Sunday, June 28, 2015

Vexed by the Hex

Hi Folks,  Ran the boat last night for the Hex hatch on one of my favorite northeast kingdom lakes.  A slight east wind greeted us.  A prelude of things to come and fore shadowing of the big rain that is on top of us today.  Need rain like a hole in the head at the moment.  Surface temperature was 65 degrees and I am sure a few feet down the water was much cooler.  We searched for the giant mayfly in several spots where brooks entered the lake and created a bottom of sediment.  The Hexagenia is a burrowing may fly and it emerges from soft bottoms at dark typically.  Spinner falls happen early am around mid night to 4am.  Truly a hatch for the night owl and for large rising trout.  We finally located a good number of hatching bugs around 9:30pm.  Not much for rising fish.  A few sporadic pushes of water, but no consistency to the rising activity.  The dun emergence was pretty short lived.  We did nymph for awhile, but were only greeted with a few pecks from perch.  The Hex hatch is spectacular to witness, but can be very challenging to fish.  Oh well. not the first time I have been stymied while Hex fishing.  Risk and reward.  Well, hopefully the rain will not be as bad as forecasted and our rivers will not get blown out.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Blue Sky

Hi Folks, Had the pleasure of guiding a young man yesterday for a full day of teaching the art of fly fishing.  Blue Sky (great Allman Brothers tune) everywhere.  Too bad it looks like big rain for Sunday. The Lamoille and Winooski are just coming around and they will probably get blown out again.  We fished the Winooski watershed.  The larger stream we started on was slightly high but clear and a pleasant 58 degrees.  We swung a #8 cone head yellow muddler initially and landed several fall fish as well as missed a few good strikes.  As the sun came up high in the sky we nymphed with a #10 olive/black wooly bugger under an indicator.  We landed 2 nice rainbows with one being a 12" wild fish and the other a 12" stocked trout.  Even my young aspiring fly angler could tell the difference in the how the fish fought and looked when landed.  After some fun in the big water we moved to a small mountain brook where the water temperature was 53 degrees.  Really good tree canopy and shade to hide that big blu sky.  Water was high but pretty darn clear.  We fished up stream with big bushy #10 stimulators in orange and crushed the brook trout.  Lots of fish coming to the fly.  We landed well over brightly colored brook trout.  Brook trout are aggressive, but they do wise up to your fly when you miss them.  They will rise again to inspect the fly, but more often than not they do not eat it the second and third time around.  Who said fish do not have memory?  So, off to chase the Hex hatch tonight.  Hopefully the weather holds.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, June 26, 2015


Hi Folks, Had a really nice afternoon teaching a client from the UK how to fly fish.  People from across the pond love coming to Vermont to fish.  Lots of water that can be accessed and enjoyed by all.  Unlike in the UK, where most trout water is privately owned.  So, we fished a small high mountain trout stream for native brook trout.  Water temperature was 53 degrees and the clarity was okay.  Water level is still up.  The Lamoille and Winooski are shaping up nicely as their levels recede.  Unfortunately, it appears that we are going to get hammered with more rain on Sunday.  The trout were pretty darn yesterday day as we had more fish come to the fly than I can count.  Cast a large #10 orange stimulator.  What a great fly pattern!  The larger brook trout came from eddies and the strikes were pretty explosive.  It is fun wearing polarized glasses in small brooks as you can often spot fish and certainly see them emerge to your fly.  Speaking of emergence, there was a decent #16 tan bodied caddis hatching pretty consistently at dusk, but we did not see any trout respond to them.  I would like to say that hatches are rather insignificant in small brook fishing in Vermont.  Large, bushy, attractor patterns that you and the fish can see are the way to go.  Beautiful afternoon on the water and I am off to do it all over again today.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Thursday, June 25, 2015

dirty water, no problem

Hi Folks, Ran the boat yesterday morning with clients chasing smallmouth bass.  The body of water we fished is still high from all of the recent rains and slightly off color.  Surface temperature was 66 degrees.  Lots of debris in the water and you need to pay attention when motoring the boat around.  Had no impact on the fishing as we had a really good morning surface bite.  A big front had pushed through a steady west wind provided a few challenges on locations to fish.  We surface fished pretty close to shore line cover with fire tiger poppers for the first couple of hours of the morning.  The fish were in tight with the levels still up.  Though we still focused on points and rocky areas.  Smallmouth can occupy a variety of niches in a lake and in large part it has to do with whether they are the top line predator.  In this lake they are the big dog along with large brown trout.  In lakes with pike and walleye and other toothy critters they might get pushed off into deeper water to shoals and reefs.  Also, the forage base can prompt where they might be holding.  I have determine that I am a skinny water angler and big smallies can be caught in less than 15' of water at certain times of year and day.  I hate deep water jigging and carolina rig fishing, boring.  After the top water bite slowed yesterday morning and the sun got high in the sky we resorted to finesse fishing with some soft plastics in the 5" range.  The fish were all over the rubber.  We ended up landing 18 smallies yesterday morning.  Good day on the water.  Off to chase trout today and tomorrow.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

wet all over but feeling good

Hi Folks, Ran a big trip yesterday morning in the pouring rain and then taught a fly fishng clinic in the afternoon yesterday.  Well, wished for rain and now I believe we are on the precipice of setting a record for June rain fall in this neck of the woods.  Big rivers went up significantly once again yesterday.  We got on the water very early as the rain set in, so we had a window of opportunity to fish a larger river before it became totally blown out.  Water temperature was 60 degrees and the water clarity was off.  We fished lots of floating Rapalas in perch, fire tiger, black/gold, and black/ white in some larger primary pools and a few fish chase down the plugs.  However, the moment we slowed down our approach and dead drifted 3" Senkos on #2 Octopus hooks the game changed a bit.  Landed 4 rainbows and 1 brown trout on the Senkos.  Pretty interesting in that the soft rubber Senko is designed for bass.  We did hook several bass but were unable to land them.  Tough conditions to fish in, but my guests were troopers and endured.  In the afternoon, I taught a young man and his friend how to cast a fly rod.  I donated the clinic to the Make a Wish Foundation.  Every season I donate a trip or two to causes I feel worthy and this was a good one.  The young man and his friend will be traveling to Montana in several weeks to fly fish.  I hope that my instruction was helpful and useful and that they catch some nice trout on their Western fly fishing foray.  I am off to run the boat for bass this morning.  Good steady northwest wind, uggh.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Top water bite

Hi Folks, Ran my boat with clients yesterday morning chasing smallmouth bass.  Lots of rain again over the weekend has blown out our streams.  I guess I got what I wished for when I wanted it to rain, but the entire month of June has been awfully wet.  I have not been able to get near the Lamoille or Winooski for several weeks now due to high flows and poor clarity. So, my boat is getting a lot of work.  Surface temperature was 66 degrees and the conditions were did calm flat at 5:30am yesterday morning.  A few heavy rain showers moved in and out throughout the morning.  By around 9:00am you could feel the change in the weather as the front was passing through and the wind really picked up.  The popper the was the lure of the day yesterday.  Really good surface bite.  We had well over a dozen fish look up to eat.  Fire tiger was the most productive color.  I think in large part that was due to the water being pretty stained and off color.  We located smallmouth on the first significant drop off from the shore line in 8' to 12' of water.  A good percentage of the fish were set up off of large rocks and downed wood.  We did fish a bit of rubber and picked off a few bass, but the soft plastics bite was not fast and furious.  My take is he fish were probably having a hard time picking on the rubber worm in the dirty water.  As the front pushed through the bite did slow.  I am off to take a large group fishing this morning.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, June 20, 2015


Hi Folks, Been a little chilly the last couple of mornings on the water.  Ran the boat on Friday morning and did a full day with the fly rods for trout today.  A big cold front that pushed in early Friday morning   has cooled thing down.  The morning air temperature today was 41 degrees at 5:30am when I meet my guests.  The river temperature was 52 degrees and the brook we visited mid day was 54 degrees.  Lake temperatures on Friday morning was 65 degrees.  You could feel the air temperatures drop as the morning progressed and the wind from the northeast really picked up.  We worked for our takes.  Had 3 large bass take the surface popper which we worked aggressively and had one decent northern chase a big 2/0 red/white bunny bugger to the boat.  All of the fish we located were holding in10' to 12' of water off or in large weed beds.  The trout fishing today was a little more steady.  We located a pod of rising fish in long gentle run.  It took a while to figure out what they were eating.  There were big gulps in the heavier part of the run and really subtle rise forms in the slow glassy pool.  Rising fish in slow water have a Phd. in studying your fly and drift.  Presentation is every thing, not necessarily always the fly tied on the tippet.  We got 5 of the fish to eat casting a #14 Klinkhammer and a #18 Henryville special.  The trout slammed the may fly pattern in the heavier water and sipped the caddis imitation in the softer, slower water.  Prior to locating rising fish we cast and swung a #8 white zonker and a #10 cone head yellow muddler minnow.  Missed several fish and landed a nice jumping smallmouth that puckered a 4wt.  We spent the afternoon chasing trout in small water.  Lots of steady action from 4" to 9" wild bows and native brookies.  A #10 yellow foam terrestrial pattern worked very well.  Most of the bows came from the faster parts of the run and the brookies in the slower pools.  The water is so clear in this brook that you often see the trout emerge from in front of a rock to grab the dry fly or swim  out from underneath a cut bank to to eat.  Good fun on slow 2wt. and 3wt. outfits.  It felt nice in the shady brook as the sun really was bright midday and heated things up a bit.  Running the boat in the morning.  Hopefully the weather will hold.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Beautiful brookies

Hi Folks, Been guiding small water for native brook trout the last couple of days.  Water levels are still, but the clarity is fine in the small brooks.  The Lamoille and Winooski are dropping slowly but surely but still pretty high to fish effectively.  However, I prefer the small streams when the levels are high as the larger trout tend to show themselves.  Water temperatures have maintained from 52 degrees to 55 degrees the last few days.  My clients have been putting on a clinic with the native brook trout.  Catching some pretty decent sized brookies that are just fired up with color.  Not to mention the high elevations brooks they reside in are magnificent places to cast a fly.  Size is a relative thing on a small stream.  Gauge your tackle accordingly.  4" to 12" brook trout are good fun in moving water when caught on dry flies with short 2wt. and 3wt. outfits.  The fly the last couple days that has been extremely productive has been a #12 rusty colored Klinkhammer.  In the higher water, mending is pretty important in order to drew interest.  Slowing the fly down with high stick, up stream and down stream mends give the fish ample time to see the fly and respond to it.  I like to tell guests to fish only your leader and use the rod tip to steer the fly through the multiple currents.  Long casts are not needed, just accurate casting.  So, until the big water settles, I will continue to run the boat on lakes fish trout in small environments.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Being flexible

Hi Folks, Lots of rain in the last week.  Always tough in the guiding arena when you river fish.  Guided a full day yesterday on a local watershed.  Lost 3 trips over the last week due to blown out conditions on our rivers.  The Lamoille and Winooski are still too high to fish effectively.  The small streams are high but clear and are in very good shape for fishing.  Oe nice thing with the current weather is that things have remained cool and our water temperatures are perfect.  It was 55 degrees to 57 degrees yesterday on the brook and stream we visited.  Water clarity was okay but not perfect.  Over cast all day with a few showers.  We began the day chasing brook trout and had well over 30 fish come to the fly.  Large #10 and #12 royal rubber legged stimulators and large #10 Wulff patterns drew lots of interest from our native brook trout population.  All of the fish were in the soft water that was at least knee deep.  Brookies can hold in a variety of spots in small mountain streams as water temperature is not an issue.  All about energy efficiency and not getting picked off by a predator.  We moved down in the watershed in order to catch a few larger fish.  We did have one large brown come to fly and landed several more brookies on #12 Royal Wulffs and a #14 green foam bodied dry.  Moving further down river the water conditions deteriorated a bit as the water was higher and more off color.   Swinging #8 White Zonkers and dead drifting a #10 heavily weighted wooly bugger produced stocked rainbows and one nice 13" wild bow.  Big difference in how the wild fish versus the stocked fish fight.  I guess I just prefer wild trout as I feel like the stockers fight like a wet paper towel on the end of the line.  Plus, much more gratifying catching a real trout.  Anyway, will be attempting to dodge the weather thenext few days and get some rive fishing in.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, June 12, 2015

Figuring it out

Hi Folks,  Ran the boat again yesterday with a spin client for smallouth bass.  Big rivers Lamoille and Winooski are still too high and dirty to trout fish.  The small tribs. are in decent shape though the flow is higher than average.  That could change as the forecast is calling for heavy rain tonight.  I knew the precipitation would catch up with us!  So, surface temperature was 69 degrees to 70 degrees with sunny skies and a steady southwest wind.  We got on the water at 5:30am to enjoy some low light.  The water is still very high and clarity was okay.  We chased smallies with poppers, a tiny torpedo, and floating perch rapala n the early morning and the bite was fairly slow.  We landed one small bass and a 2lb smallie off a downed birch.  We decided that slowing down our approach was the way to go.  So, the 4" green with red flake Senko on a #2 Red worm hook changed the day.  We proceeded to land 15 smallmouth with the soft plastic rig.  We went after several large bass that I had spotted on a earlier trip and were able to catch them.  One of the fish was beautiful 18" smallmouth that had a worm hook in its mouth from being previously caught and I removed it.  It was interesting detecting some of the takes because the wind was making it tough to control the fishing line.  The fish were picking up the worm and swimming to the boat every time so it made it challenging to detect the subtle takes.  All about rod positioning and line control.  Fishing often requires adjusting tactics to catch fish in varying conditions.  Attempting to run the boat this afternoon.  See what the weather brings.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Thursday, June 11, 2015

fly fishing in the trees

Hi Folks, Ran the boat yesterday afternoon with fly clients.  We chased smallmouth bass in a local lake where the water level was extremely high.  Surface temperature was 65 to 67 degrees.  A slight southwest wind with partly cloudy skies.  Several inches of rain from Sunday night through Tuesday have affected our water levels in lakes and especially rivers.  The Lamoille and Winooski will be several days away from being fishable.  Small streams have cleared but are still very high.  Certain small brooks will be manageable by today.  The water was so high where we cast our flies to the shoreline was indistinguishable.  You could not pick out the points and under water structure. It was helpful to have a good working knowledge of the lake.  We landed 5 smallmouth and missed another half a dozen fish.  All pretty good sized bass.  I did notice that most of the fish did come from downed wood.  We cast large poppers in in Chartreuse tied on #2 hook.  Larger than I would normally cast at smallies but the conditions with dirty high water dictated it.   Also, the flies had deep concave faces to help emit a louder popping sound.  I was pleased with the bass fishing after the weather we had experienced the las few days.  Off to run the boat again this morning for smallmouth.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, June 8, 2015


Hi Folks, Found the trout fishing to be tough the past two guiding Saturday and Sunday.  Big cold front with rain and very cool night time air temperatures.  The tribs. I walked Saturday and Sunday were both in the low fifties.  51 and 52 degrees respectively.  Probably should have been fishing in the afternoon versus the morning due to cooling air and water temperatures.  Visited the main stem of the Lamoille yesterday after small streaming it and it was 57 degrees.  Water was up on the main stem but dropping.  Water is up on the Winooski as well and the clarity is not quite as good as the Lamoille.  Pretty good rain this morning and with more expected this afternoon, should keep the big rivers up for a few days.  Really good hatch yesterday morning of a #14 olive bodied caddis and a #16 tan bodied caddis.  Lots of bugs and no damn fish responding.  Walked over some good consistent stable pools with a very competent fly angler and we could not buy a strike.  At least the cool air temperatures and higher water should set us up nicely for any hatches of #8/#10 Brown Drakes as well as consistent hatches of sulphurs at dusk.  Well, bass are spawning or are all done and beginning to disperse for the summer holding areas.  Looks like a warmer week in store with plenty off water in our rivers now.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, June 7, 2015

changing directions

Hi Folks, Pretty crazy weather change from Friday to Saturday.  I guided a family program Friday and fly fished with a guest yesterday.  It went from warm and a bit humid to wet and cold over night.  Had to cover certain plant in the vegetable garden last night.  The fishing on Friday was very good.  Water temperature was 62 degrees under over cast skies.  We caught all sots of fish from the bank of a local lake.  Rainbow trout, perch, suckers, sunfish, and bullhead all were landed.  Kept it pretty simple with beetle spins and lures.  The Lamoille on Friday was on the mark with trout rising to blind fished dry flies.  Large #12 Ausable Wulffs had the interest of the stocked trout as they pounded the dry fly.  I was looking forward to fishing the Lamoille Saturday morning with my client prior to the big heavy rain we received in Stowe Friday night.  The big rivers are once again unfishabale for a few days as their levels went up significantly. We fished a small tributary of the Winooski that was high but clear.  We landed brook trout including a nice 10" male.  We worked for the half a dozen fish that came to the #10 Ausable Wulff, but we had to in the high water.  The water temperature was a chilly 52 degrees.  All of the trout were holding in the soft water off the man current or in the tail outs of some of the larger pool. No luke nymphing yesterday morning but it is not all bad when the fish only eat dry flies.  Off to chase river trout again this morning and will be fishing smaller water.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, June 5, 2015

Chasing landlocked salmon

Hi Folks, Guided on north with the fly rods yesterday in pursuit of Landlocked Salmon.  Had the river to our selves which was really nice.  Big bright sunny day so we got on the water in the early am.  River level was twice the average flow but clear.  Water temperature ranged from 59 degrees to 61 degrees. Good hatch all morning of #16 olive bodies caddis.  We saw a few small fish rise to the bugs, but no big boys.  My guess is that the heavy flows and bright sun kept the larger fish down and not willing to rise to bugs.  We lost one large salmon right off the get go.  The fish pulled hard and jumped and tossed the fly.  We were fishing a 6wt. out fit with a sinking tip casting a #8 white zonker and a cone headed muddler minnow.  We did see a large school of emerald shiners all balled up in an eddy but no predators crashing into them.  We landed 5 good sized smallmouth on streamers and a fall fish.  We did nymph fish with a #12 tungsten prince and #16 olive wire caddis under indicator.  landed one small salmon and missed a few fish.  In my opinion there are not a lot of salmon in the river currently.  On the Lamoille and Winooski front the fishing should very good this weekend.  Water has just come down from the rain and the tempratures are perfect.  Look for #14/#16 sulphurs at dusk, and #16 caddis in the morning and evening.  Off to chase bass. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Thursday, June 4, 2015

much needed rain and spawning bass

Hi Folks, Ran the boat yesterday afternoon on a local lake with a fly client for smallmouth bass.  Nice day after several days of rain.  All of our rivers are now above seasonal average flow and are slowly but surely dropping in level.  The Lamoille and Winooski are still a day or two away from being manageable to fish.  All of the tributaries are in great shape.  Along with the rain came a big cold front which dropped air temperatures and water temperatures significantly.  Bodes well for river fishing for trout for the next couple of weeks.  On the lake yesterday the water temperature was 66 degrees on the surface with a slight west breeze.  The water clarity was good as we could sight a lot of the smallmouth coming to eat our surface presentations.  There were a percentage of male bass protecting spawning beds and we made an effort to not fish these bass.  These bass will take your fly really gently and subtly and move it off the bed and spit it out.  Pretty interesting to see and you would not know what happened if you did not see the fish move the fly.  The fish we caught were all post spawn and slammed the fly very aggressively.  Good fun watching them rise from 10' of water to eat andthen get air time.  We landed 5 smallmouth with a #2 white rubber legged slider fly.  Probably missed and lost another 10 fish.  Pretty steady action.  I am off to chase landlocked salmon today with the fly rods.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy