Friday, April 18, 2014

Here we go

Hi folks, Back into another fishing season.  Just finishing up my winter obligation at the ski resort.  Fly lines are clean, lots of flies tied, and the calender is filling up.  I guided a couple of aspiring fly anglers today for northern pike.  Still winter out there.  We fished open water in the Champlain valley.  Most of lakes around me in Stowe are still locked in ice.  The fishing was slow as the water temperature never eclipsed 40 degrees.  Tough casting big bunny buggers in the wind especially when learning how to fly fish.    The Lamoille and Winooski are high, very cold, and dirty.  Several tributary streams around me are clear but frigid.  River trout fishing in April is always challenging with cold water temperatures.  Big meaty flies are in order fished on 6wt. to  8wt. rods with sinking lines and stripped rather aggressively for brown trout is the best option currently.  Lots of casting but you could be rewarded with a very nice fish.  Lake run rainbows/steelhead are always a good early season bet.  Just very hit or miss if you cannot fish these rivers daily.  Warm weather or at least seasonal air temperatures are just around the corner.  Could be a slower start to the season this year with the cold winter we just experienced.  I will be focusing on pike and steelhead fishing over the next couple of weeks.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Brrrrrrrr

Hi Folks, Cold out on the hard water recently.  Guiding pike this week.  The pike lake I have been fishing has almost 2 feet of ice with lots of snow packed on top.  A little easier going on foot as the previous snow fall has thawed and re-frozen.  Need to pay attention to false ice now with all of the snow pack.  I would use caution with driving a snow machine or truck on the ice with forming false ice and water on top of the ice that is below the snow pack.  Awful cold yesterday with a swirling wind that created snow funnels on the lake.  We really had to anchor down the shanty.  We located pike and yellow perch yesterday in 12' of water over a huge weed bed.  We jigged for perch with fire tiger Hali jigs tipped with maggots.  We caught northern pike on tip-ups that were baited with live yellow perch, live golden shiners, and dead golden shiners.  The pike fishing has been very consistent.  Should have plenty of ice for awhile as winter does not appear to be releasing its grip.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, February 21, 2014

lots of snow

Hi Folks, Been mixing up the ice fishing trips lately pursuing trout as well as northern pike.  The snow storm from last Thursday has been a game changer.  Getting around on the ice is now a challenge.  Thigh deep snow out there and snow shoes would be helpful.  Lots of water under the snow and on top of the ice so good high and dry boots are necessary.  On the pike lake I have been fishing there is almost two feet of black ice.  Where I have been trout and smelt fishing I have found anywhere from 16" to 20" of good black ice.  Lots of effort setting tip-ups especially if you want to spread them out.  Been jig fishing smelt really successfully with Hali jigs tipped with maggots.  A very subtle bite and I have been locating the smelt in 20' to 30' of water.  Smelt make great bait for trout but I have not been very successful on the trout end.  Seems all of my tip-ups get mauled by large yellow perch.  Pike fishing has been a bit more consistent with small northerns coming to dead golden shiners on the tip-ups.  We did catch a 2lb bullhead yesterday on a dead bait rigged on a tip-up.  That was a first for me as I have never seen a bullhead caught ice fishing.  Jigging for perch has been pretty decent with numerous small perch being caught and the occasional large fish.  Most of the perch and pike I have been locating over weed beds in anywhere from 10' to 20' of water.  Well, rain today and then some colder weather so the getting around the ice could be messy today but then firm back up.  Have fun on the hard water, Willy

Friday, January 17, 2014

chum plus jig fishing equals feisty northern pike

Hi Folks, Been a nice month thus far for guiding ice fishing trips and the fishing has been very consistent. Been into chasing pike through the hard water.  Even after all of the rain over the weekend the ice is still in good shape.  We found 17" of solid black ice with a couple of inches of snow over the ice to provide nice walking conditions.  The recent rain did make the edges a little sketchy so caution is advised when walking or driving onto the ice.  We choose to walk yesterday though there were folks driving on the ice. So we set tip ups and jig fished.  Tipped the traps with live and dead golden shiners as well as wounded yellow perch.  We had 3 flags yesterday and landed 1 pike, lost another, and had one fish break us off.  Jig fishing was consistent with catching yellow perch.  We hooked two northern on the jig sticks and landed one.  I have been chumming the holes pretty heavily with chopped up bait and perch.  Really brings in the fish.  Every time the perch stop biting you know that a predator is around.  Loads of fun fighting a feisty pike on 2lb test on a soft jig pole.  Trout season opens on Saturday and I will now mix up my fishing between chasing northern and trout.  Have fun and be safe on the hard water.  Willy

Sunday, January 12, 2014

ice fishing in the rain

Hi Folks, Guided the hard water yesterday morning for northern pike and yellow perch.  Pretty interesting weather as it was 40 degrees out and raining steadily.  Seems like an oxymoron fishing on a frozen lake in the rain.  Weird weather winter with extreme temperature fluctuation.  There was 17" of good black ice and you definitely needed creepers for getting around on the ice.  We set a dozen tip ups baited with live and dead golden shiners and wounded yellow perch we had caught jig fishing.  Multiple flags off the get go but the fish kept dropping the bait.  Our first pike of the day was caught on a fire tiger Hali jig tipped with maggots and fished over holes that I had chummed with chopped up bait.  Landed the 25" fish on 2lb test and a really soft jig stick.  Lots of fun.  The largest pike of the day came on a tip-up that was baited with a perch was a nice healthy 32" female pike.  Nice looking fish.  The northern fishing has been consistent and we have been locating pike over weed beds in 8' to 15' of water.  Catching perch just not very many large ones.  Trout season opens next weekend.  Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Happy New Year form the northern pike

Hi Folks, Heck of a way to begin the New Year fishing in minus 14 degree air temperatures.  Plenty of ice here in the Stowe area as we found 15" today pike fishing. Steady south wind that made it feel a bit cooler.   Good solid black ice and we drove my truck out on the lake.  We popped a dozen holes for tip-up dressed with dead golden shiners and yellow perch.  We dead have a few live Goldens but they did receive any love from a pike.  All of the bait was hooked with #2 red hooks.  Big fan of the red hooks in ice fishing.  We vertically fished from large pop up heated shanty for perch and northern.  Lots of chumming in the holes with fat head minnows that were dead and alive as well as yellow perch cut up.  Used Hali jigs and Bibbits with red hooks tipped with maggots and minnows.  We located all of our fish in 10' to 12' of water.  We landed 3 pike measuring 24", 28" and 30".  Lost one other fish and had what appeared to be a large pike get wrapped up on some wood on the bottom and we broke it off, bummer.  It seems when it is really cold the fish do like dead baits.  Less energy expenditure in feeding.  Anywho, fun morning on the ice and real challenge with the weather.  Looking  forward to lots of ice fishing this year and should have good ice everywhere.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, December 20, 2013

getting ready for the hard water

Hi Folks, Hope everyone is well.  Been away from the fishing game for a bit.  Spending time in the sugar woods and deer hunting.  A cold December has allowed ice to begin to form on many lakes.  I plan on  beginning my ice fishing season within the next week.  Early ice fishing will be for northern pike and yellow perch.  The trout fishing season does not begin until the third Saturday in January.  With a nasty mixed batch of precipitation blanketing the Stowe area this weekend, all of our lakes should become free of snow and really form a nice smooth layer of black ice.  do not take any unnecessary risks on ice.  I have fallen through the ice before and it is not a pleasant experience.  Bring along rope, spikes of life, a spud bar to check ice safety,  plenty of warm clothes, warm dry boots, something warm to drink, and something to eat.  do not assume the ice is safe without checking it yourself. Just because others are on the ice does not make it safe! Should be another fun year on the ice and I am looking forward to pulling some big fish through a hole in the hard water.  have fun, Willy

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

wooly bugger

Hi Folks, Guided fly anglers yesterday afternoon on the Lamoille.  Water temperature has cooled down to 53 degrees which is still pretty darn good for the end of October.  Water level is up a bit and just slightly above the seasonal average.  Saw a few #22 BWO's hatching late in the day and there were also a fair amount of #20 flying ants buzzing about.  Not much for rising trout except for one very big rainbow that was cruising in a big back eddy sipping bugs without a worry.  We watched the trout for awhile and the moment we attempted to position ourselves for a cast the fish was put down.  We had more success dead drifting heavily weighted #12 olive/black wooly buggers.    We landed one 14" wild rainbow and lost 3 other fish.  All nice looking fish that fought pretty well.  Lots of craw fish in the Lamoille and the fish have to eat.  The Wooly bugger without question creates the illusion of a craw fish.  Not a glamorous way to catch trout but certainly effective.  It is important to keep the fly towards the bottom and using weight or a sinking line leader are all effective ways to present a bugger.  Trout season is winding down.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, October 21, 2013

change of pace

Hi Folks, Spent yesterday morning in the northeast kingdom of Vermont catching lake trout with a friend.  Water is still fairly warm for this time of the year as the surface temperature was 54 degrees.  Good west wind with partially cloudy skies.  We used long flexible fly rod blanks that are built with spin guides and are perfectly suited for casting braided lines off of a spinning reel.  We set up over mid lake humps that rise out of deep water.  Saw a fair amount of lake trout breaching the surface.  Pretty sure it is a spawning posture that allows the lakers to re-adjust their bodies that are full of eggs.  The breaching is like your pregnant wife rolling in bed when she is really uncomfortable.  The braided line allowed us to make really long casts so that we did not have to get too close to the humps with the boat.  We landed 7 lake trout, lost 3 fish, and missed another half a dozen fish.  We used 1/4oz. jigs in chartreuse tipped with a emerald shiner and smelt imitation swim bait.  Really subtle takes.  The trick to this style of fishing is to be on the water early. We had all of our action between 6:00am and 8:30am.  Once the light gets high over head the bite certainly slows.  Well, back to my world today and I will be guiding trout this afternoon on the Lamoille.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  have fun, Willy. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

winding down

Hi Folks, Ran the boat yesterday afternoon with clients chasing pike with the spin gear.  Still pretty pleasant outside as the cool down down look to arrive until early this week.  The water temperature was 54 to 55 degrees.  Good steady wind from the southwest that pushed the boat around a bit.  We worked the deep edges of weed beds that plunged off into deeper water.  We cast a variety of large double bladed spinner baits as well as large spinners in fire tiger and bright colors (dirty water).  No pike but we managed to catch a nice smallmouth bass and several very large yellow belly perch.  Lots of casting.  I am off to chase lake trout this morning.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Thursday, October 17, 2013

slowing down

Hi Folks, Been on the Lamoille guiding trout with the fly this week and the fishing is becoming more difficult by the day.  Water levels are still low and the temperatures are really beginning to drop.  Water temperature has been holding between 52 degrees and 54 degrees.  My clients and I have been stalking rising fish.  We have not had much success taking any trout with nymphs.  Occasional takes on dead drifted olive/black #10 heavily weighted wooly buggers.  The best fishing has been in the afternoon with fussy wild rainbows sipping tiny #22 BWO's.  I suspect that the fish have also been taking a tiny #22 midge as well.  All of the feeding has been in the foam line and lots of the fish have been cruising and eating.  Not holding steady and especially in big eddies where you can watch fish swimming in circles and eating.  All of the trout we are landing are quality wild rainbows that fight like crazy.  Patience fishing that requires selective casting and really good mending.  A couple of weeks left in the fishing season.  Get out there and enjoy before the weather turns nasty.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  have fun, Willy

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Difficult

Hi Folks, Guided the Lamoille yesterday under cloudy and rainy condtions.  Nice low light for fishing and for rising trout.  Water temperature was 55 degrees and the level is still low.  Nice afternoon hatch of #22 BWOs with a fair amount of rising fish.  However, the trout were not easy to catch at all.  It required lots of patience and excellent casting and drifting.  A percentage of the fish were cruising and eating in skinny water.  Not necessarily holding station while sipping on the little may flies. All of the rising activity was in slow pools with big in stream rocks and boulders.  We had 7 fish eat the fly yesterday and we worked for every strike.  Fun fly fishing but difficult.  Off to do it all over again today.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Quality expereince

Hi Folks, Guided on the Lamoille yesterday afternoon under bright sunny skies.  Water level is perfect for fishing currently with the flow right around the seasonal flow level.  Water temperature was 55 degrees.  Lots of junk in the water with leaves coming off the trees daily.  We nymph fished initially but spent most of the afternoon casting to fussy rising trout.  We did land right off the get go a really nice 15" male rainbow that about jumped in my clients waders.  Nice fish that fought very hard after eating a #14 rubber legged copper john nymph.  We located some very nice rising fish in slow deep pools that were littered with big in stream rocks and boulders.  Some really good pushes of water and the trout appeared to be moving around while eating.  Swimming back and forth in the pools sipping in bugs.  The rising activity got better as the light became lower and the rise forms were more steady.  The trout were not easy to catch.  We were casting #20 dry flies with a grey bodied compara dun and a #20 olive quill bodied emerger and then a #18 BWO spinner.  There were #20 BWO duns emerging as well as spinners landing back on the water.  Long accurate casting with good drag free drifts were important.  We landed 4 nice wild rainbows that all fought really well.  I will chasing trout over the next few days.  Might as well enjoy the beautiful weather and fishing while we can.  The season goes until Halloween.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, October 11, 2013

still rising

Hi Folks, Spent the afternoon guiding with the fly on the Lamoille.  Still pretty nice weather out there with air temperatures remaining in the 60's and maybe even reaching 70 today.  The foliage is pretty much gone by.  The Lamoille was up a bit yesterday from rain earlier in the week.  Water temperature's have dropped into the low to mid fifties with the cool nights and frost that are now upon us.  We found a pod of rising wild rainbow trout yesterday afternoon.  They were sipping tiny #22 BWO's off the surface and in the surface film.  We could could not get a fish to eat a nymph.  We cast a #20 BWO dry and had 4 trout eat the fly.  We landed two of the fish.  All of the rising activity has been taking place in the tail outs of slow pools.  Very subtle rise forms and not easily noticed.  As the water cools off the fish will move into slower sections of river that are lined with finger nail sized gravel.  The is the water type where the tiny olives hatch and the trout can sip them most easily.  Will be chasing trout over the weekend.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, October 7, 2013

foliage fishing










Hi Folks, Guided from my boat yesterday with spin anglers for bass and pike.  Foliage is peaked right now and looks fantastic.  Always a nice time of the year to be on the water.  We got on the water prior to the afternoon rain and fished under cloudy skies with calm conditions.  Water temperature ranged from 58 degrees to 60 degrees.  Where we found warmer water the fishing was better.  The lake we fished is influenced by a major river and the water level is down for this time of the year.  We still need rain even though we received approximately an quarter inch of wet stuff yesterday afternoon and last night.  Still could use some more rain.  We fished big weed beds and Lilly pad edges off the main channel in the lake.  Set up the boat in about 10' of water and cast to the edges of the junk.  We cast bright colored spinner baits in chartreuse and red and gold with double blades.  Water in this lake is not clear and you need to give the fish a lure that they can see.  We used a steady retrieve and the fish were following.  We caught one good sized smallmouth and numerous largemouth bass.  No pike and did not even have a follow from a northern.  We did have several small pickerel chase the lures.  Nice day on the water.  Looks like good week for fishing after the wind and rain move out today.  I will be boat and rive fishing this week.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, October 6, 2013

not easy

Hi Folks, Spent a full day on the Lamoille with aspiring fly anglers chasing trout.  The water is really low and we could use some rain.  Been awful dry for weeks now.  Maybe some rain coming in the near future.  Water temperature hovered in the high fifties all day.  A little bit of afternoon breeze seemed to keep rising activity down a bit.  There was a number of #20/#22 BWO's hatching and we found sipping trout. Earlier in the day we nymphed fished and produced a number of strikes with double nymph rigs.  The nymph of the day was a #18 BWO nymph and #20 copper john.  One of the wild rainbows we landed had a bite mark on it's body that look like it had been inflicted by a bird of prey.  We spent the afternoon casting to subtle rise forms.  You could see some larger trout cruising in back eddies sipping bugs in the surface film.  We could see their dorsal fins when they rose to eat.  Pretty cool.  Not easy fishing.  Requires long casts with long leaders and really good mending.  These fish will not eat a poorly presented fly!  Still I like the challenge.  Heard from a couple of friends that the salmon are in up north and have been for a couple of weeks.  However, sounds like the water is low and the river is getting pounded by anglers.  I am off to chase pike and walleye today in the boat.  Looks little cooler outside.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

enjoying the weather

Hi Folks, Been guiding the Lamoille the last couple of afternoons under beautiful skies and spectacular foliage.  The leaves are about peaked and looking very nice.  The water level is the Lamoille is still low and we could use some rain.  We have really enjoyed a nice stretch of weather over the last couple of weeks and it looks to continue for the next few days.  Water temperatures are remaining between 60 to 63 degrees.  Cool nights and warm days and the sun being in lower in the sky has helped maintain water temps. in our streams.  Lots of #18/#22 Olives hatching.  Pretty steady all afternoon.  If we had a cloudy damp day I can only imagine how good it could be.  So, The fishing has been good and very consistent with rising fish.  We have been fishing a lot of dry dropper rigs with a #14 olive grasshopper as the dry with a #18 olive dropper nymph.  Catching fish on both patterns.  Lots of rainbows between 7" and 12".  We did have a brown trout eat a #18 pheasant tail nymph.  We have been focusing our efforts on large primary pools and slow flats that have gravel bottom.  Rise forms have been very subtle and almost look like a drop of rain on the water.  You really have top pay attention as the fish do not work any harder than they have to when eating small flies.  Fun way to catch trout with small dry flies in slow water.  Will be chasing trout for the next few days.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  have fun, Willy

Monday, September 30, 2013

Peaking

Hi Folks, Guided fly anglers yesterday afternoon on the Lamoille.  The foliage is spectacular right now and it appears that it is nearing peak.  Great afternoon of trout fishing.  Water temperature was 63 degrees and the level is low. We could use some rain.  We fished big primary pools with dry dropper rigs and double nymph rigs.  There were some rising fish.  It appeared that they were eating #20 BWO's which hatched throughout the afternoon.  We had 14 trout eat the fly and we landed 9 wild rainbows between 7" and 13".  Had several fish take a big #14 olive hopper with rubber legs.  The flies of the day were a #18 bead headed pheasant tail and a #18 olive wire caddis.  Amazingly, we had the entire place to ourselves on such a nice day. The weather is going to remain consistent and the fishing should stay the same.  I will be chasing trout all week.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, September 29, 2013

tough one

Hi folks, Ran my boat yesterday with a fly client chasing pike and bass.  Big bright sunny day with early morning fog.  I think we should have been on the water much earlier as the sunny conditions and slight east wind made fishing tough.  Water temperature ranged from 58 degrees in the morning to almost 65 degrees by mid afternoon.  It was summer like out on the water.  We managed to land one smallmouth bass and that was it.  A decent fish but we were hoping for more.   We cast from 15' of water into 2' of water and covered lots of the lake.  Had several pike chase a bright orange/yellow bunny bugger and a red/white bunny bugger but they tunred off each time.  We sighted several large smallmouth in shallow water who were not interested in eating. Pretty frustrating.  We cast a lot of different flies and in various shapes and sizes, no luck.  Oh well, not due to a lack of effort. Guiding trout today and I am wondering how it will be with all of the sun and warm air temperatures.  We still need rain.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Fesity Rainbows

Hi Folks, Spent the day with a client on the Winooski yesterday chasing trout with the fly rods.  The river trout fishing has been excellent over the last couple of weeks.  Water temperatures are maintaining from the high fifties to the low sixties.  Our rivers are getting a little low and we could use some rain.  Cloudy start to the day yesterday that was followed by big bright sun.  Lots of cased caddis on the rocks with green boded #16 caddis preparing to hatch.  Saw a lot of #20/#22 BWO's coming off, but no rising fish.  We did not have one trout eat a dry fly yesterday.  We nymph fished the entire day with great success.  Very different fishing from the previous day when we never tied on a nymph and only dry fly fished.  We had well over 20 wild rainbows come to the fly yesterday and we landed a good portion of them.  We fished a with a #16 olive caddis with a #18 bead headed pheasant tail nymph as the dropper.  The rainbows mostly ate the pheasant tail.  As the day became brighter and we focused on some heavier water we switched to a red threaded tungsten #14 prince nymph with the pheasant tail dropper.  The good old prince produced the 17" wild rainbow that really put up a tussle.  Incredibly strong fish.  The trout we encountered yesterday did a lot of jumping.  We had to be pretty thorough with our presentation in order to get the fish to eat.  Due to the sun they did not seem overly willing to mover very far from their holding to station to eat.  Really good day on the water.  Today I will be guiding from the boat with the fly rods for pike and bass. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy