Sunday, November 1, 2015

Thats a wrap Jack!

Hi Folks, Guided my last trip of the 2015 trout/bass season yesterday afternoon.  Halloween is the last day of the Vermont trout season for large percentage of our inland trout waters.  Still some waters to fish but it can become pretty challenging with the quickly cooling water temperatures.  The river we fished yesterday was pretty slow.  Water temperature was 41 degrees and the water was high and clear. There was a hatch of #22 midge that came off pretty well, but I did not see any fish respond to the tiny bug.  We swung streamers without any response.  I can't say I was surprised with the results after reading the water temperature.
I would like to thank everyone who hired me this past season as it was my busiest season to date in 21 years of guiding Vermont waters.  I will be working on newsletter for my website and Facebook that will be a year end summary of the past season.  I am off to do a little hunting and prepare to for ice fishing season.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, October 30, 2015

Nearing the end

Hi Folks, Ran north yesterday morning to the river of big fish to chase landlocked salmon with the fly rods.  Water level was below the seasonal average flow which was had to believe after all of the rain we received on Tuesday night into Wednesday.  All of the rivers in and around Stowe were pretty high and on the way up the north there was flood water in farm fields.  For whatever reason, the river was in fine shape and the temperature was 45 degrees.  The salmon are in full on spawning mode.  I saw a 25" plus female rolling on her bed, pretty impressive.  Left her alone and only watched.  Did manage to land 3 10" to 12" juvenile salmon that I think were all wild.  No clipped fins.  Also, caught a lake run brook trout that was about 12".  Every fish ate a either a #12 double tungsten stone fly nymph or a #16 olive wire caddis.  Did see a angler land a nice 21" plus male salmon on a #12 double golden tungsten stone fly nymph.  She told me that she had a ton of casts over that spot prior to the fish eating.  Sound like late season salmon fishing to me.  The fish had a big hook jaw as it was probably seeking out a female to pair up with.  Great season on the river of big fish and good to see that fishery appears to be doing very well.  The last two days of the season and I have a trip tomorrow and it will be a wrap.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Hi Folks, Guided up on the river of big fish with the fly rods yesterday morning.  Pretty chilly start to the day with air temps. in the 20's.  The water temperature was 42 degrees and low.  The Landlocked Salmon are now in full on spawning mode.  You can see them in the river on gravel.  Big females with aggressive males holding behind the hens jockeying for position.  You can see the females twisting and turning as they roll to lay eggs.  We leave the females alone.  We swung streamers and had a pretty good fish whack a #10 Mickey Finn on the swing.  Happened pretty early in the morning.  They come out of no where (in front and behind big rocks) to eat streamers.  After that, we could not move a fish on a streamer so we resorted to nymphing.  We hooked two good salmon a #14 prince nymph and lost both fish.  Had a few other strikes but the fishing was not fast and furious.  Pretty tough getting them to eat when they are spawning and I am not a big fan of foul hooked fish.  Does not count if you don't get them to eat the fly and remove from their mouth!  The state should probably close this fishery down in mid October to let the salmon do their thing unmolested.  Three days left in the season and I have two more days on the water.  Been a good October.  Remember to clean your gear and leave the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, October 25, 2015

winding down

Hi Folks,  Had a fun afternoon yesterday guiding on the Lamoille with aspiring fly anglers.  Water is really low.  Not good heading into winter.  We need more rain as the river is significantly lower than the seasonal average flow.  Water temperature was a chilly 44 degrees.  No hatching bugs and very few to be found on and under rocks.  Everything is pretty much hatched out for the season.  Lots of leaves in the water that can play tricks on you when drifting your fly.  We landed on fish yesterday, but it was a real beauty.  A nice 16" female brown trout that appeared to be full of roe.  On her way to spawn as we were fishing just below a tributary that is home to many spawning trout.  We got her eat a dead drifted #10 olive/black wooly bugger with a tungsten bead.  With the current water conditions, it probably not a bad idea to give the fish something big and easy to eat.  good time of yea to dead drift a streamer or even breakout a sinking tip or line to keep presentations down in the water column.  As the water cools the trout will  not be willing to move as far to eat a fly as they were apt to a month ago. One week to go in the season and I will be trout and salmon fishing with clients.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, October 19, 2015

ice in the guides

Hi Folks, Nice chilly day on the water yesterday as I guided a spin angler for trout on the Lamoille.  You know it is cold when ice forms in the guides of your fishing rod.  There was some ice in sections of back water areas off the river.  The walking in waders on the banks was a bit treacherous with a bit of snow and frost on the ground.  Water temperature was in the low forties and the level was slightly below the seasonal average flow.  Lots of leaves and junk in the foam line that catches your lures and flies.  We landed two very nice trout yesterday.  I beautiful 14" brown trout and 1 13" rainbow.  Both were wild fish that ate a small brook trout imitation Rapala.  We focused on slow deep water pools that had large boulders situated along the bottom.  Both fish elevated from the large rocks to eat the lure.  Lots of casts but worth it to catch two nice quality trout late in the season.  Looks like a bit of warmer weather  on the way with rain for midweek.  Still have few trips left and will be chasing trout and salmon.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Fly fishing in the snow

Hi Folks, Had a group of aspiring fly anglers yesterday afternoon on the Lamoille.  Was a cold day to fish with day time air temperatures barely exceeding 40 degrees.  The river temperature was 47 degrees and the level was jus below the seasonal average flow.  A few good snow squalls pushed through during our time on the water which was interesting.  Lots of leaves and junk in the water now as the foliage descends to the ground. A decent hatch of #22 BWOs, but not trout responding to the tiny may fly on the surface.  We fished slowed sections of river as the fish tend to hold in these areas as the water cools.  We swung buggers, bunny fur streamers and small #20 BWO nymphs with not a lot of action.  We missed 4 trout that ate the tiny may fly nymph.  Always slow it down when it cools.  Looks like things are winding down as the rivers cool off.  Any warmer days over the next week will be the ideal time to get on a river and chase river trout.  Not so sure the water temperature will exceed the magic number 50 degrees again this season.  Trout fishing again today and it will require some warm long johns.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Keep Jumping

Hi Folks, Guided the afternoon on the river of big fish yesterday.  Nice day with midl air tempratures and over cast skies.  Water level is slightly above the seasonal average flow.  Water temperature was 57 degrees.  A few rain showers greeted us at day's  end.  I have to say the Salmon fishing has been very good over the last 10 days.  Lots of fish in the river and lots of big ones.   It was interesting that as we arrived at the river we had multiple anglers tell us that the there were lots of fish around.  The river gets lots of pressure especially in the early morning.  Not many folks around in the afternoon.  We stuck to swinging streamers and change flies lots.  The most productive patterns were on the smaller size #10's and in shades of green and black.  The largest landed fish of the day hammered a swung streamer and then jumped 7 times.  We hooked it in a heavy riffle and it put up a great fight before succumbing to the net.  We hooked another beast on a nymph rig and client knew right away that we were not going to land that fish.  Our 4x tippet would not hold and broke about 2" above the #16 olive caddis nymph.  Nymphing can be productive for salmon, but holding these big fish on light tippets is tricky and I am not a big fan of leaving flies in a fish's face.  We did hook several other smaller fish under 20", but we travel to the river of big fish to land large salmon.  Salmon fishing should remain good for the next couple of weeks.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  have fun, Willy

Monday, October 12, 2015

Oh Baby Baby

Hi Folks, Guided on the river of big fish yesterday morning.  Due to the crazy amount of fishing pressure we left Stowe at 5am to get on the water in the dark.  Water temperature was 54 degrees and the water level was slightly above the seasonal average flow.  We swung streamers all morning as nymph rigs under indicators were not effective.  We had 4 salmon elevate to our swung presentations and hooked and landed two real beauties over 20" .  A female that was just over 20" and a really fiesty male who was all of 22".  Both salmon were silver fish that appeared to be fresh into the river.  The male salmon gave my client everything you could  hope for from of these fish.  A great take of the fly, then proceeded to jump and tail walk across the pool.  These fish like to get air time.  We used 6wt. rods with 2x tippet.  You could put some pressure on these fish to keep them in the hole.  It can be difficult to hook big landlocked salmon, but even more challenging landing them in heavy water.  I was pretty happy for my guest as he has spent some time from Maine to Vermont attempting to land a 20" plus landlocked salmon.  Yesterday was his day.  Looking forward to the next couple of weeks of fishing with BWO hatches and salmon fishing, things showed be fun.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, October 11, 2015

small flies and wild bows

Hi Folks, Guided on the Lamoille yesterday afternoon.  Big cool sunny day with air temperatures not eclipsing 50 degrees.  The water temperature was 48 degrees and my feet could feel it.  The water level was at a spring flow from the rain the previous day, but the clarity was  just fine.  One of the dilemmas this time of the year are floating leaves that the fly always catches.  We landed 5 rainbows with 4 of the fish being hard fighting silver bullet wild rainbows and one stocked trout that fought like a wet paper towel.  We missed 3 fish.  The method of the day was to swing a double nymph rig consisting of a #16 olive wire caddis with a #20 BWO nymph dropper.  Every fish eat the BWO nymph with the exception of the stocked trout who ate the caddis.  All of the takes came in riffles with the flies being swung to the end of the drift.  For the most part the takes were pretty subtle.  Interestingly, we did get a single take dead drifting an olive wooly bugger or swinging a white zonker.  Not much for hatching bugs yesterday as did see a few sporadic #16 cadddis about but no rising activity.  Water is cooling off so afternoon is the way now on a trout stream.  I am off to guide on the river of big fish. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Peak, olives, and gulping trout

Hi Folks, guided on the lower Winooski yesterday afternoon under cloudy skies with occasional rain showers.  Perfect fall fishing weather.  With cool damp October days come big hatches of tiny #20-#24 BWO's.  They come off mid afternoon and typically in areas where the stream gravel is fingernail sized.  They love to collect in big giant eddies and large trout love to swim in circle and gobble up the little may fly.  Water temperature was 51 degrees and the level was up a bit from the 1/2" of rain we received the previous night and in the morning.  It looks like all of our rivers came up even more last night as the effect of the rain was slow to raise our river levels. We swung cone head muddler minnows in yellow and black with a #20 BWO dropper attached.  All of our fish eat the tiny nymph. Had one really big rainbow chase the streamer right to our feet only to turn off.  We hooked 7 trout and landed 3 fish.  Once you hook a trout on tiny fly it typically does not come off unless your tippet breaks.  The trick is getting the fish stuck.  We located several nice fish rising in eddies gulping BWOs.  Really tough fish to catch as you need to feed your fly line in the eddy to get a proper presentation and then time the trout as it swims in a circle feeding, good fun.  The rain has only helped our streams as it moves fish around.  Fishing is best now in mid afternoon unless you are chasing lake run fish.  The foliage looks to be pretty much at peak.  The next few days should be good fishing as things warm a bit.  For those who are lake fishing currently, pay attention to bird hunters as duck and goose season is now open.  Birds mostly move early and late so work with the hunters and fish midday.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The river of big fish and candy apple bobbers

Hi Folks, Ran up north with a couple fly fishing friends yesterday to chase landlocked salmon.  The foliage is darn close to peak in the northern part of Vermont. Beautiful day that started out pretty cool.  Water temperature was 56 degrees and the flow was up.  This particular river has one of the best runs of large of landlocked salmon in New England.  The rain from last week puffed up the river and the flows currently are ideal for moving fish.  Between 3 of us we hooked a dozen large adult salmon.  The largest fish of the day was 27" with lots of salmon in the 18" to 22" range.  The fish were all over streamers yesterday.  We swung a variety of smelt patterns and attractor streamers like a Mickey Finn and an Orange Blossom.  It turned out that the smaller patterns in dark colors were the must productive.  I did well with a black and green feather wing streamer and a black marabou streamer with a gold body. We did swing a few nymphs as there was a good number of #14/#16 caddis hatching throughout the morning.  I lost a couple of salmon on a #16 olive wire caddis.  One break off and one tossed fly.  4x tippet is too light on these big fish.  We were using 1x and 2x with the streamers so you could put the mustard to these strong jumping salmon.  I don't think there was a salmon that did not jump at least half dozen times when hooked.  The funniest fish of the day was the apple bobber salmon.  I was fishing a hole with a big eddy and in it was what appeared to be a apple spinning around.  However, when I hooked it by accident, low and behold there was a 2' salmon attached below that proceeded to jump and fight.  I lost the fish at the bank, but did recover the flies, including the 1 in its mouth and the bobber.  Pretty wild.  We also recovered some broken line that had 4 flies attached with lead weight.  Very illegal and looked like a snagging rig to me.  Let me tell you, every fish we hooked yesterday ate the fly!!!!!!   No need to snag and foul hook these beautiful creatures.  Tight line swinging the fly was the method and the takes were solid.  So, I will be trout fishing and chasing salmon for the next few weeks.  Season ends October 31.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Foliage season

Hi Folks, Leaves are starting to look pretty nice in the Stowe area.  Not so sure they will hang around long after all the of the dry weather we experienced this summer.   Guided two trips yesterday on the Lamoille watershed.  A cold Friday night really dropped water temperatures.  We got a good amount of rain last Tuesday and Wednesday that really puffed up our rivers.  It was really needed and I did not mind missing a few days in order to allow things to settle down.  The Lamoille trib. I was on yesterday morning was 50 degrees and the main stem was 54 yesterday afternoon.  The morning fishing was a bit slow.  I think it is important to let the water warm up this time of the year and fish the afternoon.  We did get a couple of trout to eat a nymph, but we made lots of casts. The afternoon was a different game. A massive number of egg laying #14/#16 olive bodied dark winged caddis were flying up the Lamoille late in the day. Found a good pod of rising wild rainbows and had some fun with dry flies.  We cast a #16 Goddard Caddis and a #16 olive bodied X-Caddis.  The trout ate the fly on the swing and on the dead drift. The fish were located on long slow flats that held lots of finger nail sized gravel.  You could see the trout eat in the film and come right out of the water to eat the caddis.  With some water in our streams it has allowed some fish to move out of summer holding areas i.e. spawning salmon and brown trout.  We could still use some more rain, but I can work with what we have currently and next couple of weeks should be good time to be on a Vermont trout stream.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Starting to like nice out there

Hi Folks, Fly fished for smallmouth with clients yesterday afternoon out of my motorboat.  Beautiful afternoon with air temperatures around 70 degrees. The surface temperature was 68 degrees. The foliage is beginning to change and looked pretty nice on the water yesterday.  When we began the day the lake was flat, by the end of day we had rain showers move in and wind pick up from the south.  We fished the surface the entire afternoon with lots of action.  We had well over 20 smallmouth come to the fly.  However, most of the fish were not large adult bass but the young guys.  Pretty fun watching the fish rise in the clear water to eat the fly.  The pattern of the afternoon was setting the boat up in deep water 20' to 30' and casting at sharp drop offs from the shoreline where there was downed wood.  Shade line was another key component.  The fly of the day was a #8 chartreuse foam crease fly.  The long profile of the fly made a difference in drawing interested as we never had one fish rise to a traditional popper.  Well, finally some much needed rain.  Looks like rain all day, perfect!  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, September 28, 2015

Longing for a change in the weather

Hi Folks, Ran fly angler down on the big water of the Winooski yesterday morning.  Not a lot of options in the world of river fishing currently with the extremely low water.   Water temperature was 57 degrees at 7:00am with some fog.  It did not take long for the big bright sun to show itself.  The ginat high pressure that is enveloping the East currently is about as bad of fishing weather as you could ask for.  Not to mention a super moon and it make fishing tough.  The lunar eclipse last night was pretty cool.  I think there is a percentage of night time feeding with this type of weather of pattern.  All the same we did manage to catch 3 trout yesterday morning.  Two small wild rainbows and 1 nice colored up male 13" brown trout.  We missed two other fish and that was it.  A few caddis started to hatch about 11:00am and there is still plenty #16 olive caddis pupa on rocks.  We got our fish to eat a swung #16 x-caddis and a #20 peacock soft hackle.  Still between two accomplished fly anglers the fishing was slow.  It looks like a change in the wether today with some much needed rain on the way.  Off to run the boat for smallmouth.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Dry as Dirt

Hi Folks, Guided on the main stem of the Winooski yesterday morning under heavy fog and then big bright sun shine and then visited a small tributary stream in the late afternoon.  I am not digging the current weather pattern and we just a lots of rain.  Bums me out that I have to still get up early to fish due to the damn sun and lack of rain.  Fishing in the middle of the day right now is not super productive. Giagantic high pressure seems to be stuck over New England.  I long for a cool damp day on a trout stream.  Water temperatures have cooled off and the Winooski was 58 degrees at 7:30am and the small brook I was on was 56 degrees.  We tangled with small wild rainbows yesterday morning hat were pretty agreeable to eat #14 Adams parachute off the top and a #14 prince nymph below the surface.  Brook trout were the fish of the afternoon and they were fairly agreeable in eating a #14 x-caddis when we did not spook them.  Water is so low and clear that stealth is critical.  With the low water the fish are extra spooky.  Still seeing a few #12/#14 Isonychia shucks on rocks, but mostly now the bugs of the day are #16 olive caddis, #18 yellow/tan caddis, terrestrials, and #20/#22 BWO's.  Off to chase trout again today.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, September 25, 2015

wind blows from the east, the fish bite the least, not

Hi Folks, Guided two spin anglers yesterday for river smallmouth bass. Nice cool morning with a steadily increasing wind from the northeast. The water has cooled off a bit and was 65 degrees.  Still very low and clear and man really need some rain.  Leaves are starting to turn.  It seems with all of the dry weather that the leaves will drop off the trees quickly this year.  So, typically you hear anglers state that when the wind blows from the east the fish bite the least. Maybe true to a point, but weather is always a factor in fishing.  We still landed 8 smallmouth bass yesterday under bright blue skies and a northeast wind.  We did slow down our approach and the fish were fussy to a degree.  All of our takes were subtle and we had a portion of bass that dropped the Senko instead of eating it.  The 3" worm was much more productive than the 4" worm and it appeared that the fish did not want to move far to eat.  We had success drifting our presentations  in close to cover and structure like downed wood and large rocks. It is my job as a fishing guide to figure things out, even in tough weather conditions.  Does not always work out, but never due to a lack of effort.  Trout fishing over the weekend and will be getting out early due to bright sun and low water.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Thursday, September 24, 2015

give em' some deer hair man

Hi Folks, Ran the boat all day yesterday with fly fishing clients chasing smallmouth on the first day of Autumn.  Still feels like summer out there to me.  Cool morning with fog, but once it burned off we had big blue bird sunny skies.  Surface temperature of the lake was 66 degrees at 8:00am and warmed to 70 degrees by days end.  Yes, we still still need rain and a cool down.  However, as the weather stays consistent like this the smallie fishing will continue to be excellent.  Very little wind yesterday with a slight south breeze.  We surface fished for most of the day using big deer hair bugs, old school.  The lake we fished was off color and is dirty looking most of the time.  We used bright colored deer hair flies in red and white and chartreuse and red.  Both bugs had inverted hooks so you could cast them up on to weed beds and drag them off.  Deer hair is a bit more wind resistant than the traditional cork and plastic poppers I like to use for smallmouth.  Hauling is important in casting them. We found pods of aggressive fish and then we would fish areas that were like the dead sea.  The common characteristic of each productive spot was sharp drop offs from 5' to 20' with rock shoreline and good over hanging tree cover. We landed 8 bass between 12" and 19".  Probably missed or lost twice that amount.  To all of you trout fisherman, when bass fishing you need to really stick the fish.  Big hook sets, especially since you are casting a 12lb. to 16lb. tippet.  It was fun watching the smallmouth and largemouth chase down the fly.  Good strong fighting fish.  I am off to chase river bass today.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Bone Dry

Hi Folks, Guided a double yesterday mixing it up between small stream fly fishing for trout and large river fishing for smallmouth with spin gear.  We really need rain!!! Another dry fall.  Water temperatures in the brook we fished were 56 degrees and in the afternoon the bass river was 66 degrees.  We worked really hard for trout only landing 5 native brookies and we missed a few fish.  The low water has the trout tight and the spook factor is in full effect.  We got them to eat terrestrials, but ha to try a variety of flies.  The bass fishing was very good with us landing 16 smallmouth and 3 stocked rainbows on 3" and 4" Senkos.  All dead drifted.  The river fishing will remain consistent for smallmouth as long as the water temperature stay above 60 degrees.  I am off to chase bass ad pike out of the boat today.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, September 21, 2015

Connecticut Lakes

Hi Folks, Been away for a few days chasing trout and salmon in the furthest most northeast section of Vermont and into New Hampshire.   Mostly fly fished tail water streams.  The entire upper CT. river system is a wilderness place with thick woods and not a lot of people.  The rivers that run between the lakes hold rainbow, brown, and brook trout along with landlocked salmon.  Lots of the fishing is predicated by river flows and discharge from the tail water dams.  Lack of water means less big fish moving out of the lakes into the rivers for us river fly anglers.  The trout and salmon move back and forth to either chase bait fish or reproduce.  Water temperature has been consistent and holding between 60 degrees and 62 degrees.  Awful warm the last week with it finally cooling off on Sunday and becoming more Fall like.  We still need rain and our rivers are low all over the northeast.  Hard to get salmon and brown trout moving without water flow.  We fished a lot of heavy pocket water which was productive under bright sunny warm conditions.  Tough wading.  Small yellow caddis seemed to be the most effective sub surface fly.  A small #18 yellow caddis pupa caught rainbows and salmon.  A #16 Goddard caddis was extremely effective on the surface producing a nice male hook jawed brown and several rainbows.  The good old #14 yellow bodied and orange bodied stimulator was steady in the pocket water drawing trout to the surface in the heavy water.   We certainly worked for fish, but the low water allowed us access to spots we could not normally reach.  A high light of the last few days was a close encounter with a black bear at dusk.  Nothing like being 50' from a large bear crossing a river.  Pretty cool.  Looks like with the current weather that the best fishing will be afternoon as our nights are now cold.  Mid day to late afternoon will be the way to go.  As far as hatches, lots of #18 tan bodied caddis on rocks as well as #14/#16 olive caddis pupa.  Still some #12/#14 Isonychia, but the predominant may fly will be the #18-#22 BWO.  Don't rule out terrestrials and the streamer fly such as a ghost pattern, mickey finn, muddlers, and zonkers.  Bust week coming up for the catfish as I we be guiding all week for smallmouth and trout.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The art of fly casting and smallmouth bass

Hi folks, Ran the boat with a client yesterday afternoon chasing smallmouth bass with the fly rod.  Nice  80 degree day with big sun and a slight northwest wind.  Nice day to be outside though not a ton of traffic on the water.  The surface temperature was 74 degrees.  Still very much summer like out there.  My client wanted to learn to fly fish from a boat.  Can be a challenging environment to learn to cast from.  You handle larger fly rods and flies than you normally would trout fishing, you have to be able to cast for some distance, and most importantly handle the fly line.  Still water fishing is about covering water and making lots of casts.  My guest picked it up fairly quickly and we were able to catch some fish on a #6 chartreuse rubber legged popper.  Presentation is not quiet as critical bass fishing as it is in trout fishing.  However, the hook set and managing the line is more tricky.  We put 5 smallmouth in the boat and missed several others.  The fish were holding in deeper water from 15' to 20' off shoreline edges.  In particular, where a downed tree extended into deeper water.  Being patient with the popper is always necessary.  We stayed out of the sun which is always a good idea when surface fishing.  The recent rain puffed our streams up.  The Lamoille and Winooski are coming around the trib. streams are all in good shape.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Salmo trutta and much needed rain

Hi Folks, Been guiding the last couple of days with the fly rods chasing trout in tributary streams.  More specifically trying to catch some decent Brown Trout or Salmo trutta.  We finally got some significant rain.  I received almost 3/4" of rain at my house in Stowe.  The Lamoille and Winooski were high and dirty yesterday.  Good problem to have after all of warm dry weather we have experienced.  The stream I have been on is a very difficult wading stream that has excellent stabilty, tree canopy, and always maintains temperature.  The last couple of days it has been 57 degrees to 58 degrees.  Even with all of the rain this particular stream stays clear.  In large part due to the lack of run off of top soil, gradient, and its source.  We worked up stream in stealth mode and cast a number of different patterns such as a #14 green foam hopper, a #16 x-caddis, a #14 green bodied stimulator, and a #14 Hare's Ear parachute.  We had fish eat the parachute, caddis, and stimulator.  We did not land any giant trout but caught some very beautifully colored brown and brook trout.  Really important in this dynamic to make good drag free drifts.  Eliminating the fly line off the water helps to eliminate drag.  Short accurate casts are a necessity.  We also nymphed several heavy plunge pools with limited success. This is one of those  streams where you know that you could hang a trout of a life time on any cast.  The trout fishing should only get better as things really start to cool off.  I am off to chase bass out of my boat today.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Cooling down, slowing it down

Hi Folks, Ran the boat yesterday with a client chasing smallmouth bass with spin gear.  Weather front moved in bring a increasingly steady east/northeast wind.  Wind blows from the east, the fish bite the least, maybe. I am a fishing guide my job is to figure out how to catch fish even in adverse conditions.  Surface temperature was 72 degrees and yes we still need rain.  Air temperatures have finally cooled of a bit and it does feel more like September.  We dragged 4" watermelon red magic Senkos off the bottom and picked up 7 smallmouth.  No really big fish, but enough steady action to keep the rod bent.  Had a lot of fish pick up the rubber and drop it.  Had to be a weather thing.  We did witness a few bass busting bait on the surface as you could see pods of small baitfish in open water that the fish were attacking from below.  We tried some swim baits over those areas without any response from smallmouth. When the fishing is slow, time to slow down the approach.  Looks like a some wet weather on the way.  I will be mixing it up the next few days between big and small water trout fishing.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, September 11, 2015

A sign of things to come

Hi Folks, Ran the boat yesterday afternoon with clients for some early fall fishing for smallmouth bass. We were not disappointed.   I love the month of September for smallmouth fishing.  A fine time of year to hang a real big smallie.  We had a nice afternoon with no wind and a surface temperature of 74 degrees.  All of our water levels are low and we still very much need some rain.  We fished in and around standing milfoil beds and found most of our fish in a little deeper water off the beds.  All of our big fish came out of 12' to 15' of water.  We worked the surface with minimal results.  Had half a dozen come to the surface to eat, but without questions the slowly fished Senko was the method.  We worked 4" and 5" Senkos in Red/Watermelon magic and Goby and landed 9 smallmouth bass and 1 largemouth bass.  We missed or lost just as many.  What was nice was the average size of the fish we caught was large.  We had 5 smallmouths over 15" all the way to 18.5".  Good strong fighting fish.  Still some #14-#22 flying ants around.  Looks like some cooler and maybe even damp weather on the way.  I am off to chase smallmouth and walleye from the boat today.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

standing in a river

Hi folks, Been trying to keep cool the last couple of days guiding.  Been river fishing for smallmouth bass with the spin rods.  Record hot temperatures and high humidity have made it a bit on the uncomfortable side outdoors.  Perfect time to stand in a nice Vermont stream and tug on some fish.  The water temperature has been 72 degrees to 75 degrees.  The water is still low though we did get some heavy rain yesterday afternoon and last night.  The bass fishing on Monday was a little slow as we only landed two fish.  However we made up for it yesterday by landing 19 smallmouth and had a 12" stocked rainbow eat a 3" crawfish colored Senko.  Massive number of #14-#22 flying ants last night.  They covered the river and there were plenty of fish rising to eat them.  Mostly Fall Fish, small bass, and a few trout were gobbling up the ants.  We caught all of our smallmouth on 3" and 4" Senkos.  We had the fish take the rubber on a dead drift or even when the rubber was dropping after the cast.  We had half a dozen aggressive takes reeling back in the soft plastic bait.  We did fish a popper but the fish were not tuned in to it.  We missed a handful of fish on the surface but the best bite was below the surface.  We fished slow water and big eddy areas and we stood in the stream for most of the afternoon.  Pretty relaxing and comfortable.  We got off the water as the lightening and thunder moved in.  Will be running the boat the rest of the week.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, September 7, 2015

Brothers bass

HI Folks, Guided with the fly rods for river smallmouth yesterday.  Took out 3 brothers who are all fine fly anglers and even finer gentlemen.  Could not have been with a better crew for a super fantastic day of fly fishing.  Man, it is still hot and muggy out there.  The water is incredibly low and I can't remember seeing the Lamoille so dry.  Once again, we need rain.  We got on the water at sun rise under heavy fog.  Lots of valley fog this time of the year.  Good for keeping the sun off the water.  Water temperature was 75 degrees and low and clear.  We were able to spot several fish eat the fly.  We begin the morning popping the bass and landed a 2lber within 5 minutes of fishing.  It just got better from there.  We landed well over 30 smallmouth casting a combination of #6 chartreuse rubber legged poppers and stripping back #4/#8 Clauser Minnows and cone headed olive bunny buggers.  Due to the water levels most of the fish are holding in slow deep pools.  One of the more enjoyable moments of the day was casting into a large foam covered eddy that had a large rock and stump. You would cast the fly into the foam and strip and wham!  We pulled 4 nice bass out of this dynamic.  We could see smallmouth emerge from large rocks to eat the fly.  Incredible how much water we could access due to the low water.  Looks to stay hot this week and I will be chasing bass starting with this morning.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, September 6, 2015


Hi folks, guided a double yesterday chasing trout in the morning with the fly rods and spin fishing from my canoe in the afternoon for smallmouth bass.  Still very much summer out on the water and I am still fishing early and late in the day.  The water temperature on the lower Winooski was 66 degrees at 6:30am.  Water is low and yes, we really need some rain.  A few #16 caddis hatching in the morning with some random rising fish and Cedar Waxwings working bugs over riffles.  We landed 3 small wild rainbows and 1 stocked brown trout.  We got the fish to at a dead drifted #16 olive wire caddis pupa and a #14 Klinkhammer.  The fishing was decent until the early morning fog burned off.  Every trout was located off heavy riffles that dumped into large primary pools.  Once the sun rose the trout fishing really slowed.  In the afternoon, the lake surface temperature was 74 degrees and pretty flat calm on the water.  Good afternoon of bass fishing with 11 good sized smallmouth to the canoe as well as a robust 25" plus chain pickerel.  We landed 7 of the fish on a 4" watermelon red magic Senko and 5 of the fish on a fire tiger popper.  The popper accounted for the largest smallies of the day including two 3.5lb to 3.75lb hard pulling bronze backs.  We caught bass in a variety of spots from weed edges to downed wood to open water that had large rocks.  Really aggressive strikes on the surface.  Only one fish missed and lost which is pretty impressive in an afternoon of fishing.  Good job of capitalizing on opportunities.  Off to chase river bass.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, September 4, 2015

Action Shot

still very much summer

Hi Folks, guided the last couple of morning chasing river smallmouth with spin gear and fly rods.  Our rivers are low.  However, the northern reaches of the state seem to have a bit more water than central to southern Vermont.  Certainly warmer than average air temperatures though it has been cooling off significantly at night into the low fifties.  Lots of heavy morning fog which is nice for keeping the sun off the water.  Mornings and late afternoon are the the times to fish presently.  I was leaving the water yesterday at lunch time when another outfit was just arriving.  Not an easy time of day to catch fish in big water in the middle of a hot sunny afternoon.  The bass fishing  has been very consistent.  I have been wading to water that is generally inaccessible due to flows.  Water temperatures have ranged from 67 degrees in the early morning to 72 degrees by midday.  We have been dead drifting 3" baby bass Senkos with the spin gear.  Landed 8 smallmouth yesterday morning and lost and missed twice that number.  With the low water the smallmouth have been a bit fussy.  Lots of pick ups on the rubber only to drop them with the slightest inclination of resistance from the angler.  Really important to recover slack when you draw a take from a smallmouth, but it must be accomplished without the fish sensing you.  The fly fishing for bass has been even better.  Popping was pretty darn good the other morning under early morning fog.  I have found that smaller poppers in #8/#6 have been most effective.  Poppers with yellow, chartreuse, and black bodies have all been effective.  When the surface bite slows streamers in olive, black and white have all worked.  Move them in short darting movements and work them in and around large rocks.  Fun watching a big bronze back emerge from a boulder and crush a streamer.   Trout fishing is currently relegated to early morning for the big rivers and small mountain brooks.  Be seeing lots of #22 male flying ants the last few afternoons.  A #14/#16 olive caddis pupa dead drifted or a #12/#14 Isonychia pattern will produce fish in the big rivers.  Smaller dry flies like #14 ant, #14/#16 yellow or green bodied humpy, #14/#16 adams/hare's ear parachute or a #14 Royal Wullf will catch small stream trout.  So, get up early and go fish or wait until late afternoon until our weather changes.  Really need rain.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

New and different

Hi Folks, Spent a really nice morning in the kingdom with a client fly fishing for native Brook trout.  Pretty magical place we fished on a high gradient stream in a thick tree canopy.  A whole another world.  The brook temperature was 57 degrees and the water was low and clear.  We landed 27 brook trout between 3" and 12".  All on the same dry fly, a #14 Klinkhammer.  I think there was a trout in every piece of water we fished.  All up stream fishing and the larger pools held the most fish and the big ones.  Fun experience for my Floridan client who ad never fished in such an environment.  Unique and out of the ordinary fro someone from down country.  The brook trout were lit up with color, really impressive.  Looks like some warmer than average weather for the next few days, but still cool at night.  I will be chasing smallmouth the next few days.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, August 31, 2015

contrasting worlds

Hi Folks, Spent a nice day guiding and fly fishing for small stream trout and still water smallmouth bass fishing.  On the trout front, the water is wicker low and we really need rain.  The spook factor is in full effect with the low clear water.  The water temperature of the brook was 59 degrees. We worked up stream with a variety of dry flies.  The smaller patterns were the most productive with a #16 x-caddis catching a beautiful wild 12" brown trout and a 10" plus native male brook trout.  We landed half a dozen brook trout on a #16 yellow bodied Humpy.  Due to the low water the fish were really holding tight to cover (i.e. large rocks).  Large pools seemed futile to fish in as the trout would get tight with the fly line flying over head each time you attempted to land the dry in the water.  Still a good morning with challenges and rain is really needed.  In the afternoon, went smallmouth fly fishing in a canoe on a body of water where the level can fluctuate.  The water was being dropped as we were fishing and it seemed to move the bass around a bit.  I think they were re-orientating themselves with the new water levels. We landed 6 really nice smallmouth with the largest fish pressing 4 plus pounds.  Lost and missed another 6 fish.  The flies of the afternoon were a deer hair mouse, #6 black hula popper fly, and #6 bright orange popper, and a #8 frog popper.  We found smallmouth in a variety of places and did not appear to be a pattern.  Looks like summer for the next few days.  Get on the water early and often.  Off to chase small stream trout.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Wading the Gnarly plus ski resort fishing

Hi Folks, I have guided in two completely different environments over the last couple of days. Spent yesterday on a small mountain stream fly fishing for native brook trout and wild brown trout.  I was not in Stowe and can't tell you whether I went north or south.  However, the tactics are the same regardless of where I small steam fish in Vermont.  High gradient streams coming off big elevation (i.e ski mountains) are nice cool places to be on hot summer days.  The water is low but the temperatures are perfect ranging from 56 degrees to 58 degrees.  All up stream fishing i the clear water.  Important if you do not want to spook too many fish.  We landed 17 brook trout yesterday on a #14 Royal Wulff and two wild Brown trout on a #16 X-caddis.  Interesting to watch the difference in how the brook trout aggressively engulf the dry while the brown trout rose more cautiously and sipped the fly.  Took patience in not sitting the hook prematurely when you knew and could see the fish elevate to the dry. Decent number of #14-#22 fly ants out and about this evening.  This morning we fly fished big water for smallmouth. The water is so low that you can wade to pools that probably almost never get fished. Still the wading in the big rocky rivers is gnarly.  Need to be on your game. We landed 18 smallmouth.  Nothing on a top water.  Nice foggy morning and the water temperature was 72 degrees.  Swinging #6/#8 olive cone headed bunny buggers, #8 white zonkers, and #6 white clauser minnows all drew interest.  Most of the takes were fairly subtle.  The smallies were holding in and around big rocks of main current seams in at least waist deep water.  Important to keep the fly moving but not too fast but not too slow.  Steering it around suspected holding areas.  Could use some rain.  Hopefully the night will stay cool and the fishing will continue to be steady.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, August 28, 2015

big nasty pocket water

Hi Folks, guided yesterday afternoon with the fly rods on the Winooski.  Beautiful weather afternoon with nice cool air temperatures and a slight northeast breeze.  The water temperature was 67 degrees.  Still a bit warm for my liking.  We waded a stretch of river that is all pocket water with huge rocks to negotiate.  Not easy wading and requires some caution in walking around.  We located wild rainbows in the primary pools as the water level was low enough that there did not appear to be any trout holding in secondary spots.  The low water allowed us to access areas that might not always be waded so easily.  For bugs, there were a few #12 Isonychia, some #18 micro caddis, a few remnant #8/#10 stone flies, and few #20 sulphurs that came off at dark.  We hooked 8 of the nine fish that ate our flies on a double nymph rig that consisted of a #12 flashback pheasant tail with a #18 caddis pupa dropper.  We found one rising fish and got it to eat a #16 x-caddis.  We missed a few fish due to rod positioning on the hook set.  It is important that the tip of the rod follows the flies in the drift.  The hook set needs to come straight up with a sweep of the rod.  Still the hardest part of river fly fishing is getting the trout to eat the fly.  I have to say that a percentage of the fish we landed looked summer stressed.  Big heads with skinny bodies.  A product of the warm water they had to survive in over the last few weeks.  I am off to chase small stream trout this morning.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Steady and consistent

Hi Folks, August is nearing an end and the I have to say the smallmouth bass fishing has been really good for most of the month.  Just consistent with my clients landing lots of fish over the last few weeks.  I guided a trip yesterday morning with a family and the spin rods.  We landed 13 smallmouth bass.  Nice cloudy morning with threatening rain showers and very little wind.  Water is still low and clear and the temperature was 69 degrees.  With the low light the fish were on.  Seemed a lot more active without the sun beating down on them.  I sound like a broken record, but the 3" crawfish and baby bass Senkos have just been really productive.  The trick with the Senkos is figuring out how long to wait before you set the hook.  The bass attempt to swallow them, but they carry them for a long time in their mouth like a cigar.  I am always amazed at how long an angler has to set up the hook set when fishing Senkos.  They work as well if not better than bait.  Even had some stocked rainbows and browns eat them.  Looks like a cool down is in order.  Cool days and cooler nights should turn the trout fishing back on.  Still tons of #22 Tricos hatching in the morning, along with random #12/#14 Isonychia showing up, and the ever present #14/#15 olive caddis.  Lots of #18 cased yellow bodied caddis on rocks in riffles currently.  Terrestrial patterns should be everyone's fly box right now.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sitting down on the job

Hi Folks, Ran two trips yesterday with both focusing on young anglers fishing.  River fished for smallmouth bass in the morning and trout fished a small mountain brook in the afternoon with the fly rods.  Always fun introducing young anglers to fishing and watching the catch their first fish, priceless. The river temperature in the morning was 71 degrees and the brook temperature in the afternoon was 59 degrees.  Water is low and clear.  Spook factor is in full effect.  We caught 17 smallmouth in the morning dead drifting 3" crawfish colored and baby bass colored Senkos.  The funny moment oft he morning was when two of my young anglers decided they were tired and sat down to fish.  While casually sitting they proceeded to land 7 smallmouth.  The fish were stacked up under a log at the head of a pool and the kids kept dropping the Senko just up stream so it drifted right into place.  Good fun.  In the afternoon we cast #14 Royal Wulff into deep plunge pools and the brook trout were all over the fly.  I think we saw a fish in every piece of water we cast to.  The brookies are looking pretty colorful.  The water is so low that it is not very tough to figure out where the fish are holding.  Good definition in the streams.  With kids, fishing needs to be fun and kept light.  Very rewarding for me to see young boys and girls catching their first fish.  I am off t chase rive bass.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, August 24, 2015

Just about perfect

Hi Folks, Incredibly good day of river smallmouth bass fishing yesterday.  I had a morning trip and and afternoon trip and between the two we landed 37 smallmouth bass.   Warm day with the water temperatures well up into the high seventies by days end.  Flows are at a seasonal low and now below the average for this time of the year.  Tons of bait fish in the shallows along with crawfish and juvenile smallmouth.  The afternoon fly fishing for smallmouth was as good as I have seen in sometime.  We fished a stretch of river that is very big and the pools are spread out.  Due to this factor and the low water, the fish were concentrated in each large primary pool.  We found that a high percentage of smallmouth were holding on the up stream side of large rocks.  We cast a #6 tungsten red cone head olive bunny bugger and as the light got low we worked #8 frog poppers.  The takes on the popper were really aggressive.  Big splashy boils  on the fly! We hammered them on both flies.  We caught 1 small bass and the rest of the 23 fish landed were all in the 1 3/4 lb range to almost 3 lbs.  Healthy fat jumping smallmouth that looked like they had not see a hook all season.  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, August 23, 2015


Hi Folks, Guided a fly angler yesterday morning on a very tricky tributary of the Lamoille River.  Nice consistent cold water temperatures in this particular stream. The water temperature was 61 degrees and the water clarity was good.  This stream is extremely rugged and the walking can be down right treacherous and the casting has to be creative due to the lay of the land.  Fly fishing for trout is not about our convenience, but more about the trouts.  In other word the fish hold in interesting spots at times and it is up to us to get the fly to them.  Interesting how much of difference having yellow lenses on polarized glasses makes.  I was able to spot most of the trout coming to the fly prior to them actually eating it.  My client had a brown lenses which is good in bright sun but not low light.  Being as Vermont is a pretty cloudy place, I have always preferred the yellow lenses for fishing in the Stowe area.  Pretty nice advantage being able to spot a trout coming to your dry fly.  We had 7 trout eat our #16 x-caddis including all 3 species.  Only landed 1 fish.  The most difficult part of fly fishing for trout in my opinion  is getting the fish to eat the fly.  Hooking and landing the fish comes with doing.  So, nice to see a cool down.  Should cool down our streams a bit.  I am off to chase smallmouth this morning and tonight.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, August 21, 2015


Hi Folks, A little cool down in store for the Stowe area, yeah.  A rainy Friday is just what the doctor ordered.  Guided river smallmouth yesterday morning and the water temperature was 74 degrees at 6:30am.  Pretty low and clear.  The rain (.5" predicted) should help with levels and flows.  Also, looks like things will cool off once the front pushes through.  The bass fishing has been really consistent.  My trip yesterday was a spin/fly trip with the kids casting 3" and 4" Senkos and Dad on the fly rod.  No top water bite once again.  Interesting that in the clear water the smallmouth would not commit to eating a streamer in the slow pools.  A couple of follows with turn offs at the end.  However, in the fast riffles we had 3 smallmouth pound a black streamer with an orange cone head.  The faster water simply does not give the fish ample chance to get a good look at the fly.  The Senkos are silly easy.  The bass eat the rubber and do not let go.  We landed 8 bass on the Senkos and had numerous other eats.  Dead drifted Senkos just produce!  The bass fishing should continue to be good and the trout fishing will pick up if things cool down.  Small streams and mountain brooks will be the ticket in the mean time.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Too darn warm

Hi Folks, Hard to believe that you can ever complain about being too hot i Vermont considering how our winters are in Stowe, but yesterday was too hot.  Ran a trip in the morning and the afternoon chasing smallmouth bass.  Spin and fly fished from my boat and wading.  Found the warmest water temperatures of the season yesterday with the lower Lamoille pressing 79 degrees and the lake I was on was 77 degrees at 6:15am.  Warm water like that even makes the bass a bit sluggish.  The top water bite was not happening.  I think the fish did not want to rise to eat due to the warm water temperatures.  Great spinner fall of #10 Epherons last night with bugs everywhere and the only fish rising were Fall Fish. Still the bass fishing yesterday was very good.  On the lake front we got landed 7 smallmouth fishing 5" Senkos in and around milofil beds in 15' to 20' of water.  In the the river we landed 16 smallmouth swinging a #6 red cone head olive bunny bugger into large pools.  There was a percentage of fish holding in the heavier water due to the warmer than average water temperatures.  Off to chase smallmouth again this morning.  We old use some rain and a cool down.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Early bird gets the bass

Hi Folks,  Guided a spin trip yesterday morning for smallmouth bass.  We got on the water around 6:30am in order to avoid the heat and sun.  The water temperature was 70 degrees and level was low.  Excellent clarity.  Right as we entered the river we were lucky enough to see a female black bear and her cub cross the river.  The first 2.5 hours of the morning was pretty cool.  Once the sun rose in the sky things heated up significantly.  Saw a great #22 Trico spinner fall.  However, no self respecting smallmouth is going to waste energy eating the tiny may fly.  I did see a few subtle sips by Fall fish eating the spinners. We landed 18 smallmouth bass and missed or lost another dozen fish including a legitimate 4 lb bass that jumped and tail walked its way to freedom.  We hooked a large percentage of our fish in one big primary pool with some good rock cover.  Not a bad top water bite with the fish readily rising to take a floating perch Rapala off the surface.  When that bite slowed down we dead drifted 3" craw fish and baby bass colored Senkos with great success.  The fishing slowed the last hour of the morning as things heated up.  Pays to get on the water early when it is hot.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Let it sit

Hi Folks, Ran a full day yesterday with a fly fishing client for smallmouth bass.  Wicked hot and humid  day for fishing.  Surface temperature was 75 degrees with a slight south breeze.  Really important to find shady areas to fish when the sun is beating down on the water.  We landed 7 smallmouth, a pickerel and several pan fish on a #6 frog popper.  We missed and lost several fish and a couple of good ones as well.  The key when the weather is hot is too let the fly really sit for a long time on the surface of the water before making it pop. In some instances you can let the fly sit for well over 30 seconds prior to moving it.  Incredible how many strikes happen after the fly has been sitting still on the water for some time.  Most of our strikes yesterday were pretty explosive.  Really important to give the fish the time to eat the fly but also really strike the bass on the hook set.  We were using a 16 lb. tippet so there is some room for really putting it to them on the hook set.   The theme of the day with locating fish was shade.  We found fish on sharp drop offs, downed wood, and the edges of weed beds.  I noticed a lot of smallmouth coming out of the water in various locations and it appeared that they were eating small bait fish.  You could see balls of bait suspended over rocks and boulders. I am pretty sure they were feeding on the minnows and the inertia from the acceleration onto the bait was propelling them out of the water.  Well, another hot one coming up today.  I am off to chase river smallmouth.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, August 17, 2015

Flying Ants

Hi Folks, Back by demand are the Flying Ants.  A welcome sign every late summer.  Been awful hot the last few days and looks to continue to stay hot and muggy.  Water temperatures have warmed significantly.  Big river fishing for trout is out and the small streams are now warming and low. Carry your thermometer.  Leave the trout alone when the thermometer reads 70 degrees plus.  Also, noo fishing for trout in thermal refuges.  In other words where they stack up at cold water spots.  Leave them alone at Kennefield brook confluence on the Lamoille or the Ridley brook confluence on the Winooski or the Brewster confluence on the Lamoille.  Bad ethics and Karma hounding these stressed fish.  However, this is perfect weather for chasing smallmouth.  With the arrival of the flying ants, everybody looks to the surface for any easy meal.  Hard to believe, though it is the case, that big smallmouth will slurp ants with a reckless abandon.  The equivalent of us eating Raisinettes at the movie theater.  Flying ants or Alertes meaning swarmers or reproducers move nests this time of the year.  It is usually prompted by heavy rains i.e. thunderstorms.  I typically see them in the afternoon.  The female ants are larger being tied on a #14/#16 hook while males are tiny being tied on a #20/#22 hook.  Incredible that on certain occasions trout will key in to one or the other but not both.  Might have to do which is most abundant.  I do not think the smallmouth really care.  so, I am of to spend the rest of the day guidng for bass.  Will be hot, but we wll find some shade and willing participants.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Dog Days of Summer

Hi Folks, Been guiding on the bass front the last two mornings.  Warm and muggy again with summer returning.  Thunder showers have kept water levels up a bit, but clarity has not been an issue.  Temperatures have climbed again with our big rivers eclipsing 70 plus degrees.  No trout fishing to be had under these temperatures in the Lamoille or Winooski main stems.  Even in the early morning the water is still 70 degrees plus because the nights have not cooled off.  Small stream fishing and high gradient brooks are where its at if you want to catch trout presently.  So, water gets warm, let tug on smallmouth.  I actually prefer hot humid for bass fishing.  Just want to get out of the sun.  Been river fishing for smallmouth and averaging 6 to 12 landed fish an outing.  Probably miss or lose twice that number.  Why?, we fish Texas rigged rubber worms and the hook set is really critical.  It is weedless and the hook is buried in the soft plastic.  Often we have a fish on that is not even hooked.  They just really hang on to the salt and flavored impregnated rubber baits.  Finesse fishing with dead drifted rubber is really effective on highly pressured fish and fussy smallmouth.  They do not want to always chase a popper and or actively worked fly or lure.  Well. terrestrials everywhere currently, hoppers, ants, beetles, you name it.  #12/#14 Isonychia season is upon us.  Carry your Pheasant tails, Zug bugs, Iso nymphs, and Prince nymphs.  Complete each drift as the Isonychia is a swimming may fly. The old Leisiring(sp?) lift is a very effective techniques currently.  On the dry fly front a #12 Grey Wulff or Adams or Adams parachute imitate the Isonychia really well.  A crippled #12 grey colored dun is not a bad idea on fussy fish.  Still plenty of caddis out there with a #14/#16 olive bodied x-caddis being my first choice and then  an assortment of #18 to #20 micro caddis.  Keep cool and keep the rods bent.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, August 14, 2015

Early and Late

Hi Folks, Ran two trips yesterday with a morning adventure on my boat and and afternoon of wading the Lamoille for trout.  The surface temperature in the morning on the lake's surface was 71 degrees.  Pretty calm initially with a slight south breeze as the morning progressed.  We caught two bass on our first two casts of the day.  A largemouth and then a smallmouth.  Hooked each fish on the same milfoil bed.  The top water fishing was really good for the first couple hours of the day.  We worked a frog pattern Heddon Tiny Torpedo.  We would cast it over the weed beds and work it back to the edge where the fish were crushing it.  Some really good takes.  We had well over a dozen fish come to the surface presentation.  A combination of healthy, strong fighting smallies and largemouth.  Once again on top water fish for bass, patience on the hook set.  Have to let the fish eat the lure/fly prior to striking. Once the top water bite subsided we resorted to finesse fishing with a 5" Senko.  Picked off a few bass with the rubber, but I always find it tough sub surface fishing after a solid morning of top water action.  We did get a couple of slimy pickerel to eat the rubber.  My client loved it as it brought back child hood memories of tugging on the toothy critters.  Managed to not get bit off by the pickerel as every hook was right in the top of the mouth.  My afternoon trip was to the Lamoille which was almost 3 times it average seasonal flow.  A spring level with good clarity.  Water temperature was 67 degrees at 6:30pm.    The fishing was really slow until 7:00pm and then we caught 5 rainbows.  3 stocked fish and 2 hard pulling wild bows.  It appeared that the fihs were hunkered down in deep primary pools and moved into the riffles at dusk.  Of course, there was a few #18 micro caddis hatching to assist in turning on the trout.  Saw a lot of #12/#14 Isonychia shucks on rocks and a few #20 BWO's hatching.  Only saw a some sporadic rising. Tons of hoppers in fields.  Can't go wrong with a hopper dropper combo right now.  My choice for the dropper nymph would be an #16/#18 olive caddis pupa or a soft hackle in yellow or green or even with a peacock herl body.  Looks like a hot spell is on us again so big water trout fishing will be out.  Small streams and smallmouth fishng are in order.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Fussy Pants

Hi Folks, Ran two trips yesterday with a river foray in the morning for smallmouth bass and then canoe fishing for bass in the afternoon.  Unstable weather day.  River temperature in the morning was 68 degrees and the water level was up and slightly off color.  We landed half a dozen river smallmouth and several large Fall Fish.  The bite was really subtle.  A lot of takes with the fish dropping the 3" baby bass Senkos.  You had to be really patient on the take prior to setting the hook and make sure that the smallmouth did not sense any pressure from you.  Pretty much the same deal in the afternoon.  I took out one of my regular clients who is a very good spin angler.  We worked hard for 3 smallmouth and 1 good sized pickerel.  A lot of takes from fish but they would not hold onto the rubber.  No top water bite or crank bait bite what so ever.  I can't say there was any pattern the day either.  In the afternoon we did fish in the rain and wind.  On and off heavy showers with a steady 10mph Northwest wind made conditions even more tricky.  The surface temperature was 71 degrees.  I can only speculate that the unstable weather impacted the fishing.  The high light of the afternoon was watching a family of Loons, two adults and two young, feeding on fish.  We watched the adults dive and catch small bass and bait fish and then feed them to their young.  Pretty spectacular even though it messed up the area where we were fishing.  Well, off to chase bass this morning in the boat.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

see them, cast to them

Hi Folks, Did a little river fish guiding yesterday afternoon for smallmouth bass.  The river levels are now low and the extremely clear.  All about to change with the 1" of rain expected to drop from the skies over the next 24 hours.  Been kind of dry, so the rain is a welcomed event.  River temperature was 73 degrees and it was an afternoon of mixed clouds and sun.  We hooked and caught fish in every piece of water we fished.  Dead drifting 3" baby bass Senkos worked really well.  You could spot a smallmouth and cast up stream of it and watch the fish move to the rubber.   We landed over a dozen feisty river bass and missed or lost as many.  When we fished in the sun, it was interesting to watch the fish move from out of cover (under wood or rock) to eat.  Also, had a few large fish deny us  as well.  My take is that they had been hooked before and not really keen on eating in the bright sun.   Taking the day off from fishing and will be back at tomorrow for the rest of the week.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, August 10, 2015

Time of plenty

Hi Folks, Guided yesterday morning with the fly rods in the Lamoille.  Water temperature was a pleasant 61 degrees and the level is now at the seasonal average flow.  Actually, a little rain would not be a bad thing.  Saw a large number of #22 Trico spinners over a big riffle around 9:00am.  One they hit they water, nothing happened.  I did see a few trout rise to a #18 caddis, but no sippers on the tiny may fly.  We dead drifted a #16 hare's ear parachute and had 7 wild bows eat the fly.  We had takes on the dead drift and and the swing.  All wild rainbows yesterday morning, but no really big fish.  The fish were all holding in heavy riffles in and around large rocks.  The fishing really slowed once the sun got high over head.  Lots of hoppers in the surrounding farm fields and it should be any day now for flying ants to make their annual arrival.  Will be chasing smallmouth all this week with a few small stream trout trips in the mix.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Fog Lights needed

Hi Folks, Ran the boat yesterday morning with a spin angler.  Big time fog in the early am and really did not lift until around 8:30am.  Pretty interesting driving the boat.  Electronics are helpful.  The surface temperature was 71 degrees even though the air temperature was in the low fifties.  Pretty flat and calm for half the morning until a slight wind from the northeast kicked in.  We had two fish rise to eat a popper , but that was it.  We slowed things down with a 5" watermelon and really began to tug on fish.  We landed 4 smallmouth bass and 5 largemouth bass.  The common denominator was milfoil beds.  Every fish we had take was holding in and around the edges of big milfoil beds.  Water is really clear where I fished and you could see the fish cruising.  We did see a bit of nervous water with the bass chasing bait fish and and a cast into such an area resulted in takes from the predators beneath.  With the cooler weather in place for a few days, the river trout fishing should remain consistent.  I am off to test that theory this morning with clients.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-natve species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, August 8, 2015

When the sun goes down

Hi Folks, Guided on the Lamoille yesterday afternoon with the fly rods.  Nice day that felt very much like Fall.  Water temperature was 67 degrees and the level was about at the seasonal average flow.  Not a bad temperature for the Lamoille in the afternoon considering that it is August.  I would prefer to fish the morning always this time of the year as the water would be 5 degrees cooler and the fish a lot more active.  Saw my first #12/#14 Isonychia shuck on a rock.  The Isonychia is a significant may fly hatch that will occur for the next 6 weeks.  A constant food source for our river trout.  Good to carry a few Isonychia nymphs in your box as well as a few Grey Wulff patterns to imitate the dun.  We swung #14 Zug Bugs initially yesterday and had 5 fish eat the fly.  Also, a #18 olive wire caddis was effective on the swing.  The fishing picked up at dusk with multiple insects hatching and the trout began to rise.  There were 3 different types of may flys hatching as well as two different sized caddis.  Took a little deciphering to determine what the trout were eating.  There was a few #10/#12 Epherons and #18 Sulphers hatching, but the fish seemed keyed into the small #18/#20 caddis that was coming off.  The trout were coming right out of the water to eat.  It appeared that they were eating emergers in the surface film and their momentum was carrying them out of the water after rising to eat.  We postioned ourselves up stream after failing to get a take on a dead drift and began to swing a #18 tan bodied x-caddis.  We got several trout to eat with this method.  The takes were fairly obvious as the fish would eat the fly as it was swung with a tight line.  It can be tough at dark with rising fish and being able to see the fly let alone detecting a take.  Still worth the challenge as the river really came to life.  Off to chase smallmouth this morning.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Oh, that feels nice

Hi Folks, Finally a nice cold front moved in the hot muggy weather moved out.  Love the cool nights and pleasant days.  Good for water temperatures.  Guided the Lamoille main stem two of the last three days and took my daughter fishing yesterday.  I watched the Lamoille go from 69 degrees Tuesday morning to 61 degrees this morning.  What a change in the fishing results with the cooler water temperatures.  The bass stream I visited yesterday was 68 degrees and loaded with smallmouth.  Could sight fish them.  Tuesday we struggled to get fish to eat.  Hooked 3 trout and did not land a one.  Fished in heavy riffles under the bright sun and in coming thunder storms.  Today, partly sunny/cloudy with a cool north breeze and we had well over 30 trout eat the fly.  We landed 20 plus fish.  All rainbows with a mix of wild trout and stocked trout from 7" to 12".  Everything on nymphs.  We nymphed double rigs with a #12 black double tungsten stone fly with a #18 olive wire caddis pupa.  Pretty even distribution on both flies.  We tight lined fished with high stick mending and used indicators in heavy pocket water. Good day on the Lamoille, especially for August.  No rising trout or anyone eating dry flies, but we crushed them.  Pretty impressive how hard the small wild rainbows hit the fly and how tough they fight. Put the stocked trout to shame.  The bass fishing was pretty simple.  My daughter Lina hooked fish on garden hackle no problem.  I flipped some 3" baby bass Senkos as well and we had a field day tugging on fish.  Good fun.  Lina liked catching fish, but not a big fan of touching them.  No worries.  Well, trout fishing the next few days.  Should be good.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Very Nice

Hi Folks, Spent a full day on a Lamoille Tributary with an accomplished fly angler.  Great day on a trout stream! Water temperature was 60 degrees and the water level was slightly above the seasonal average flow.  We walked a beat of river I have not been all season, but started fishing 25 years a go.  Nice to see it fished as well as ever.  Big bouldery pocket water and a bit of technical fishing with lots of micro currents.  Tricky mending.  We landed 15 brook trout, 4 wild brown trout, and 2 junpng wild rainbows.  Good fun on a slow action 3wt.  The rig of the day was a #14 green bodied stimulator with a #18 bead head hare and copper and a #16 x-caddis with a #18 bead head pheasant tail nymph.  The distribution of takes was pretty equal from the dry fly to the nymph.  We probably missed or lost another dozen fish.  We did have a really large brown trout come to the fly twice in a big plunge pool.  Fish emerged out of the heavy water to look at the dry and the second time we drifted into the spot the fish ate the nymph and we missed it.  Oh well, still pretty cool seeing the fish.  Nice in clear streams being able to spot fish as they move to the fly.  Off to chase trout again this morning.  Looks like a bit of cool down on the way.  Good for trout fishing.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, August 3, 2015

what the heck

Hi Folks, Guided the lower Lamoille yesterday morning for smallmouth with the fly rods.  The water level came up while we fished and the color was off with a dirty tinge.  Must of been a stray thunder storm from the previous night.  The upper Lamoille was looked fine yesterday.  The water temperature was 71 degrees.  Did see a Bald Eagle in the morning and several Ospreys.  Nice bonus when fishing.  We worked hard to catch fish yesterday morning and I would say all do to the conditions of the river.  We landed one really nice 2lb smallmouth off the get go and then that was it for the bass for the day.  We missed the fish initially on a blue and white #4 crease fly and then we got him to eat a #4 chartreuse and white Clauser Minnow.  We slowed down our tactics and dead drifted a large #4 Girdle Bug under an indicator versus working a popper and a streamer. We landed a huge fall fish that I have to say put up a great fight and solid bend in a 6wt.  We then lost another fish we never saw that I suspect was a  Fall Fish and also fought pretty well.  The last cast of the day did produce 1 last large Fall Fish on cone headed olive bunny bugger.  Still not the target species but better than a sharp stick in the eye.  I am off to chase small stream trout.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Geting away from the crowds

Hi Folks, Ran the boat yesterday afternoon for smallmouth bass with clients. Visited a small pond/lake that does not see a lot fishing traffic.  Undeveloped, pristine, and quiet. Beautiful day as the humid air has finally pushed on out.  There was some thunder storm activity around the region yesterday but managed to avoid them.  Good steady wind from the south that pushed the boat around a bit.  The surface temperature was 75 degrees.  We worked shady shore lines in 12' of water that were lined with lilly pads and downed wood.  All a hard bottom.  We had two large smallmouth gobble up a yellow perch Rapala off the surface.  We landed one of the two after a pretty good battle.  The rest of our fish were caught with a 5" Goby sparkle Senko on a #2 off set worm hook.  The prize of the day was a fat healthy looking 18" smallmouth that did not want to come to the boat.  It appeared that the bass in this particular were on steroids or something.  Incredibly hard fighting fish.  Of course, all of the ones we caught had no sign of being pricked previously.  Off to chase river bass this morning.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, August 1, 2015


Hi Folks, Guided a double yesterday with a little river fly fishing in the morning and canoe fly fishing in the afternoon.  Very enjoyable day for me as I took complete beginners in the morning and then the seasoned fly angler in the afternoon.  Love the teaching facet of my job.  I would like to thank everyone who hired for July as I set a record for revenue and trips as I completed 35 fishing trips.  Fun time.  So, yesterday morning I guided was 66 degrees and the level was up and off colored.  My crew did a great job learning the basics of fly fishing.  We put a fall fish clinic landing lots of the silvery big scaled chubs.  No trout or bass to speak of, but did not matter as these folks were tickled to tug on fish and learn how to operate a fly rod.  All dry fly fishing as we drifted large #10 parachute patterns.  Was a decent #22 Trico spinner fall, but the only thing rising were fall fish.  In the afternoon, I guided a long time client who can cast with the best of them.  Our total focus was how to present the fly.  Surface temperature was 75 degrees and there was steady north/northwest wind until dusk.  We found the lee and shade.  We landed 10 smallmouth bass, several perch, and had several large pickerel on that broke us off.  & of the bass were solid  2lb to 3.5lb  smallies that I thought might break my clients 5 wt. on a few occasions.  We overloaded the 5wt. with a 6wt. bass bug tapered fly line.  Makes casting wind resistant poppers much easier.  The fly of the night was a #6yellow bellied frog popper with rubber legs.  We found most of our fish off submerged rock island and ledges that had weed growth.  The smallies like the deep side of the edge.  We focused on getting out of the sun and fishing shady areas (really important.)  However, the largest fish of the day was caught off a downed piece of wood on steep sloping bank.  Most of the takes with the popper happen within a few feet of where the fly lands.  Once again the big fish were slurping in the fly.  Subtle takes.  Well, off to do it again this afternoon.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, July 31, 2015

escaping the heat

Hi Folks, Been guiding fly guests on small brooks the last couple of days.  A mountain stream is a great place to escape the heat and humidity.  Due to the tree canopy and coolness of the water the stream basin always seems about 10 degrees cooler than the surrounding area.  Mother Nature's air conditioning.  So water temperatures have risen significantly over the last few days, especially in the bigger rivers.  The Lamoille and Winooski currently are un-fishable from a stand point of the water being too warm (over 70 degrees).  However, the small streams that feed these larger rivers are still maintaining temperature.  The brooks I visited read water temperatures of 60 to 63 degrees.  Not bad considering how warm and muggy it has been the last few days.  We have been catching native brook trout on dry flies.  Mostly #12 and #14 green bodied stimulators.  Good representation of the profile of a Hopper body.  It is the time of terrestrials for fly anglers.  We did land a 12" wild rainbow yesterday while small stream fishing which was good fun on a soft 3wt. fly rod.  The brooks are teaming with brook trout. I think there was a trout  in every pool we cast to.  Afternoon rain storms yesterday brought the water up a bit, but the front that came through removed the humidity from the equation.  Off to small stream again today.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have fun, Willy

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Hot, hot, and more hot

Hi Folks, Arguably one of the warmer days of the summer yesterday on my boat with clients.  Guided for bass with spin anglers in the afternoon.  Been a hot muggy week and it looks to continue for a few days.  No wind to speak of yesterday and the surface temperature was 78 degrees.  The fishing was really slow until about the last hour of light.  Just too bright and warm and the fish seemed extremely non-aggaressive.   Good reason to fish early in the morning when it is warm and muggy outside.  It was like a light switch effect last night that when it turned on the fishing really picked up.  We landed 4 smallmouth bass and 1 largemouth bass.  I had guests from the Emerald Isle who had never done any fishing so it was lots of fun teaching them the whole process.  They did great and only became more proficient as the evening progressed.  Initially we could not even get a fish to eat a Senko.  We scaled back from 5" to 4" Senkos in watermelon red magic and began to get bites.  The fish were really tentative on eating the rubber and you really had to give them time to take in the soft bait.  Early hook sets resulted in a half pulled off worm from the off set hook and no fish.  Patience in letting the fish swim with the rubber was imperative.  We located all of our bass in and around milfoil beds that were in 10' to 15' of water on a hard bottom.  When fishing gets tough, then always slow it down.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

of mighty and minuscule

Hi Folks, Ran a fly client in a canoe yesterday afternoon for smallmouth bass. Really has warmed up this week.  Hot and humid all week it looks like.  Not great trout fishing weather, but sure mighty fine for tugging on smallmouth.  The surface temperature of the lake we fished was 74 degrees.  Very little wind to speak of.  It seems to me that when the surface temperature eclipses 70 degrees and the air is heavy, the top water bite really takes off.  We cast a #6 chartreuse rubber legged popper and never changed flies.  We fish of all size classes eat the fly.  We hooked a legitimate 20" plus smallmouth off a rock ledge with some weeds that was a monster!  Lost it on the second jump.  The interesting part was that the bass sucked in the fly like a small fish.  You had no clue how big it was until it came out of the water and then it was game on.  I bark at guests all the time about treating every fish the same in how you hook and play them.  Builds good habits.  Also, very important to put maximum pressure on a big fish.  Meaning find the taper of the your fly rod and bend it.  So, we did catch a lot of other bass in varying size ranges.  Interestingly enough, the small fish crushed the popper and the big boys and girls were subtle takes.  Funny hooking 20" fish to 5" fish.  good sign for the lake as you know it is helathy with all age and size classes.  Off to chase smallmouth again this afternoon.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy