Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Watch out fish, these boys are in town

Hi Folks, Heck of Sunday and Monday guiding for the Catfish.  Mixed up the fishing between lake and river fishing.   The river fishing was a lot more productive than on the still water front.  Terribly hot Sunday with a bit of a cool down on Monday.  We avoided thunderstorms as they seemed to be south of where I was guiding up north.  Sunday morning the lake we visited had a surface temperature of 69 degrees with very little wind.  Big bright sun made the fishing tough.  I have found on this particular place that a little chop with over cast is ideal.  The fishing was most productive for the first couple hours of light.  It was a combination trip with fly and spin fishing.  We had some large smallmouth come to a surface fly, but the action was limited.  A black deer hair fly drew the most interest as the bright colors were largely ignored.  It appears that the bass are now in a post spawn mode on this body of water.  We did have some fun catching pan fish with a silver beetle spin tipped with a root beer colored Mr. Twister.  In the afternoon, things turned around as we caught a lot of healthy river smallmouth bass. Water temperature was 72 degrees.  Incredible for the end of May.  We landed 10 smallmouth casting and stripping a #6 cream colored bunny bugger with a red cone head and a #8 white zonker.  We did have a large salmon swipe at the cone head bugger without hooking it.  Never saw the salmon come back again.  In the morning I revisited the same river with different fly clients and a young spin angler.  After the evening rain, the water cooled off to 68 degrees, but flows were still the same.  We caught almost 20 smallmouth and a nice healthy steel head as well losing a couple land locked salmon in 12" to 14" class.  Cone headed muddler minnows stripped and drifted worked extremely well.  The water is so low and clear you could see most of the takes.  My spin angler kept casting a small brown trout rapala and could not miss.  I think it looked like a young salmon per to the fish.  Really good fishing!  Been getting on the water at sunrise and fishing into dark.  Looks like the weather is changing back to more seasonal temperatures and we should see some cooler night which will help with lowering water temperatures.  On the insect front still seeing lots and lots of #14 caddis hatching in the morning and a few fish rising to them.  There have been a few sporadic #10/#12 March Browns throughout the day.  At dusk there have been #14/#16  sulhurs hatching as well as egg laying caddis and some #14 rusty spinners.  Floating in the drift boat tomorrow, should be fun.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, May 28, 2016

breakfast with caddis and dinner with sulphurs

Hi Folks, Too darn hot! Had the pleasure of guiding the Lamoille early am and a trib. of the river in the pm.  Water temperatures have really spiked.  Unusually hot with low water has really warmed up our rivers and brooks.  The main stem of the Lamoille this morning was 64 degrees and the trib. I was on tonight was 68 to 69 degrees.  Pretty warm for this time of the year.  Yet, the trout fishing is still pretty decent.  Saw a really nice hatch of #14 caddis the last two mornings on the Lamoille.  You could see the fish rising just in the surface film eating emerging bugs. Still been a few large #10 March Brown Duns in the morning as well as #14 Grey Fox spinner.  The trout that I have observed eating near the surface are oriented to the caddis.  We landed a beauty of a measured 16" wild bow on a #10 Red Fox Squirrel nymph.  We were tight line swinging it.  Also, landed another 5 wild rainbows on a #14 George Slaughter Style green caddis pupa.    Had several fish rise on a #16 green soft hackle that was the dropper off a x-caddis. Don't care what anyone says, wild trout are the way to go. They fight so much better than stocked fish and are truly beautiful.  Tonight spent the evening on nice small stream with all 3 species.  We landed 7 small native brook trout and 1 wild brown.  Lost a decent brown trout and hooked another nice fish on #16 sulphur dun at dark.  There were a number of #14 yellow sallies hatching throughout the afternoon.  Saw some caddis activity, but mostly egg layers at dusk, and then suphurs at dark.  Found a good rising fish and after few casts hooked and lost it after it made a run.  Exciting way to conclude the day.  We need rain.  Off to chase bass in am and small streaming it in the pm.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, May 27, 2016


Hi Folks, Ran the boat twice yesterday guiding in the morning and evening for bass.  Fished with spin gear in the morning and cast flies in the afternoon.  Feels like summer with air temps. in the 80's.  The sun is really intense right now.  Water temperatures have warmed significantly in the last couple of weeks with surface temperatures between 64 and 68 degrees.  Very little wind yesterday which was nice.  Did see a few spawning beds yesterday with some big smallmouth holding over top of them.  Fished an all smallmouth (smb)lake in the morning and combination of smb and largemouth bass (lmb) in the afternoon.  The surface fishing was non-existent in the morning and pretty good in the afternoon.  With the water being so low, the spawning beds I could see were in deeper water than previous years.  Many of the smb were holding in deeper water betweem 10' and 15'.  We did have a number of fish chase our offerings out into deeper water where I had the boat positioned. In the end we had to put a 5" green colored Senko on and good things began to happen.  We landed 7 smallmouth and missed a lost a few others.  The afternoon was slow for the first couple of hours and the picked up as the sun went down.  We got largemouth and smallmouth to eat a black deer hair surface fly.  We had a few fish come and investigate a frog popper but they all turned off.  The color change and profile change seemed to make the difference.  Kinda of fun fishing a lake where you not sure if a smb or lmb will eat your fly.  Off to chase trout this morning.  With the current weather pattern and early and late are the ticket.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

dusk and dawn

Hi Folks, Been guiding the Lamoille the last couple of days.  Water is pretty low for this time of the year.  Water temperatures are maintaining, but may be not for long. The river has been between 61 and 64 degrees the last two days.  We have some warm days ahead of us and the nights are slowly warming up.  Get your licks in now because the water might be too low and warm to trout fish sooner versus later.  We need sustained rain.  Anyway, the trout fishing at dusk the last few days has been pretty good.  On bright warm days the trout fishing is slow except at dawn and dusk. Dusk can always be good for rising fish yet it can pose issues with too warm of water temperatures on the big rivers.  Lots of #14 caddis hatching the last two days late in the afternoon to dark.  We had 4 trout eat an #14 x-caddis tonight.  There have been a few may flies the last couple of days, but not many.  A few random #10/#12 March Browns duns and spinners and a few of the larger #14 sulphur at dark.  We have been nymphing  heavier water under brighter conditions and fishing dry flies in slower pools at dusk.  A #14 olive wire wiggle dub caddis has been productive as well as the good old #12 and #14  pheasant tail nymph.  I like the spring trout fishing on the larger rivers i.e Lamoille and Winooski in the sense that you get a crack at some larger wild fish and especially on dries.  Problem being that they can warm up too fast.  Off to chase bass all day tomorrow.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, May 23, 2016

weird weekend of fishing

Hi Folks, Had a full slate of guiding this weekend fly fishing for river trout and chasing bass in pike in my boat.  Friday and Saturday were blue bird warm sunny days.  Sunday' s fishing was postponed due to heavy rain with hail and thunderstorms.  River temperatures have finally reached 60 degrees and there has been lots of bug activity.  #10/#12 March Browns are now emerging throughout the day as well a fair number of #14 Hendrickson spinners at dusk, with a few #14 sulphurs coming off as well.  Rocks in heavy riffles are loaded with cased caddis that getting ready to pop.  The caddis are #16 and olive green in color.  We did catch few wild rainbows dead drifting a black leech.  The trout seem to have been hunkered down under the bright sun and really become active at dusk.  On the lake front, the fishing was pretty challenging on Saturday.  Once again big bright sun was the theme until late in the day.  Was a full moon which often makes me wonder if the fish do not do a lot of feeding after dark.  We did see a few spawning beds and they appeared to have been made by smallmouth bass.  The water temperature was 62 degrees and with the full moon I would have expected to see some spawning activity.  There will be another big push of spawning in June during the full moon.  No one species in the wild will reproduce all at once.  If that was the case then they would have a difficult time not becoming extinct during certain years of distress.  We did spot a few bass cruising around in deeper water and they were not interested in eating.  Noticed that a percentage of the spawning beds I saw were in deeper water than previous years. This is due the lack of rain and low water we are experiencing.  We did catch a pike in 20' of water and had a few bass crush a top water a #6 black and red deer hair fly.  However, for this time of the year the fishing was slow.  Well never discouraged and always moving forward not backwards.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, May 20, 2016

the new ride

Hi Folks, Made the maiden journey with the new NRS drift boat yesterday afternoon.  Floated the Lamoille where water level was below the seasonal average and the temperature was 59 degrees.  Sunny afternoon with increasing clouds and thunderstorms that moved in during the prime time for rising fish.  The last hour of light we were greeted with an ominous looking storm.  I was very impressed with easily the boat handled and drifted effortlessly through some really skinny water.  We saw a number of insects yesterday afternoon from #14/#16 Hendrickson spinner, to a few #14 sulphurs at dusk, to #10/#12 March Browns during the day, to a few #14/#16 caddis, and even a large #12 midge.  The high light was the last part of the day with tons of egg laden may fly spinners during their mating dance over riffles.  They were all beginning to fall when the thunderstorms moved.  We did get one rising fish to eat a dry.  For most of the afternoon we cast olive bodied buggers and leech patterns. It was interesting how certain pools just showed no sign of life.  Lots of instability and sediment up and down the Lamoille.  A lot of dead water with a few stable pools for wild fish.  We did hook several wild fish in an isolated piece of water swinging a olive bugger with a #14 pheasant tail nymph.  It was a very enjoyable afternoon floating and a great way to see a variety of water types for fly fishing.  I am off to guide today for trout wading.  Should be good.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

looking for lake run fish

Hi Folks, Good cold front moved into Stowe Sunday and we had snow on the ground briefly on Monday morning.  Wanted to run the new drift boat the last two days but the recent rain puffed up the Lamoille pretty well.  Not to mention the steady wind that blew 15mph to 25mph.  Changed directions and went into the kingdom to several rivers that receive runs of lake run steelhead and landlocked salmon.  Only one of the two steelhead rivers was fishable.  Water temperature was 49 degrees and the color was slightly off.  I like stained water for steelhead fishing.  We drifted egg patterns that resembled sucker roe with little results.  Two suckers were landed which certainly were not the target species. After a while we moved to chase landlocked salmon and found a lot better shape water but more anglers.  Water temperature was 51 degrees and the clarity was excellent.  Of course this stream is dam controlled so the effects of the rain had not impacted when we were fishing. Cast, drifted, and stripped big smelt patterns. A #6 white with a pearl body Zonker drew the interest of a very large salmon that chased the fly to my feet and turned off.  Talk about getting your heart rate up.  I patiently changed my fly to a #8 Black Ghost and within a dozen casts got the salmon to look again but he refused to eat.  Damn it!!!!   Oh well, we did tug on a few salmon per and caught a small bass.  I think the salmon will hang around for awhile as long as water temperatures do not warm too quickly.  The lake run fisheries of the kingdom can be a lot of fun and present the opportunity to catch a fish of a lifetime in Vermont.  They are just not easy and you cant expect to do well fishing them if you do not fish them daily to at least several times a week.  Fish come and go and you need to be on it when it is happening.  Look like the weather is about to turn beautiful and the trout fishing should be solid.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, May 15, 2016

massive hatch on Lamoille

Hi Folks, Guided the Lamoille yesterday afternoon and was greeted with a fantastic hatch of a #14 may fly.  I assumed it was a #14/#16 Hendrickson, but upon closer investigation it appeared to be a #12/#14 Quill Gordon.  I even looked in my entomology books when I got home to confirm.  Not a hatch I have witnessed a lot in my guiding and fly fishing career in Vermont.  All the same, the bugs came off in giant numbers.  There was also a few #14 brown stone flies, and a #16 dark bodied caddis later in the afternoon.  Only saw a handful of rises and they were not consistent.  The water level was up a bit from the previous days, but still below the seasonal average.  Water temperature was 58 degrees.  We hooked 4 trout swinging nymphs and emergers.  All of the fish ate the fly in the slower pools that were fed by large riffles.  The fly of the day was a #14 flashback pheasant tail.  We drifted and swung double fly rigs with a #12 double tungsten stone fly nymph and the pheasant tail as the dropper.  Added a piece of weight a foot above the flies to keep them down in the strike zone.  The Lamoille has now been stocked.  Still I prefer to chase wild trout over stocked fish any day of the week.  A cold front has moved in for the next few days.  Could snow in higher elevations tonight.  Will warm back up by mid week.  I will be running my new drift over the next few days.  Should be fun.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, May 14, 2016


Hi Folks Guided Thursday afternoon for river trout with the fly rods. Big blue sky with bright sunny conditions.  Not exactly ideal for trout fishing, but I'll take it coming out of winter and early spring.  Water levels are still scary low.  We did receive some rain yesterday, but we could use some more.  It was fun afternoon with one my repeat guests as we organized flies and did a little recon work on some local trout streams.  Water temperatures in the small brooks was 56 to 57 degrees and the larger river was 59 to 60 degrees.  Did see a few dark bodied #16 caddis hatching and lots of caddis casing on tops of rocks in riffles.  Meaning they are preparing to hatch any day.  Saw an okay hatch of #14 Gray Fox.  A crawling mayfly that resides in heavy riffles.  Not one trout rising to eat a dry or an emerger.  We caught one tiny brook trout on a #12 black stone fly nymph.  Water levels and temps. were ideal and we could not get fish to eat.  A real mystery.  Prior to getting on the water we organized my guests fly boxes.  Separated them by surface or dry flies and sub surface or wet flies and streamers.  Also, then separated them by imitators and attractors.  Makes figuring out your fly selection a little easier.  Pretty easy to keep buying flies and new fly boxes without always knowing what you have or need.  Will be trout fishing today, should be good., we will see.  #14/#16 Hendricksons, #14 Grey Fox, #10/#12 March Browns, #14/#16 caddis all good patterns to fish presently.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

old marble eye

Hi Folks, Ran the boat yesterday morning with clients in pursuit of walleye.  We drifted a lower large river for walleyes on their spawning run.  The water was up a bit from Sundays 1/4" of rain.  Water color was slightly off, which is a good thing in my opinion for chasing any lake run fish.  It was a cold morning with snow showers early on.  Good stiff north west wind that actually was pushing my boat up stream against the current.  I do not typically harvest very many fish.  Probably 95% of the fish we catch during guiding are released.  However, it is hard to pass up a fresh walleye dinner.  Nice eating fish.  We drifted brightly colored 1/4oz. jigs tipped with large crawlers and pulled perch colored Green Mt. Grabbers.  The jigs were the ticket.  Hot pink in particular. I like walleye fishing in May and I find it challenging.  Puts me a little out of my element as a fly angler and guide.  Still I guide plenty of spin fishing trips and it was how I learned to fish prior to picking up a fly rod.  I have found that the walleyes like deep holes, soft edges, eddies, and out of the main current and light.  A lot of the same principals that are used in finding trout in rivers.  This is just on a larger scale. Looks the weather is finally warming and the trout fishing should go nuts.  Looking forward to it.  Look for #16/#18 Blue Quills, #20 Olives, #14/#16 Hendricksons, #16 Grannoms, and #14 green apple bodied caddis.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, May 9, 2016

Lots of bugs

Hi Folks, Spent some time on trout streams over the weekend.  Pretty weird weather with a beautiful Friday and Saturday with air temperatures in the high 60's. Sunday was a return to early April weather with air time temps. barely eclipsing 50 degrees.  Water temperatures had a wide range as well with the rivers I walked reaching 55 on Saturday to 49 degrees yesterday.  Got some much needed rain yesterday.  Witnessed a really good #14/#16 Hendrickson hatch Friday and Saturday with a few #16 caddis mixed in.  The bugs came off strong, but I did not see any fish respond to the may flies.  Yesterday, I saw a really good hatch of #20 tiny olives and a few Hendricksons and once again no fish responding.  Did lose a nice brown trout on a #8 black muddler minnow.  I think the water has just reached 50 degrees and the trout are beginning to tune into the hatches.  I have seen this before in the spring.  The olive hatch yesterday was incredible.  However, the water was slightly off colored and the level was rising.  The trout fishing is only getting better everyday and we are coming into to the time of plenty.  I have been walking streams that are only wild fish so I am not sure about the stocked areas.  Off to chase walleye this morning.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

River fishing

Hi Folks, Guided my first trout trip of the season today fly fishing a river system that experiences lake run fish.  Water temperature was a chilly 44 degrees and the water was high and off colored.  We received some much needed rain the last couple of days. This particular river gets some large brook trout in it in the early spring.  They are chasing down lake run smelt.  It seems that they typically drop out by mid May when the water warms into the mid fifties.  I can tell you the water was cold today because my toes took awhile to come back to life this afternoon.  We swung streamers all day.  Mixed it up between #8 cone headed white muddler , #8 cone headed yellow muddler, and a #6 white zonker.  The zonker was the fly of the day.  We landed 1 16" brook trout and missed 3 other fish.  Our focus was the slower sections of big pools and behind obvious cover.  Lots of casting and drifting.  Still worth it.  Not everyday in Vermont do you catch a big brook trout in a river.  Looks like the weather is about to warm.  Start looking for #14/#16 Hendricksons.  I did see a few may flies on Friday on a Lamoille tributary but I was unable to capture any and get a positive identification.  Walleye season begins this Saturday.  Now things are really starting to get going on fronts.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, May 2, 2016

Good Mojo with teeth

Hi Folks, My 2016 guiding season began yesterday with my first trip of the season.  We visited a Champlain Valley hot spot for northern pike on the fly.  Nice overcast morning with in coming rain.  The day started out calm but the wind did pick up from the south west throughout the morning.  Water temperature was 54 degrees.  I think water temps. between 50 degrees and 55 degrees is ideal for northern fishing.  Big pike are truly cold water fish.  We located all of our fish in 7' to 12' of water in around downed wood, rock and newly forming weed beds.  The first hour of fishing was slow as we cast a 3/0 black and white bunny bugger.  We had no response on the fly pattern and changed to a 1/0 red and white bunny bugger cast on a 9wt. RIO pike fly line.  It did not take long before we started to see toothy critters.  We had one follow, missed one fish, and landed 5 healthy pike.  It was my clients first pike on fly.  Always fun turning people onto new species on the fly rods.  The techniques that was most productive was allowing the fly to sink and then working in slowly with long strips back to the boat.  The takes seemed to get more pronounced as the morning progressed.  Tomorrow I am off to guide my first trout trip of the season.  Looks like wet for the next couple of days.  Perfect, we need it.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy