Tuesday, May 31, 2011

hey! the sun

Hi Folks, Put the boat in the water early am today guiding bass and northern.  Water was extremely clear even though we have received over 3.5" of rain in the last week.  Surface temperature was 64 degrees in the morning and the sun shined brightly all day.  A little north breeze, but not enough to influence anything.  We pounded shoreline with poppers and sliders for smallmouth and largemouth bass.  You could see some abandoned spawning beds as well as occupied spawning beds.  Spotted a lot of smallmouth, largemouth, and panfish cruising in really skinny water.  Tough fish to catch and long casts were required due to the clarity of water and lack of wind.  Trust me, the fish can see our big profile in a boat with conditions like today.  We left the spawners alone.  We ended up landing 7 smallmouth on surface flies.  We changed directions and cast for northern pike in deeper water off forming weeds bed adjacent to good depth transition.  Landed two decent northern between 22" and 28" as well as one of the largest black crappie I have ever seen.  Red and orange, red and white, and black and chartruse all drew interest.  Red and orange has been the best color combo this year for me while guiding.  Will be in the boat early am.  The Lamoille and Winooski are stuffed presently, though some small streams looked clear but high.  One of these days we will trout fish in the rivers.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Monday, May 30, 2011

smallmouth and wet weather

Hi folks, The fishing gods were shining on me once again yesterday as I was able to take my clients out on my boat without getting rained on.  We fly fished on a large body of water for smallmouth bass with the fly rods.  Surface temperature was 61 degrees in the morning with overcast skies and very little wind.  We stayed to shoreline cover and worked large rock points and rocky shorelines.  The first cast of the day produced a 12" smallie on a frog pattern popper.  You never know how the fishing will be from the point on, you could catch a lot fish or not see another.  We fell in between.  We saw few other decent sized bass come to the fly as well as several larger pumpkin seed.  We changed flies from surface poppers to a bright chartruse  subsurface snook fly  and started to see large fish after the fly.  The fish of the day was a egg laden female who measured slightly over 17"  Fly fishing can enjoyed on a wide variety of species is not only for trout.  Our rivers are still high and dirty from 3 days of thunderstorms.  Looks like the weather is going to change and dry up.  In the mean time I will continue using my motorboat for guide trips catching bass and pike.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

smallmouth the fly

Sunday, May 29, 2011

cating flies to pan fish

Hi folks, Guided a full day yesterday on small lake where we waded and fly fished.  Surface temperature was 63 degrees and there was a slight south breeze.  Still pretty muggy and warm and we were able to dodge the thunderstorms once again.  With a large group and our rivers being unfishable wading a lake was a good option.  We were able to walk out on a firm bottom and cast parallel to the shoreline and out to the first drop off.  Ever notice that shore anglers cast as far out into a lake as possible and that boat anglers cast as far to the shore as possible?  Anyhow, we had a lot fun tugging on pumpkin seed, rock bass, blue gill, and perch.  We did not catch any northern or smallmouth.  For beginner fly anglers it was a lot of fun and a great way to learn about casting, working a surface fly, hooking a fish, and playing a fish with a fly rod.  Never underestimate what lurks in the shallow margins of a lake, especially this time of the year. You do not always need a boat to catch fish.  Off to chase smallmouth this morning.  Hopefully, we can dodge the weather again and I glad I have a boat.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, May 28, 2011

fly fishing from the boat

Hi Folks, Got away with another guided trip yesterday prior to the massive thunderstorms.  Glad I have a motorboat during these times when are rivers are not even approachable.  We have received almost 2.5" of rain at my house in Stowe over the last 48 hours.  Stream fishing is not an option presently.  The lake we fished was 63 degrees on the surface and there was a steady breeze from the north.  We worked shoreline weed beds in about 5' to 10' of water.  We made a lot casts for 2 northern pike we landed on the fly.  The color of the day was red and white and chartruse and white.  Missed a couple of takes from pike and also landed some large greedy yellow perch.  Letting the fly sink to the bottom and working  back with long slow strips produced strikes.More thunderstorms in order for today so pay attention to the weather and be safe.  I am off to guide pike and smallies once again.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  have fun, Willy

Friday, May 27, 2011

more smallmouths

Hi Folks, Guided yesterday midday prior to the torrential thunderstorms that swept through the area.  We fly fished a river that dumps into a lake and is influenced by lake run run fish like rainbow trout, brook trout, brown trout, smallmouth bass, suckers, fall fish, and yellow perch.  Water temperature was 59 degrees and slightly above its seasonal average flow.  Clarity was decent and we saw a few #14 Grey fox mayflies hatching.  No rising fish.  We dead drifted #10 olive wooly buggers and swept a bead headed white winged zonker through the primary pools.  No trout, but we did land a 17" smallmouth and a 12" smallmouth.  Loads of fun on a 4wt.  Unfortunately the big rain last night (1" at my house in Stowe) has shut down our rivers for a few days.  Looking forward to May ending and all of the damn rain.  Will be guiding all weekend and it looks like the focus will be lakes and ponds.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

perch, pike, smallmouth, and the rusty spinner

Hi Folks, Really  have been mixing it up the last couple of days.  Some old school and catching different types of fish on the fly.  Remember fly fishing is not all about trout, merely some of its origins.  Visited a local lake river system with a friend the 2 days ago in search of big yellow perch for fish sandwiches.  Nothing better than garden hackle for catching fish to eat.  Water was 60 degrees, a little off color, with a nice early morning mist.  Did see a Bald Eagle, pretty cool. We used light spinning rods with small #10 red octopus hooks and bloobs of worms from our vegetable gardens.  Long casts and then working the bait back towards the bank from a deeper channel produced a wild rainbow, a native brookie, a sucker, a fall fish, a smallmouth bass, and yes enough large yellow perch for fish sandwiches. By the way, we did not hook anything deeply and were able to release the trout and bass with out any issues.  Today I guided in my boat all day with a very good father son fly angler combination.  We started the morning in pursuit of northern pike and spent the afternoon chasing prespawn smallmouth bass.  Bright colored flies were the order of the day.  Red and Orange and Red and Yellow seducers and deceivers worked well on the pike.  Chartruse seemed to be the color for the smallies.  Beautiful weather day with early morning clouds and afternoon bright sun.  Water temperatures ranged from 60 to 64 degrees by late afternoon.  Nice mix of fish today and we even caught a large bullhead on a fly (first for me as a guide), yellow perch, and sunfish.  Tonight I attended the Lamoille River Anglers Association meeting on the Lamoille River with Fish and Wildlife Comissioner Pat Berry.  The Lamoille was twice it s normal flow for this time of the year and the water temperature was 62 degrees.  Water clarity was good with a Hendrickson Spinner fall and numbers of #16 egg laying caddis.  Found a rising fish in the main current of the tailout of a giant primary pool.  Eating spinners at dusk.  So, #12 rusty spinner and little patience produced a beautiful jumping wild rainbow.  Good day of fishing.  Off to do it again tomorrow.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-natives at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, May 23, 2011

big smallmouth

first smallmouth of the year

Hi Folks, Guided from my boat yesterday on a local body of water.  We were fly fishing for northern pike.  Good breeze from the south and the surface temperature of the water was 61 degrees.  The water color is tanin at this lake and generally not gin clear.  Bright colored flies were in order.  We cast a 8wt. outfit with a floating line and a leader with a wire shock tippet.  The fly of the day was red and yellow 1/0 deceiver.  Right off the get go we hooked a large northern in the 30" class.  Saw the pike take the fly.  Really impressive seeing the big head and mouth open up and inhale the deceiver.  Unfortunately the fish was lost at the boat after a pretty good battle.  Landed a smaller northern with the same fly pattern.  The fish of the day was 20" (measured) smallmouth bass.  Big ripe female who looked like she had been around the block.  Pretty funny that the first smallmouth of the season I see caught is a trophy.  Setting the bar high.  We fished in fairly shallow water working shoreline cover with downed wood and new growth weed beds.  Anyway, lots of casting and lots of fun.  Off to guide with the boat again today.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

using the net

Saturday, May 21, 2011

fish with shoulders

Hi Folks, Guided with the boat today for northern pike.  Still lots of crazy weather with morning showers and thunderstorms.  Cleared a bit where we were fishing in the kingdom and the wind was calm early and then blew steady form the north for most of the day.  Even saw the sun for awhile this afternoon. Water temperature was 60 to 61 degrees.  The fishing was slow in the morning with no action or even a follow by pike.  Not that unusual for the spring time.  After lunch the fish cranked up a bit and began to show themselves.  We landed a 32" and 28" female pike that had some piss and vinegar.  You could see that they were post spawn from their stretched out bellies and the battle wounds from the spawn on their flanks.  Had several other large northern chase to the boat only to say "no thanks" at that last minute.  Certainly helpful to have a net on larger pike as they tend to have broad shoulders some nasty teeth.  The color of the day was red and white.  Classic color combo in the world of pike angling. We saw every northern in less than 5' of water over dark bottoms with new weed growth and fallen timber.   Our rivers took another beating today as everyone I crossed or drove along was filthy dirty and high.  Piking again tomorrow.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, May 20, 2011

lots of bugs

Hi Folks.  With all of the crazy weather I have been driving around and checking out rivers and streams.  The Lamoille was 56 degrees today at 11:00am above Morrisville.  The river is still above its seasonal average, but is clearing up fairly well.  I could see river bottom throughout the river.  There was an incredible number of egg laden #14 Hendrickson spinners this am dancing up and down the river.  Too bad the water was high.  Trout do not tend to expend unnecessary energy and are not generally going to rise in heavier flows.  I checked several back eddies where I have seen fish rise in the past and saw no takers.  Did see some #14 grannoms hatching as well as #14 little brown stoneflies.  Lots of thunderstorms about so watch out for lightening.  Off to fish for pike out of the boat.  Should be fun.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Thursday, May 19, 2011

record wet spring

Hi Folks, start building your arc because has the rain has not let up.  Received almost 2.5" of rain at my house in Stowe since last Saturday.  Not a lot of options for river fishing right now.  I know a few small streams that are clear that have wild rainbows that can be fished and the water temperature has been around 50 degrees.  The Lamoille and Winooski are still very high and dirty.  Lake fishing is an option and I am guiding for pike over the next few days.  Getting tired of canceling and postponing trips due to the weather.  Good time to have a motorboat.  Weather looks to improve over the weekend and air temperatures are certainly warming up which in turn will warm up the water.  On the bright side, all of the water should make for a good June.  Hard to imagine that we will have a problem with low water this season.  Patience with the weather like patience in fishing.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Replace your felt boots.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, May 13, 2011

Hendrickson hatch and rising fish

Hi Folks, Been guiding the last couple of days on the Lamoille and one of its tributaries.  Found water temperatures from the mid fifties to sixty degrees.  Been awful sunny and air temperatures have been in the seventies.  River levels are at a seasonal flow on the Lamoille watershed.   The main stem on the Winooski is still significantly above the average flow for this time of the year.  Water clarity was excellent.  So, saw a decent hatch of #14 Hendrickson mayflies today and few trout responding to the surface.  First rising fish I have seen this year.  Also, found a few #14 brown stoneflies hatching and yes, damn black flies.  Been fishing midday starting out with #14 Hendrickson nymphs and #12 and #14 hare and coppers.  The trout were rising sporadically from 2pm to 5pm.  Not a bad idea to stay on the water until dark to see a spinner drop.  Anywho, we had 3 wild trout eat nymphs today and 3 wild trout take a #14 compara dun and #14 parachute.  Might want to get on our rivers tomorrow as the weather for the next few days looks wet.  We could receive significant rain.  Walleye fishing is going on in our lower rivers and pike fishing is hot right now.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, May 8, 2011

improving conditions and pike on the fly

Hi Folks, Spent the afternoon on my boat chasing northern pike on the fly.  Fished a small lake south of Stowe.  Slight breeze from the north and overcast skies for most of the day.  Surface temperatures were between 50 and 52 degrees.  We worked the shallow parts of the lake with a soft bottom and new growth weeds.  Water depth ranged from 2' to 8'.  The fly of the day was 1/0 yellow and red deceiver.  Letting the fly sink and then slow long strips produced strikes.  We landed 4 pike between 18" and 26".  A floating line is fine but a sinking line can be good for keeping the fly in the strike zone longer.  The upcoming weather week is looking good and water temperatures should improve and warm slowly.  Trout rivers are looking better and things have settled a bit with clarity improving daily.  Just need more warmer weather to heat up the water and really turn on the fish.  Pike fishinng will remain good for the next few weeks and wallleye season is now open.  Lake Champlain is at a record level with many boat ramps being under water.  Look for #16 Blue Quills, #14 Hendricksons,and still a few #14 brown stoneflies as well as #12/#14 craneflies.  Nymphing will be the way to go our rivers until things heat up.  Will be chasing pike this week and exploring some trout water.  Remember that felt is banned and clean your equipment in order to keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Hi Folks, You would think it was still winter here in Stowe Vermont.  Snow in the higher elevation yesterday and today.  Lots of rain over the last week as I have recorded almost 2" at my house.  Our rivers are up and the larger streams like the Winooski and Lamoille are unfishable.  Dirty, cold, and high.  I took temperatures on several rivers the other day and did not find any water temperatures above 47 degrees.  Really like to see the water temperature eclispe 50 degrees if not 55 degrees coming out of winter.  Seems like the resident river trout do not really turn on until the water temperatures maintain in the 50's for a few days.  Lake fishing is an option though water levels are high and temperatures have not warmed very quickly.  Things will only get better and the weather for the next week looks more spring like and warming.  Remember to take off the felt, clean your gear, and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy