.  My young group of anglers did a fine job landing upwards of 20 fish. My afternoon group was with the fly rods and we sight fished several smallmouth nymphing a #8 stonefly nymph under an indicator. Really subtle takes. We did have several surface takes with a #8 Chartreuse Sneaky Pete.  Being patient with the take on the surface fly and slowing down the approach were imperative with the warm water temperatures. Off to run the boat today for smallmouth.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

A special place

Hi Folks, Been a really busy last few days on the water. Full days chasing small stream trout and big water smallmouth.  Blazing outside and really muggy.  We still need rain and our rivers are only getting skinnier. I have meeting clients at 5;30 am to escape the heat.  Morning is always the coolest time of the day in when it is hot like it is currently. I have mostly been on small streams and one in particular that is an incredible place. This streams holds wold browns, wild rainbows, and native brookies. My client the other day caught all 3 in 1 pool on a #14 Rubber Legged Royal Trude. It is rugged walking and not a place for a beginner fly angler. Lots of tree canopy and obstructions  that need to be negotiated with the fly rod.  The water temperature has maintained at 64 degrees which is still pretty darn warm for this brook. We had the opportunity to sight fish to a 18" Brown trout that was eating midges. We stood 10' from the fish and watched it do its thing, pretty cool. I spent 3 days fly fishing with guests the 10 miles of this stream. We fished mostly dry flies but a #18 tan/yellow caddis pupa was really productive in some plunge pool areas. Also, a #8 Near Enuff
Sculpin moved bigger fish in the giant plunge pools.  The streamer pattern is cast up into the plunge and retrieved at a fast pace. It is fun to watch large trout chase the fly down. Really a special place to fly fish in the area and a true wilderness experience. A great option for finding shade, cooler water, and relief from the heat.  I ventured out with a guest to chase river smallmouth yesterday morning.  The river was 78 degrees at 6;30am. Millions and millions of #12 Ephoron leukon mayfly spinners bunched up in slow and eddy areas.  Piles and Piles of bugs.  I have never seen so many bugs in one place. Unfortunately, the water is so warm there will be no enjoying this hatch for trout this year. We did land 4 really nice bass yesterday and missed another 8 takes. A #8 white Sneaky Pete produced the fish. Lots of casting but we only caught smallmouth over 2lbs. Pretty fun on a 6wt. rod.  They were all holding in big primary pools.  The streamer fishing was slow.  We did get a 2lb bass to take a #8 black Girdle Bug under an indicator.  By lunchtime it was really hot on the water and a bit uncomfortable No place to hide from the sun. I am off to find shade this morning in a small stream. Well stay off the big trout water until things cool down and do a rain dance. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, August 4, 2018

finding cold water

Hi Folks, I just cant ever remember such a hot dry summer. It is raining currently but I do not think it will amount to much of anything. I have change directions with the guiding this week from pounding on smallmouth bass to walking small mountain brooks in pursuit of our state fish the Brook Trout. Even in these little streams the water temperatures are way above average. The 3 brooks I have been on have been between 61 and 64 degrees. A good 4 to 5 degrees warmer than average. Thus why many of the Brookies are holding in the heavier water associated with the plunge pools. They are starving for dissolved oxygen. The small stream fishing is really fun if you like to catch trout on dry flies and cast light slow action fly rods. I have been using several different patterns from #14 Cal Birds Pocket water, to a #12 Royal Wulff,  a #12-#14 Rubber legged Royal Trude,  to a #12 Green Foam Grasshopper. Small stream fishing involves a lot of walking especially with the current conditions. The low water has pushed the trout all into the bigger primary pools. There is not enough water in our brooks to provide adequate cover in many of the secondary holding spots. I did have a very fine angler on Thursday catch the Vermont cycle on a dry landing a Brookie, Brown, and Rainbow in the same afternoon. One of the things I enjoy about small stream fishing in Vermont is that these are the environments where a high percentage of the wild fish live. It is important in these brooks to think about where you stand prior to casting and how you move about the brook. The spook factor is in full effect with the current conditions. I am off to chase small stream trout for the day. Looks like it is going to get really warm over the next few days, ugh. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Leaving July on a hot note

Hi Folks, In my opinion, July 2018 will not go down in Catamount Fishing Adventures as a month to remember. I have guided pretty much everyday and the fishing has been decent. However, the hot dry weather has been awful. Tired of getting cooked in the sun, reading warm water temperatures on my thermometer, and looking at low river levels. Bring on the rain and cold! I have been mixing it up lately between fly fishing and spin fishing for smallmouth bass. Seeing lots of #22-#24 Tricos early in the morning. Not that the smallmouth are going to eat the tiny mayfly.  Lots of terrestrials around from hoppers to beetles to ants. You cant underestimate how well a terrestrial pattern can work on heavily wooded streams. Trout fishing currently is in the small mountain brooks. The big water is too warm.  On the lower Lamoille the other day I got a reading of 78 degrees at 6:30 am. The stream I guided yesterday morning was 72 degrees at 7am. Surface temperatures on the lakes I have visited have been between 73 to 77 degrees. Just too darn hot. The bass fishing has been consistent. Just working a bit harder than usual to catch fish as they even seem lethargic in the warmer water temperatures. I have noticed the bass in lakes are holding in deeper water due to the warm temps. and bright sunny days. While the river bass have been stacked up in primary pools. Just been slowing down the tactics to catch fish. I am off to chase to river brook trout in a small stream. Need some rain. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Tugging on smallmouth

Hi Folks, We are experiencing a tropical weather pattern currently. Heavy humid air with finally some much needed rain. I like bass fishing when the air is heavy. Something about humid weather that really turns the smallmouth fishing on.  The water temperatures have been crazy warm. The lower Lamoille was 77 to 78 degrees yesterday morning at 6:30am. Wow! The river I guided the previous day was 75 degrees in the late afternoon and the previous morning it was 69 degrees. The water is still really low and we could use more rain. We have been catching smallmouth with a variety of tactics. Both on fly rods and spin gear.  Have some some success getting fish to eat off the top. A #8 yellow bellied frog popper with the fly rod and a jointed floating perch rapala with the spin gear. Yesterday morning was interesting as the top water bite was really good off the get go and then totally shut down. We resorted to nymphing with an indicator above a #6 black Girdle bug. We landed our biggest bass of the day with this technique. We had to slow things down due to the higher than average water temperatures and the sun popping through the clouds. Spin fishing it is easy to slow it down. Give them rubber. 3" and 4" Senkos in watermelon black magic, crawfish, and baby bass have all caught fish and even a few stocked trout. We harvested the trout as they pretty much rolled over as we landed them. Warm water no surprise. We are not targeting trout they are merely a bye product of where we are fishing. I do not target trout in 70 degree plus water. Nor should anyone chase trout under such conditions. Stream thermometer is awful handy this time of the year.  The niced thing about guiding for 23 years is having options when the conditions get wacky. You cant go to the same spot day in and day out and expect to have good results. Smallmouth fishing for the next few days. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Trico, Trico, Trico

Hi Folks, One of my favorite hatches of the season is now taking place. Tricorythodes or Tricos are a multibrodied mayfly that begins to hatch early morning in late July and can go on into October. Tricos are tiny from #20 to #26 sized fly. The hatch can happen within a couple of hours to 4 hours. Typically it is all over before the sun gets to high in the sky. Male Tricos hatch at night and are insignificant to trout. The female duns hatch first light and you can catch some nice fish eating the emerging bugs in skinny riffles. The females migrate to the riparian areas where the males are waiting to mate. They can return to the river shortly there after to lay eggs. The spinner fall is what really gets the fish going bonkers. The last few days I have seen some really nice clouds of Trico spinners with fish rising pretty steadily. The spinner clouds are really impressive The trout have also been on #18 tan bodied caddis. The fish when rising to Tricos tend to hold tight to their feeding lanes and the cast and drift have to be spot on. This morning was beautiful with 62 degree water temperatures, cloudy with some light showers, and lots of hungry trout. We landed the cycle on dry flies catching a Brook Trout, Rainbow Trout, and Brown. It was interesting how the fish ate like crazy until about 11 am and then it shut down. Yesterday I guided bass in a river system that flows into a lake. Saw lots of Tricos in the morning and we had stocked rainbows eating the tiny bug. We got smallmouth to eat #10 orange bodied Stimulators and #10 Royal wulffs. The afternoon fishing was really good yesterday with the spin rods. We landed well over 20 smallmouth drifting 3" Crawfish and Baby Bass Senkos.  We were able to sight fish. The water was pretty low and the temperature was 71 in the afternoon and was 66 in the early am. We still really need rain. The water is incredibly low.  I am chasing smallmouth tomorrow. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Friday, July 20, 2018

Wearing out some boot leather

Hi Folks, The warm dry weather continues.  Still finding some cold water to fish for trout. I have been all over the place this week fly fishing. Visited the a branch of the White River and multiple Winooski tributaries.  Small stream fishing in Vermont is great! Wild fish in cool spots that can be caught on dry flies pretty consistently. Water temperatures in every stream I have guided have been between 59 to 62 degrees in the morning. One Winooski tributary was 67 late in the afternoon mid week. The water is really low and the spook factor is in full effect. I have blown out more trout in the last few days even when being pretty cautious.Lots of walking this time of the year on the small streams. You have to cover ground in order to catch fish. There are only so many fish per mile. However, it is fairly easy to cover ground efficiently because the trout in these brooks are pretty greedy. If you do not draw any interest within a few casts, then move forward.  We have been casting and drifting a #12 Royal Wulff, a  #14 Yellow foam stimulator, #16 Goddard Caddis with a #18 yellow cadis pupa dropper, and a  #12 orange bodied Stimulator. The caddis pupa dropper has been really good on some bigger fish. Had some success on the White stripping a #10 Black Bugger and a #8 Near Enuff Sculpen quickly out of deep plunge pools. There has been a fair amount of bug activity lately. Lots of #6-#10 Golden Stone fly cases on rocks, quite a few #18 micro caddis ( a tan body with a white mottled wing), small hoppers in fields that are green bodied, #18 Baetis, lots of #20-#24 midges, and a few #10 Golden Drakes. Tons of bait fish and crawfish in the shallow margins. A wooly bugger in black or olive and streamer patterns that represent young trout will all work.  Off to chase smallmouth tomorrow. Everyone do a rain dance. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Bass, Brown trout, and Brook trout

Hi Folks, Been really mixing it up with the guiding lately. Fly fishing and spin trips have been keeping me busy. Awful darn hot and we still really need rain.  Our rivers are super low and with that comes warm water temperatures. I have guided several small mountain brooks that maintain temperature due to their elevation and good shaded tree canopy.  Water temperature in these brooks has been between 60 to 63 degrees which is a few degrees warmer than average. The brookie fishing has been pretty straight forward. Move upstream cautiously casting attractor dry fly patterns into any suspected holding water. If there is a fish present, they typically smash the dry. A #12 Ausable Wulff, a #14 Royal Wullf, and a #14 green bodied Stimulator have all worked well.  The larger trout stream I guided Friday went from  61 degrees in the morning to 68 degrees by late afternoon. We had rising fish most of the day even in the bright sun,  They were eating a #18 micro caddis and  there were a few #10 Golden Drakes hatching. I have been seeing lots of #8-#10 Golden Stone fly shucks all over rocks. They hatch at night .We sight fished every trout we landed. 4 wild brown trout and 1 wild rainbow. We changed flies a number of times but the most consistent pattern was a #18 caddis pupa off a #16 Goddard caddis and a #10 foam royal Trude.  .On the bass front, I have been using my boat and the surface temperature of the lake we fished was 73 degrees. Cooled off a bit from a week ago. We had to finesse the  fish with 5" and 4" Senkos in crawfish and watermelon red magic. We worked for the 2 smallmouth and 3 largemouth we landed. We missed a few but the takes were not easy to detect due to a steady south wind.  Rubber worm fishing is about line control and really being able to watch the line and tip of the rod to detect the subtle takes. I really enjoy mixing up my fishing venues. Keeps things interesting. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Fish rescue

Hi Folks, I have been really mixing it up lately from small stream trout fishing to big river smallmouth bass fly fishing.  it has been pretty darn hot and I am ready for a cool down and some rain.  Our rivers are low and warm and we need rain.  The Lamoille and Missiqoui were 77 to 79 degrees the last two afternoons. The small brook I have been guiding has maintained 59 degree temperatures. The Winooski trib. I was on yesterday morning was 61 to 63 degrees. Pretty good trout fishing yesterday morning as we located a pod of feeding fish who were rising to a small #22 midge, an occasional #10 Golden Drake (Potamanthus) and a #18 light bodied caddis. We fished a dry dropper rig with a #12 foam Trude and #16 caddis dropper and a #12 Royal Wulff with a #18 peacock soft hackle dropper. We landed 5 wild brown trout and missed a few. We were able to sight fish several trout. The fish were cruising in a long slow flat back and forth while eating. The area slowed up once the sun got high over head and the fish got spooked by our fly line being cast over them.  We did spot several very large browns that would be worth pursuing at a future date. On the smallmouth front the fishing has been pretty good. Lots of action but maybe not as fast and furious as could be if the water was just a little cooler. We are landing double digit numbers of fish, I just think that there a few smallies that are not as eager to play in the really warm river temperatures.  A #8 frog popper with a yellow belly and a #6 olive zonker, and a #6 black  wooly bugger have all been effective in big pools. Casting and drifting to large rocks have produced the most fish. They seem wired to the big cover in the river. My guiding weekend began with a fish rescue by Catfish. I was on a bottom fed river with lots of plunge pools. In one of the plunges we watched a trout attempt to jump the falls. We noticed that a fish appeared to be stuck in the rocks of the falls. Sure enough it was a 24" wild resident male rainbow. It was wedged in such a way that it still had a trickle of water running into its mouth. I caught it with my hands and rested it in a plunge pool before moving it above to the large pool it was attempting to jump to.  Arguably the largest wild rainbow I have ever seen in Vermont. A true Anomaly. Go fishing enough you see some crazy things. I am off to chase bass. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Friday, July 6, 2018

Fireworks a day late

Hi Folks, Nice hearing the sound of rain hitting the metal roof this morning.  We really need the rain and this fast moving weather front will cool things off.  I guiding a spin trip yesterday on the lower Lamoille.  Another hot and muggy day on the river.  The water temperature was 77 to 78 degrees, ouch. The fishing was very good and it appeared that the bigger smallmouth were feeding. The first cast of the day resulted in an 18" smallmouth that hammered a fire tiger popper.  Due to warmer than average water temperatures even the bass seemed a bit lethargic in coming to the surface. We caught and missed another fish on a black and silver Rapala and then the top water bite slowed. We dead drifted and swung 4" Baby Bass, Crawfish, and Red magic Senkos with great success.  We landed almost 40 smallmouth with several 17" to 18" fish being hooked.  The fish were holding close to heavy water. The warm water temperatures forced many of the bass from slower sections into the faster water. We had one pocket that was a small eddy next to a heavy run that was 5' to 8' deep.  They were stacked like cord wood in the small pocket. Interestingly, we a number of fish that chased a retrieved Senko and even had fish come up to eat them as they swung up in the current.  The icing on the cake was having  two walleye eat Senkos. I thought that we would catch fish yesterday, I just did not know that we land so many.  The previous day of lake fishing with the fly rods for smallmouth was frustrating. Lots of fish coming to the fly but not committing to eat it. I think the Lamoille was a good set up yesterday after all of the higher water all week.  The water level had dropped and it seemed the fish were making up for lost time.  Will be small stream fishing today once the thunderstorms blow through.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

heat wave and Mother Nature's air conditioner

Hi Folks, Been awful darn hot guiding the last few days,  I have been meeting guests between 5am and 5:30 am in order to escape the heat.  Water temperatures have really spiked. The lower lamoille yesterday morning at 6:30am was 77 to 78 degrees. The lake I fished early this morning was 77 degrees on the surface.  However, the small brook trout streams I have visited the last few days have been a pleasant 58 to 60 degrees.  Of course, they have great tree canopy for shade and come off high elevation.  We could use some rain.  There has been a slight south wind present the few days lake fishing.  The bass fishing has been pretty slow with the warm weather.  Seeing fish come to the fly and turn off. They seem not very interested.  I changed flies more this morning than I can ever remember when chasing smallmouth.  We got one 2lb fish to eat a #8 Chartreuse Sneaky Pete and that was it.  Saw lots and lots of big bass and they simply did not appear to be interested in feeding.  On the other end of the spectrum, the brook trout fishing has been very good.  Lots of action from 4" to 9" native fish.  They readily eat dry flies and live in some pretty stretches of river.  Our tactics have been to move up stream in order to not spook the fish.  We have been casting a #12 Royal Wullf, #10 orange bodied Stimulator, and a #12 Royal Trude.  All 3 dry fly patterns have been equally productive. This type of fly fishing is about covering water as there are only so many fish per spot.  If the water is knee deep and you suspect it could hold a trout then casting a dry to the location will educate you.  These small stream brook trout are gluten's and seem very happy to eat large bushy dry flies.  Looks like a cool down is in store for the weekend.  The fishing will improve once things cool off.  Chasing smallmouth tomorrow.  Happy 4th everyone.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Floating down the river

Hi Folks, Purchasing a drift boat 3 years ago was on of the wiser investments I have made for my business.  It has really become a viable part of my business and a very fun way to fish moving water.  The last couple days on the water have been a mixed bag of tricks.  The trout fishing on Friday was okay.  I guided a Lamoille tributary that was dropping from the rain earlier in the week. The water temperature was 65 degrees.  Pretty hot sunny day on Friday and the trout seemed lethargic.  We landed 1 wild rainbow and missed a couple of fish that half committed to eating a dry fly.  Tough trout fishing conditions with  the hot summer days and bright sun.  Not much for hatching insects except for a few random #14 Yellow Sallies. Looks like it is going to warm for the next few days.  The best time to be on the water currently is early am.  Yesterday I changed directions and floated down the lower Lamoille for smallmouth bass.  The fishing was really good.  We landed well over 30 fish including several walleyes.  The fish were eating off the top as well as just below the surface.  Water temperature was 69 to 70 degrees and the level was slightly above the seasonal average, but dropping. It was one of those days where the big fish showed themselves. We encountered quite a few smallmouth in the 15" to 18" class.  Good strong fighting fish that like to get air time.  We fished active lures all day long. A floating perch Rapala and a Fire Tiger Rapala. The fish ate the lures sitting motionless on the surface and on the retrieve.  As the morning progressed we stepped up the speed of our retrieval and the fish really jumped on the plugs.The drift boat really allows me to get to places that cant be waded. Just need to have rivers full of water. I am off to chase smallmouth this morning. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Friday, June 29, 2018

Finally some rain and a new twist

Hi Folks, Been a really busy week on the water with some welcome change. A good 3/4" of nice soaking rain yesterday put a charge of water in our rivers.  We really needed it especially with the up coming forecast.  Looks like a heat wave is headed to town where air temperatures will eclipse 90 degrees.  Not good for trout fishing.  My guess is the main stem of the Lamoille and Winooski will become too warm to trout fish.  Its okay, always small streams to enjoy and lots of opportunity for bass fishing.   It has been a pretty good week of river fishing as I have waded, floated, and did an adaptive fishing trip. Water temperatures have been cool for the last few days with cool evenings.  The Lamoille main stem and the Winooski have been in high fifties in the early morning to mid sixties by late afternoon.  The Magog tributary I was on Wednesday afternoon was 63 degrees.  The Winooski tributary I guided Tuesday morning and Wednesday morning was 58 to 59 degrees. The Lamoille tributary was 59 to 60 degrees.  Starting to see more and more #8-#10 adult stone flies laying eggs late afternoon as well as hatching #14 Cahills and Cahill spinners.  Always the ever present caddis with a #16 tan bodied bug coming off the last few mornings. Lots and lots of #16-#18 green bodied caddis who are pupating on rocks in riffles.  A #12 orange bodied Stimulator has drawn lots of interest from surface feeding fish.  We have been nymphing with a #10 double tungsten golden stone fly pattern as well as #12 tungsten bead red thread Prince nymph.  The smallmouth fishing has been decent above and below the surface.  A #8 green sculpin pattern, a #8 white wooly bugger, and a #8 frog popper have been a nice approach.  We even had a stocked rainbow eat the frog popper.  Hard to believe the trout could get the popper in its mouth.  On the spin front a good old floating Rapala produced a big 18" smallmouth.  For the inactive smallmouth a 3" crawfish colored  Senko dead drifted has picked up the fussy fish.  On Wednesday I had the opportunity to guide my first adpative fishing trip. The gentlemen I took fishing had no use of one arm and could not stand for long periods. I used a little wood chuck ingenuity to make a rod holder that could be attached to wheelchair and used with one hand.  We landed a rainbow and several smallmouth bass.  Pretty satisfying for me. I liked seeing the gentlemen's smile.  I always say that the fish do not care who is holding the rod.  Fishing can be enjoyed by everyone! Well, busy week ahead as I need to prep for a big afternoon trip.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Making the guide proud

Hi Folks, Been a good three days of guiding. Nice damp cool weekend culminating in a beautiful float down the lamoille yesterday afternoon.  Our rivers are low and we could use some more rain.  Water temperatures are staying down with the cool nights.  41 degrees at my house in Stowe currently.  The Lamoille was 62 degrees last night and 69 on Saturday.  The lake  I was on Sunday was 69 to 70 degrees.  Pretty calm weekend with a good steady northwest wind yesterday.  The river fishing for bass was really good on Saturday.  We landed 25 smallmouth working a frog popper with my fly angler and a fire tiger Rapala with my spin angler.  The fish holding in classic giant riffles to pools with lots and lots of big boulders.  Holding tight to cover upstream and down stream of rocks.  A swung #8 olive zonker was very effective prompting fish from the their holding spots. Last night the fish rose sporadically on the Lamoille.  The fishing was pretty slow until we got out of the sun.  Saw a bunch of #14 Cahills coming off as well as #8 Adult Stoneflies laying eggs. Most of the rises we saw were very splashy.  We actually caught a native Brook Trout in the main stem of the lamoille.  I have not seen a Brookie in this stretch of river in quite some time.  All of our trout and mostly stocked rainbows came out of heavy riffles.  The risers were in  the slower pools were pretty selective.  Also noticed a few Cahill spinners landing on the water while we were pulling out the drift boat. I suspect the fish were going to much on them after the sun went down.  My lake trip this weekend for bass and pike was a lot of fun.  I took out a father son who I have guided for a number of years. I love it when a young person who I have taught to fish makes the perfect cast and are rewarded with a fish.  Nothing like seeing a floating Rapala land right next to downed wood and watch a big bass explode on the top water presentation.  Great accurate cast to the suspected resulting in a nice fish. I enjoy the process in guiding and getting to see young guests connect the dots to fish is very satisfying.   The smallies, largemouth, and pike were all related to cover whether it was heavy weeds, wood, or rock.  We landed 6 different types of fish from game species to pan fish. Well it looks like a warm up is on the way.  I am guiding all week and chasing smallmouth later today. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Big bass and the Vermont cycle

Hi Folks, It has been a busy week of guiding.  Just completed back to back doubles and preparing to do it again today.  The fishing has been pretty decent.  Our rivers have settled from the early week rain and we could use some more rain.  I have been mixing it up and fly fishing for smallmouth and northern from  my motorboat and river wading for trout.  The Winooski gave up a the Vermont cycle yesterday.  We landed a native brook trout, wild brown trout, and wild rainbow.  The river was 65 degrees. Not a ton of hatching activity.  A few #18 sulphurs, a few some random #18-#20 micro caddis along with a few #14 tan bodied caddis were hatching at dark.  We nymphed up our bigger fish and caught the smaller trout on dry flies.   A #10 orange bodied Stimulator drew a lot of interest from young wild trout.  A #10 double tungsten black stone fly with a #16 caddis pupa dropper as well as a #12 Prince nymph under an indicator was very effective.  All of the trout that ate nymphs were holding in heavier water loaded with great big rocks.  While still water fishing for bass and pike and I started to see some of the large #4-#6 Hex May flies coming off.  Now is the time to start exploring the various cold water lakes in Vermont on search of large fish rising to eat the Hex at dark.  The bass fishing has been pretty darn good.  I have done several smallmouth trips the over the last few days from river fishing to lake fishing.  The top water bite has been inconsistent, but the fish that have been eating off the top have been large.  We landed a 18" smallie the other day on a frog popper that absolutely hammered the fly,  A big bass will really put a bend in a 6wt. fly rod.  A #8 bunny fur olive zonker has been consistent for a sub surface pattern.  The spin anglers have been enjoying a lot of success with a fire tiger Rapalas and the incredible edible Senko.  A 3" to 4" Senko in watermelon black magic has been very consistent.  The Rapala really was effective catching small northerns and pickerel.  An erratic retrieve while attempting to dance the lure over weed patches got the fish interested. We located all of our fish in less than 10' of water.  All in and around rip rap, rock, and forming weed beds. The river fishing smallmouth has mostly been a subsurface thing.  Water temps in the rivers are a bit cooler.  The lower Lamoille was 68 degrees and the Winooski trib. 60 to 61 degrees.  Slow drifts with 3" crawfish  Senkos and a 3.5" baby bass swim Senko were just the right ticket. for the cold water and lethargic smallmouth.   We did get a few eats on a fire tiger Rapala and a small bass popper that imitated a frog.  We landed 20 plus smallmouth this morning fishing big giant rock laden pools.  I think once the bass water warms above70 degrees  then the top water fishing will improve.  I am floating tommorow.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-natives species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Thursday, June 21, 2018

nice to have water in our streams

Hi Folks, The recent rain has really been a game changer for our rivers and brooks.  It is nice to see a charge of water in the river beds.  Yesterday I guided a wade trip with spin gear in the morning and floated the Lamoille in the afternoon.  Not seeing any sign of people fishing on the water.  Water levels were slightly above the season average and dropping.  The Winooski tributary in the morning was 61 degrees and the Lamoille was 65 in the afternoon.  The best fishing times currently are either early in the morning or late in the day.  All of the rising fish yesterday afternoon happened in the last hour of light.  The bass fishing in the morning was fairly slow.  We landed one fish and missed another half a dozen.  Very subtle takes.  We had to slow down our approach and use a 3" watermelon black magic Senko slowly dead drifted.  Casting plugs did not result in any interest.  I did not see any fish chase an actively moved lure.  I attribute the quiet morning to water still being up and a little cool. All of the fish we had eat were holding in the slower parts of a pool or in a big back eddy.  The fishing on the Lamoille was pretty good yesterday once the sun got low in the sky.  The first part of the afternoon was slow while the sun was still on the water.  We saw #16 dark bodied caddis hatching, a few #8 Stone Flies coming off, and a few #16/#18 Sukphurs right at dark.  We got rainbows to eat a #16 foam bodied elk hair winged caddis and a #10 orange bodied stimulator.  The fish we located rising seemed fairly agreeable to eating the dry fly.  We did hook a big fish at the end of the float that we never saw and broke us off.  The rise form by the fish was big  and it made a loud chomping noise as it ate.  My guest got it to eat and it instantly bent over the rod and buried itself in the river under some debris and it was game over.  Really fun casting to surface feeding fish.  All about making a good cast accurate cast and a drag free drift.  I m off to bass fish today in the morning and afternoon.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  have fun, Willy

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Welcome change

Hi Folks, Finally we received some much need rain in Stowe Vermont.  It doe not bode well for my trip today as our rivers are now full of water and settling out after nearly an inch of rain yesterday. However, we were becoming desperate for some precipitation, so we finally got it. I have been guiding trout for the last 4 days on the Lamoille, Winooski, and several Lamoille tributaries. The water temperatures in the Lamoille and Winooski had been creeping up into the high sixties in the afternoon.  The Winooski has been around 60 to 63 in the early am and the Lamoile about the same.  What has helped prevent the rivers from becoming too warm have been cool nights with air temperatures in the low fifties to high forties.  The Lamoille tributaries I visited over the weekend were 52 degrees and 59 degrees.  The main stem of the Winooski did not fish well at all on Friday morning.  I floated the river and we caught 1 wild rainbow and I do not think we got another strike.  The main stem of the Lamoille was a bit more accommodating on Saturday.  We landed lots of wild rainbows and a few small browns.  Not any really big fish, but all wild.  We did not see a stocked trout.  There was a decent little caddis hatch of #16 dark bodied bug that the fish were rising to eat.  We dead drifted right into feeding lanes a #14 Henryville Special.  We also took fish with a dry dropper rig and swung #16 olive hare's ear nymphs and #16 green soft hackles into riffles. With the hot weather over the weekend the fishing on the Lamoille was consistent until about 10am. The tributary fishing has been really good.  We caught all 3 species, native brook trout, stocked browns, and wild rainbows.  A foam bodied #10 Royal Trude and a #12 foam bodied Yellow Sally drew lots of interest in the small water.  Bigger fish were taken casting a #8 Near Enuff Sculpin into plunge pools and striping it back as quickly as possible.  Really fun to watch a large trout race out from under the cover of the plunge to take the fly.  A nice method for drawing out big fish in heavy deep pools. Yesterday morning I guided a Winooski tributary.  A few rising fish eating #16 tan bodied caddis and a #16 blue dun colored mayfly. A combination of brown trout and fall fish eating off the top.  We cast a #14 Ausable Wulff and a #14 Henryville Special.  All of the fish were rising subtly in slower deep pools. The cast and drift had to placed right into the feeding lane. Well, nice to have some rain and cooler weather.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Thursday, June 14, 2018

getting a little dry

Hi Folks, A little rain currently failing from the sky, we really need it.  Our rivers are super low for this time of the year.  The water level is and will impact the trout fishing.  Let it rain. With the low water and hot days the temperatures have been climbing. The Lamoille and Winooski have both climbed into the upper sixties. Luckily we have been experiencing cold nights that have helped keep temperatures down.  Plus today is cool and damp.  I have been guiding both the Lamoille and Winooski this week.  Rising activity has been an early morning and dusk event.  The trout in the morning have been on a #16 cinnamon bodied caddis and in evening #16 Sulphur duns and spinners.  With the low water the trout have been a bit fussy.  Good casts and drifts have been necessary in order to prompt a response.  We have had success drifting a #16 foam caddis, a #16 olive hare and copper, a #14 Rusty Spinner.  A rubber legged olive bugger has worked well dead drifted and worked slowly along the bottom.  The trout have been either holding in the deepest parts of big pools or up in the heavy riffles when the caddis have been hatching.  Small stream trout fishing is now a great option as the big rivers become more tricky.  I will be chasing trout the next few days.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Fish with teeth

Hi Folks, Spent a windy Saturday in the boat chasing pike, bass, and walleye with spin anglers.  Beautiful day.  Steady NW west that made boat handling a bit tricky.  The water temperature ranged form 62 to 66 degrees.  The water was off color and we used brightly colored lures.  A fire tiger Rapala and a #3 Mepps both produced smallmouth, pike, and small walleye.  We located all of our fish in less than 10' of water.  Pike fishing involves lots of casting.  After hooking and losing a big pike, land a couple of small ones, we got fortunate to catch a 35" hen.  Nice looking northern and I am glad I had a net.  We spent the afternoon fishing the river section of this body of water looking for smallmouth.  It appears that the bass are now post spawn and on the move to their summer haunts.  We located a bunch of fish in rocky section of the river where there was a big back eddy adjacent to the current.  4" Black magic Senkos caught several small sized bass.  We did land a large walleye that ate a Senko.  The fish had some teeth! It is a really nice time of year to fish in Vermont.  Just hard to decide on any given day what species to pursue. Lots of options.  Back to the trout water tomorrow. Fishing is best in the early morning or late day to dusk currently.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy