Wednesday, October 26, 2016

River Monster

Hi Folks, Visited the land of big fish yesterday morning.  Pretty chilly out there with snow falling while we fished.  Water has cooled off with the river temperature 48 degrees.  Level was great after a weekend of rain and snow.  We swung streamers that were weighted and unweighted.  For any of you lifters out there, and you know who you are, no need to dredge flies to get the salmon to elevate to eat.  We caught two nice salmon, 20" and 25" and both fish rose to eat our flies.  We lost another really good fish and caught a nice strong fighting lake run rainbow.  All on a #8 Mickey  Finn, #8 Black Ghost, and a #8 Magog Smelt.  It appeared that the fish were on the move as we hooked all of our fish in tail outs of primary pools.  The salmon were holding in front of large rocks and boulders.  Need places to rest after blasting through heavy water.  Magnificent fish that fight like crazy.  It is a real challenge to land the big ones.  Rod angles and how the fish are handled is key in landing salmon.  Halloween bring its to an end.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home, Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Going out with a gulp

Hi Folks, Guided probably my last trip of the 2016 season on Friday. Record setting season for the catfish with over 140 trips over the last 6 months.  My legs, ankles, and feet feel it.   There is still 9 days left in the fishing season so hopefully get on the water a couple more times.   Fished my home river the Lamoille and it showed that there are some really nice fish still to be caught.  Weird weather day with the afternoon starting out with air temperatures in the mid 60's and then dropping to the forties with rain by days end.  Lots of leaves in the water.  We located some rising fish and they were of the gulping variety.  You can tell the difference between a big head and jaw rising to eat versus that of a small trout.  We cast a #20 BWO Klinkhammer style fly with a #18 pheasant tail dropper nymph. We had 6 trout eat the fly and landed two fish.  The two big boys we were unable to land.  There is nothing better than watching a large fish rise in slow water gulping and then make a perfect cast and drift to get it to eat! Raining and snowing in Stowe currently.  Good for the rivers as we really need the precipitation before the ground freezes.  October has been prettyd darn good river fishign for trout.  In particular for wild rainbows.  Despite the drought, the fish look to be in good shape.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

working a beat of water

Hi Folks, Another beautiful fall day on the river guiding.  Been a nice foliage season with unseasonably warm weather and lots of sun,  Still very dry.   The Lamoille was 56 degrees.  Not too many leaves in the water.  My strategy in river fishing has always been to have a beat of water to fish.  At least 3 to 4 riffles to pools that are 1/4 to 1/2 mile  from start to finish.  It was interesting in this dynamic yesterday how only 1 riffle to pool held all of the fish. The other 3 produced zero strikes while we had well over a dozen fish eat in one riffle.  All 4 spots were good water so it was interesting to me why the trout were concentrated.  Probably the low water.  Anywho, great hatch of #20 BWOs yesterday with rising fish.  Good rising activity in the late afternoon.  We landed 4 trout yesterday with the largest fish being jumping 14" silver sided wild rainbow.  Our nymph rig was a double fly set with a #14 prince and a #20 BWO dropper nymph.  The trout were all over the little dropper.  When the fish began rising we cast a #20 BWO Klinkhammer style fly.  The fish demanded a good drift. Nothing better than watching wild trout eat tiny dry flies.  The trout fishing for October has been consistent.  Primarily been catching wild rainbows and considering the water conditions the trout look great.  Looks like rain later this week, sure hope so.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, October 16, 2016

eating the small stuff

Hi Folks, Another day on the river guiding with the fly rods.  Fished on the lower Winooski.  Water temperature was 51 to 52 degrees.  Looks like a bit of a warm up this week which should warm the river temps. slightly.  Not much for hatching bugs yesterday and the river is still incredibly low.  I was able to take clients onto a stretch of the Winooski that would not be safe wading normally under average flow regimes.  We had 9 trout eat the fly and landed 4 wild rainbows.  Our best fish was a solid 15" bow. The fly of the day was a #20 BWO nymph under a #8 olive wooly bugger.  Lots of casting and dead drifting.  We fished 3 large riffles to deep pools.  Big primary water with wintering holes. Looks like a bit of rain moving in this week.  would be nice to fish in overcast damp conditions.  Only a couple of weeks left in the season.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, October 15, 2016

starting to cool off

Hi Folks, The beat goes on with the fall foliage guiding.  The leaves are now past peak, but still looking really nice.  Lots of leaves drifting in the current that collect on flies.  Water temperatures have dropped off the last couple of days with the high in the Lamoille yesterday being 52 degrees.  Did see a hatch of tiny #22 BWOs yesterday afternoon but only one rising fish.  Pretty sunny day.  Water is still incredibly low and I am fishing in riffles and pools from positions and I have never cast from.  My client and I yesterday crossed the river in a few places where I have never crossed.  The fly of the day this week has been a #20 peacock soft hackle dropped behind a #16 olive caddis pupa.  Fun catching larger trout on tiny flies.  The rainbows we have been catching have been good looking fish. Even had a guest catch a bonus brook trout earlier in the week. Most of our takes have been coming towards the end of the drift.  The trout have been holding in the heads of pools.  As long as the nights remain cold, then the fishing will be best during midday.  Will be trout fishing again later today with guests.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Pretty good fishing

Hi Folks, Been a productive few days of guiding with the fly rods on the Lamoille watershed.  Leaves are now just past peak.  Been pretty darn nice foliage season.  Now with wind the leaves fall from the trees into the rivers and cause some issues with the your flies getting hung up in them.  A few nights of frost have dropped river temperatures.  The Lamoille and its tributaries dropped from 56 to 57 degrees to 49 to 51 degrees.  Water warmed a bit yesterday as the air temperature was 72 degrees by late day.  The water level is silly low.  I have never seen this low of water levels in 26 years of walking Vermont trout streams.  Not much for hatches the last few days.  However, the nymph fishing has been terrific.  We have been focusing on large heavy riffles and plunge pools.  I am not locating any trout in secondary water.  A #8 olive wooly bugger with a #20 BWO dropper nymph and a #12 prince nymph with a #18 BWO dropper nymph under an indicator have been the fly set ups.  Catching pretty much all wild fish.  The wild bows have looked very healthy.  Got really nice 15" rainbow yesterday that ate the #20 nymph and then we had a larger trout chase it in out of the pool.  Pretty exciting.  My clients have been hooking at least half a dozen fish each half day outing right now.  A lot of subtle takes.  As long as the air temperatures maintain during the day the trout fishing will continue to be consistent.  Looks like rain for Thursday, yea.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, October 10, 2016

weather is changing

Hi Folks, Been a busy weekend of guiding for the catfish.  Mixed it up from lake fly fishing for bass and pike to fly fishing for trout on the Lamoille watershed.  Water temperatures are really starting to drop as the winter approaches.  Cold nights now have the Lamoille and its tributaries reading water temperatures in the low to mid fifties.  The lake I guided Saturday was a pleasant 64 degrees.  The wind was a factor all wind as it swirled from various directions.  Was a challenge lake fishing on Saturday.  With the wind comes downed leaves in rivers which can be a bit of a pain.  Still seeing lots of #20 BWO hatching midday day to late afternoon as well as sporadic #14/#16 caddis mid morning to mid afternoon.  We have found sone sipping trout who have been more than willing to eat a #20 spotlight emerger and as well as a #20 BWO parachute.  Bass fishing Saturday involved lots of casting.  The fly patterns of the day were a #6 orange and yellow Lefty's Deceiver and a #6 Sculpin head bugger in yellow and white with rubber legs.  We located a good pod of largemouth bass in 1' to 3' of water among dying off weed beds.  Had a few smallmouth bass chase out of deeper water but not commit to eating the fly.  One decent pike ate a fly and promptly broke us off.  Good number of fish but no real big boys.  Trout fishing yesterday on a Lamoille tributary was very good once we located the fish.  Due to the drought, the fish were stacked up in a big plunge pool.  We did not have many fish come to the fly until we got on the bigger piece of water.  Then it was game on as we had 6 nice trout eat our nymph rig.  Landed two strong fighting fish with the best being an almost 15" wild rainbow.  The rig was a #8 olive bead head wolly bugger with a #18 olive green cooper john nymph.  Both flies got responses.  Interesting was how some of the takes were subtle and some very aggressive.  Depended on where in the pool the flies were cast as the eddy fish took the fly very gently and the the trout in the heavier water crushed it.  Certainly a lot colder today with frost warning now in effect.  Off to trout fish.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, October 7, 2016

sipping tiny bugs

 
Hi Folks, Been a great week of guiding with the leaves turning and the trout sipping tiny may flies off the surface.  Spent the last few days on the Lamoille where the water temperature has been 58 to 61 degrees.  Been midday fishing lately.  Seeing #20 BWOs hatching midday.  Cloudy conditions and low light are preferred for hatching activity.  I love seeing the little sailboats drifting in the current and disappearing into the mouth of a hungry trout.  The rise forms can be deceptive as they often looks like a small rain drop on the water.  Upon closer inspection you can often see the nose of a good sized trout sucking in a bug.  Why make a splashy rise form when you can eat so effortlessly. This type of fly fishing requires good casting and presentations as the fish typically rise in slow water.  They have a PHD in studying your drift.  We still need rain and our rivers are really low.  Foliage is at peak and as long as it does not cool off to significantly the trout fishing should remain consistent.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

wondering on the Winooski

Hi Folks, Guided mid morning to mid day on the Winooski yesterday.  Had the same anglers as the previous day with very different results.  The water is still incredibly low.  Short of hurricane type rain, I do not see our rivers rebounding this season.  Need good fall rain and a heavy snow pack this winter.  Water temperature was 58 degrees.  Not much for hatching bugs.  A few sporadic #20 BWOs but no trout responding to the small mayfly.  We fished a couple of different spots with very little action from any fish.  We missed 4 fish between 3 anglers.  Pretty much the same conditions as the previous day when the fishing was really good, interesting.  We mixed up the flies from #12 Prince nymphs to #18 BWO nymphs, to a #8 weighted wooly bugger, and a #16 olive caddis pupa.  The four strikes were on the Prince and were good whacks from the fish. All of the takes were in a heavy riffle at the head of a deep pool.  Tough to maintain focus when fishing for several hours with very few strikes.  One of things I like about fly fishing is the focus it requires to do well.  Well keep the fly in the water and good things will happen.  Off to guided the Lamoille today.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, October 3, 2016

wild Winooski

Hi Folks, Finally a day guiding fly anglers this fall with really good fishing.  We landed 14 trout of 21 we had eat the fly.  13 of those fish were wild Winooski rainbows with one 11" stocked brown in the mix.  Water temperature was 58 degrees and the level is still very low.  No bugs to speak of.  The fly of the day was a #12 Prince nymph.  We swung the nymph into the head of one large riffle and could not miss!.  Incredible how many trout were holding in one spot.  Letting the fly drift all the way through the run was important until in settled in the seam below.  We were fishing on the lower Winooski were the water is rather big.  We landed 3 legitimate measured 15" to 16" rainbows.  Good strong fish.  We tried several other fly patterns with no success.  Seemed like a good fishing day with the weather being overcast and damp.  Same pattern today and I will be on the Winooski once again.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Bouncing around

Hi Folks, Just guided two full days back to back and mixed up the fishing.  Feel like bounced all over northern Vermont.  Spent Friday morning on the lower Lamoille chasing smallmouth bass and then moved up river to cast to trout.  Water temperatures varied from 66 degrees down river to 62 degrees upstream.  Two very different pieces of water.  The bass fishing was slow as we made lots of casts to catch two smallmouth bass and very large Fall Fish.  We caught the bass on a #8 black popping bug and #6 olive cone headed bunny bugger.  We did miss a couple of fish on the surface and had a couple of strikes on a purple/black bunny bugger.  The trout fishing up stream was slow.  We had two nice eat a #12 Hare's Ear parachute but no hatches to speak of and no rising fish.  Both trout were holding in fast heavy riffles.  The smallmouth were in big deep pools.  Yesterday I rowed my drift boat all over a large lake for bass pike.  We were greeted with a consistent east wind.  Not the best situation for fishing.  Using my drift boat due to a failed starter on the motorboat.  Boats-borrow another thousand, ugh.  We did locate a mess of largemouth bass on the edges and in heavy weed beds.  We changed flies a lot.  Finally the fly of the day was a #2 White/Blue Lefty's Deceiver.  Stripped and paused drew takes from bass and lots of follows with turn offs.  Never saw a pike all day.  Challenging fishing for October in my opinion.  Water is crazy low and we really need rain.  Off to chase trout today.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, September 30, 2016

Leaves starting to pop

Hi Folks, Guided the Lamoille yesterday afternoon under big blue sunny skies.  The leaves are starting to turn and the surrounding hillsides were full of color.  Water temperature was 62 degrees and yes the water is still really low.  We had well over a dozen rainbows come to our dry fly dropper nymph rig.  We landed 4 wild bows from 7" to 12".  Our best fish of the day was lost as it wrapped up on a piece of downed wood.  It was one of the few trout that ate the #18 pheasant tail nymph.  Most of our takes were on the #12 Hare's Ear parachute.  We fished heavy pocket water.  All of the trout were holding in the heavier water. Probably a product of the low water and bright sun.  Looks like some damp cool weather coming at us, I hope so.  Off to chase river bass today.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Thursday, September 29, 2016

working hard

Hi Folks, Been working hard on my guided trips this week for fish.  Smallmouth fished out of my boat on Monday.  Water temperatures ranged from 58 to 65 degrees.  A steady south/southeast wind impacted the temperatures and the fishing.  We fly cast for most of the day and then resorted to spin fishing once my guests arm was about to fall off.  We half a dozen large smallmouth come to a #8 red/yellow deer hair bug.  The fish were holding on drop offs next to large weed beds in 12' to 15' of water.  When we started casting a 4" motor oil Senko on the spin rod we were getting strikes every other cast.  Landed a dozen feisty bass.  Guided a couple of trout trips the next few days where water temperature on the Lamoille was 61 degrees and on the Winooski 63 degrees.  Both rivers are really low.  Been seeing a fair amount of olive caddis larvae on rocks and decent numbers of #14-#16 caddis hatching in the morning and egg laying in the late afternoon.  We did locate a nice brown trout rising the other morning and got him to eat a #16 x-caddis and then he promptly snapped the tippet.  We have been casting dry dropper rigs with caddis and #12 adams parachutes as the dry and #18 pheasant tail and olive caddis pupa as the dropper fly.  Most of our fish have been eating the dropper nymph.  Been making lots of casts to get fish to eat.  The low water and warmer than average temperatures have made the fishing challenging.  We really need rain.  Off to chase trout today.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, September 26, 2016

Fish fry


Hi Folks, Was an interesting last few days of guiding and fishing.  Big cold front moved into town with rain on Friday.  Every bit of rain helps but we need more.  Cold outside now with our first frost warnings of the season.  Trout fished the Friday and Saturday and it was pretty darn slow.  The fish did not seem to be too interested.  Water temperatures slowly dropped into the low to mid fifties.  I was on the main stem of the Winooski and a couple of tribs. The water levels were up but the clarity was fine.  Did not see any bug activity.  We got a couple of misguided fish to eat a #8 olive and black wooly bugger in slow deep pools.  On Sunday I change directions and went still water fishing for lake trout.  The surface temperature of the lake I was on was 67 degrees.  Stiff cold northwest wind.  We got 3 bites from lake trout and decided to change directions.  I think the lake trout are in spawning mode and the bite is a bit more challenging presently.  So, we went caught a mess of beautiful yellow perch for a fish fry.  A lot nice yellow beliies that we located in 25' to 30' of water over grass beds.  The electronics were really helpful.  The moment we drifted off the grass beds we lost the bite.  We caught the fish on smelt imitation swim baits on rods that were fiberglass and spooled with braided line.  Not the target species but I have to say some of the nicest looking perch I have seen in a long time.  Off to run my boat today for smallmouth.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Big fly little trout, tiny fly big trout

Hi Folks, Spent yesterday morning fly fishing on a Winooski tributary for native brook trout and wild brown trout.  Water temperature was 60 degrees and the water is low.  We really need rain.  Still warm and muggy with somewhat cool nights.  Maybe some rain on Friday.  Worked a dry dropper rig with a #12 Ausable Wulff and a #18 BWO dropper.  Interestingly enough of the 7 landed brook trout and 1 brown trout, all of the big fish ate the dropper nymph and the smaller fish ate the dry fly.  The trout were aggressive as I located fish in every spot the fly was cast.  The takes on the dropper looked like a rising fish as the trout exploded onto the surface as they came up on the tiny dropper.  All of the trout were in full on spawning colors.  Love this time of year for fly fishing.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  have fun, Willy

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Enjoying the Lamoille

HI Folks, Guided a large party on the Lamoille yesterday morning with the fly rods.  Water temperature was 60 degrees and the water level was below the seasonal average.  Rained some last night and is damp today.  Lots of #14/#16 caddis hatching.  There were a bunch of caddis already hatched out along the banks of the river.  Egg laying typically takes place in the late afternoon.  We did find a few rising fish.  Got them to eat a #14 Adams parachute.  Of the 6 anglers myself and my other guide took out, everyone landed a fish.  All rainbows and a mix of stocked and wild fish. We caught a percentage of fish with a dropper below the parachute.  A #18 pheasant tail and #16 caddis pupa worked well.  We located all of our fish in big riffles and pools.  Looks like a nice weather pattern for fishing and the trout fishing is only getting better.  Interestingly, the stocked trout looked like they had been through the ringer, big heads and skinny bodies.  A sign of thermal stress.  Fly patterns currently are #14/#16 caddis (goddard, x-caddis, and henryville special), #8-#10 olive and black wooly buggers, #18/#20 BWO's, #12/#14 prince nymphs,#14 bug bugs, #8 mickey finn, #8/#10 black ghost, #14-#20 ants, and #12/#14 green bodied hoppers.  Just remember it is not always about the fly but more about the presentation.  Trout like to eat a good drift!!!!  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, September 17, 2016

streamer fishing

Hi Folks, Who said fishing guides don't like to fish?  Just dont always have the chance  during the season when you guide everyday.  I do not fish when guiding except with my eyes.  If I am fishing with clients, then I certainly would not be paying attention to them.  So, yesterday I got the opportunity to cast a fly on a Winooski trib. with a couple of friends.  Water temperature was 58 degrees.  Cool nights lately have dropped our water temperatures down enough now that the trout fishing is game on.  The water is still very low and we need rain. There was a small brook that dumps into the river we were fishing yesterday that was bone dry.  Not much for hatching bugs so we resorted to casting streamers.  I did not have much luck yesterday myself my friend Brian might mouse mouse carpenter and FX both caught wild trout streamer fishing.  I am the official photographer.  We we worked buggers in plunge pools and heavy riffles to draw interest from trout.  Casting into the heavy water and stripping back was the ticket.  The best fish of the day was a beautiful wild 20" female brown trout that ate a white and grizzly hackle wooly bugger.  A slim profiled muddler worked well also.  Streamer fishing is not always my first choice but extremely effective in getting a trout's interest.  Looking forward to fall and some good trout and salmon fishing.  Off to go to guide trout.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Fishing in the rain, fishing in the rain

Hi Folks, Guided a spin trip for smallmouth in a local river yesterday morning and then went fly fishing myself for trout.  Nice to see rain and I did not mind getting wet.  Still need more rain but anything at this point is good.  Nights have been cool and water temps. are dropping.  The smallmouth river was 67 degrees and the small stream I fly fished was 59 degrees.  Good steady wind yesterday.  We landed 4 smallmouth using 3" crawfish Senkos.  Most of the takes were subtle and we missed a few fish due to the wind and our inability to be able to watch the line in the drift.  Tricky when the line is being blown around and you get a visual on it when the fish are picking up the rubber.  All of the fish were in deeper pools in and around large rocks and downed wood.  The trout fishing was pretty darn good.  Worked a few holes looking for a large brown trout.  Caught 5 brook trout with the largest being 10" and 1 wild brown that was 12".  Caught the fish on a #12 orange bodied stimulator with a #18 pheasant tail dropper nymph.  The brown and larger brook trout ate the dropper nymph.  Fun in clear water watching trout come to the fly.  Polarized glasses are really helpful.  Coming into my favorite time of the year to fish.  Chasing trout the next few days.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Preparing for Fall

Hi Folks, Like the feel to the air out there currently.  Could the heat be over and fall is truly on the way?? Hope so, we need more rain but we did get a heck of a storm Sunday morning that puffed up our rivers.  They have all come back down and are fishable.  Water temperatures the last couple of days have ranged from 60 to 66 degrees.  The Lamoille was 65 degrees Saturday morning.  I traveled north after guiding Saturday and fly fished the upper CT.  Tail water release where the water was a pleasant 61 to 62 degrees.  Meet up with some old college friends.  Love getting together with friends from the past and getting to hang out on a trout stream.  Good camaraderie.  The trout fishing seems to be coming around.  The fish I am seeing have certainly have experienced some summer stress.  Big heads and skinny bodies.  Catching fish with tiny #18/#20 yellow/tan caddis pupa.  Also, a blind fished #16/#18 crystal ant has been very effective.  There are lots of terrestrials presently from green/olive hoppers to flying ants.  The smallmouth fishing should go off now with the cooling nights and lower sun angle.  Looking forward to some landlocked salmon fishing.  We need rain!!!  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, September 10, 2016

getting a little wet

Hi Folks, Guided from the canoe with the the fly rods Thursday night.  Actually got rained on for a bit.  On and off heavy showers.  Still not enough precipitation as it is really dry out there.  Surface temperature was 71 degrees.  We worked a #8 black popper and and #6 olive bunny streamer.  Landed 3 smallmouth and 1 nice pickerel.  The pickerel came off a large weed bed and we watched is swirl on the fly and then return and suck it in.  Fought pretty good.  It was at least 2' long and did not break us off as we had it hooked on the top of the mouth away from all of its sharp teeth.  The smallmouth bit started out well and then the rain moved in and shut it down.  No real rhyme or reason to it.  The fish we caught were all holding on large points and rocky islands/humps that were adorned with weed.  Pretty aggressive strikes initially and the last fish literally sipped in the fly like trout.  Weather effects fishing and it is matter of only working with it.  Off to chase trout today.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy