Wednesday, August 31, 2016

pounding away

Hi Folks, Been guiding away chasing smallmouth bass in rivers and lakes the last few days.  Still feels a bit like summer out there but I think a change in the weather is on the way.  Looks like a bit of rain today which sorely needed and air temperatures are cooling off.  Some cool nights would be nice for lower water temperatures in our trout streams.  The water is low everywhere and very clear.  I have noticed in the rivers where I chase smallmouth the fish are beginning to get a bit fussy.  River temperatures have ranged from 69 degrees to 72 degrees.  The lake I ran the boat on yesterday was 72 degrees on the surface with heavy fog early in the morning.  Over the last 3 days we have had to finesse fish the bass.  I have not seen one fish come to an active lure or surface presentation.  4" and 5" Senkos in motor oil, baby bass, and crawfish have all been productive.  Most of my  recent guests have been new to fishing and it is fun watching them figure out the entire process from the cast to presentation, to the drift, to the subtle take, to the aggressive hook set to playing  a jumping fish.  Loads of fun and laughs.  On the river front the bass have been holding tight to cover.  Mostly downed wood and large rocks.  In the lakes the fish have been in deeper water from 15' to 20'  abutting sharp drop offs.  I love the electricity of the rod tip when you hook a decent smallie fishing with rubber.  Hoping for rain and a cool down.  Will be chasing bass for the next few days.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Girl power

Hi Folks, Ran my boat yesterday morning for bass with spin guests.  Beautiful morning of fishing with flat calm conditions and low light until the sun rose.  Water temperature was 72 degrees and the water was gin clear.  I have guided mostly women and young ladies this last week and they have been putting on a fishing clinic.  Let me assure everyone the fish do not care who is holding the spin rod or fly rod.  Our lakes and rivers are low and yes we need rain.  Witnessed an interesting phenomena early in the day as there were large rainbows holding in deep water boiling on bait fish.  You could see their noses poking up out of the water.  It would happen for 30 seconds and then they would disappear.  Saw this happen half a dozen times.  Hard to get close to them to make a cast.  We had nice flat conditions in the early morning with low light.  We took advantage of the conditions and fished top water.  A perch floating Rapala and a bass imitation popper worked well.  We landed a solid 3lb largemouth on the Rapala and had several smallmouth come to the bass popper.  As it became bright we fished below the surface with 5" motor oil colored Senkos.  We focused on milfoil beds in 10' to 15' of water.  The bass photoed was a legitimate 5lb smallmouth.  One of the largest I have seen caught this season.  Not a fish that is caught everyday.  It was a hellluva of a fighter.  Jumped and ripped drag off the reel.  I had to net the beast.  Pretty exciting.  Anyway, we did catch a few other fish on the rubber, just nothing of this magnitude.  Well, the fishing should only get better in the weeks to come as things cool off and we hopefully get some rain.   Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, August 26, 2016

Making rods bend

Hi Folks, Been weathering the heat and humidity by standing in rivers.  Mixed it up the last two days with river fishing for smallmouth bass and fly fishing for wild rainbows and browns on a Winooski tributary.  Water temp. on the smallmouth water was 72 degrees and the trout stream this morning was a very nice 63 degrees.  Water is low and clear and we still need rain.  The bass fishing was pretty straight forward as we dead drifted 3" green and brown Senkos on red hooks.  We landed 8 smallmouth and missed a few.  The bite was fairly subtle but with good line control we managed to stick a few in deeper pools and back eddies.  This morning the trout fishing was pretty darn good with all of the fish caught on a dry fly.  A #12 Royal Wulff to be exact.  One 14" plus bow jumped 6 times.  Landed 5 wild bows and 1 wild brown.  Missed a few as we had trout coming out of the water and back down on the fly.  Really fun in clear water to watch fish launch to the surface to eat.  Not much for hatching bugs.  Seeing a few #18/#20 yellow bodied caddis, #6-#10 stone fly shucks on rocks, flying ants #14-#22, #18-#22 BWOs, a few #22 Tricos, and lots of different types  of terrestrials.  Off to bass fish this afternoon.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Keeping the spirit alive, plus flying ants

Hi Folks, Since returning from up north I have had the chance to guide young anglers the past two days.  A young budding fly angler from a canoe last night for smallmouth bass and today Boy Scout Troop 94 from Maine for a little river spin fishing for bass.  Pretty warm today and muggy today.  Yesterday was beautiful coming off a cold front that arrived on Monday.  Surface temperature in the lake was 71 degrees and the river temperature today was 72 degrees.  Water levels are still down and we need rain!.  Sun has been bright the last few days.  Yesterday afternoon we had a field day with small smallmouth eating our top water offerings.  A #6 frog popper and a #8 foam popper were the flies of the day.  Did not see really any big fish come to the fly.  We fished all sorts of cover and structure and spots where the big boys and girls hang.  I think the cold front from the previous day made the bigger bass a bit fussy to come to the surface.  The strikes we did receive from the numerous small fish were when the popper was being worked aggressively out over deeper water.  However, at dark, there was a nice little hatch of some sort of burrowing may fly in the Hex family and the bass begin to rise to it.  We caught our best fish of the afternoon right at the end at dark.  Today I had the pleasure of guiding Boy Scouts.  I am a Eagle Scout and I was turned on to fishing from scouting.  I was able to help four of the kids earn their fishing merit badge.  Every Scout caught a bass today.  I did let them harvest several fish selectively and learning to clean and prepare a fish is part of the badge requirement.  We drifted bass colored Senkos in 3" and 4" sizes with great success.  At the end of the trip the flying ants started to appear after we were in the trucks.  Have your ant patterns handy as they bring everyone to the surface.  Was very nice for me to fly fish with a young man I have guided since he was 6 and who could successfully and effectively deliver the fly while siting.  I was having flash backs all afternoon with the Scouts thinking about my great memories at their stage in fishing.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

back in the game

Hi Folks, Just returned from Labrador fly fishing the Mckenzie River Lodge.  Pretty incredible place in the middle of no where. Literally one of the last true wilderness areas in north america.  Not for the faint of heart.  Challenging but really rewarding fly fishing for 2lb to 7lb brook trout, 5lb to 15lb Ouananiche or landlocked salmon, 8lb to 25lb lake trout, 5lb to 15lb northern pike and lake whitefish that go up to 6lbs.  We sight fished brook trout and few salmon with nymphs under Bomber dry flies.  My favorite rig as I landed some of my best salmon on a #12 red thread tungsten prince nymph.  We twitched mouse fly patterns for violent boils and strikes from angry salmon as well as swung and stripped streamer fly patterns in olive, black, and natural colors.  All catch and release fishing and a place where most of the fish are not afraid of us as they do not recognize people as predators.  Hell of a experience
and one that is logged in my brain for sometime to come.  I am off to chase smallmouth this afternoon with clients.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Heading to Labrador, not quite yet

Hi Folks, Guided one last fishing trip yesterday morning before I leave for Labrador today.  I will be gone from Saturday August 13 to Sunday August 21.  Heading north to Labrador to fly fish for landlocked salmon, brook trout, pike, lake trout, and white fish.  Should be epic.  So, yesterday took a young angler spin fishing for smallmouth bass.  Water temperature was 71 degrees and the water was low and clear.  You could see the fish eat the presentation.  Tough not to set the hook prematurely when you see the smallmouth move to eat your presentation.  A little bit of on and off rain made for good low light fishing.  We landed 9 smallmouth on a 4" Senko swim bait in baby bass.  All of the fish were holding in deeper pools causing back and forth amongst down wood and rocks.  Still really need rain and it looks like we might get some over the next few days.  For hatches, #22-#24 Tricos, #10-#12 Epherons, #18-#20 minor caddis in tan and black, #12 Isonychia, and terrestrials in all shapes and sizes. I will resume my guiding operation when I return to action on Monday August 22.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Thursday, August 11, 2016

not bad

Hi Folks, Been mixing it up with the guiding the last couple of days.  Fly fishing small streams and brooks for native and wild trout as well as bigger water for smallmouth.  The bass fishing had been tricky until yesterday morning when we had some nice low light.  The difference between sun and low light was astronomical.  In the bright sun the smallmouth would come to the fly and turn off.  In the low the light they would come to the fly and commit to eating.  We got smallmouth to eat a #8 chartreuse rubber legged popper on the surface and a #8 picket pin streamer below the surface.  All of the fish were holding in deeper pools that had a mix of wood and rock for cover.  The water temperature was 66 degrees and really low.  The low water certainly has made the fishing challenging.  Still seeing big numbers of #22 Tricos hatching in the morning with massive spinner clouds over riffles around 9am.  Some #18-#20 micro caddis are hatching in the morning as well.  On the trout front, I have been covering a lot of ground on small brooks to get fish to eat.  The brooks we visited Monday and Tuesday were between 57 to 62 degrees.  The water is so low that you really have to make more casts than usual to get the fish to eat.  They simply do not want to move off their holding areas.  Knee deep water up against large rocks that abut riffles have been consistent holding areas.  My clients have been casting #12 green foam hoppers, #12 Royal Wulff, #14 green bodied stimulator, and #14 yellow humpy.  Any terrestrial pattern would be productive currently.  Still really need rain.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, August 8, 2016

A bit challenging

Hi Folks, Been pounding it the last few days for smallmouth bass with clients in lakes and rivers.  We have been fly fishing and spin fishing.  The fishing has been down right slow!  Water temperatures really spiked into the high 70's and then almost 80 degrees on a lake I fished last Friday.  Cold front moves through and I got a reading of 68 degrees this morning on a bass stream and 59 on a brook trout stream.  The lower Lamoille had a weather event on Friday night with a thunderstorm that made it a bit off color.  We fished some sexy water that simply was off.  I have guided these stretches for a number of years and the fish were simply shut down after the front passed.  This morning we watched smallmouth come to the fly both a popper and streamer and turn off over and over again.  Not interested enough to eat it.  Making lots of casts and drifts to hook a couple of fish at best. Funny in fishing how you can one day catch over 50 fish one day and the next barley touch one.  This is why I am no expert and continually trying to get better at my craft.  You never have it totally figured out.  The brook trout fishing was good as they seemed willing to eat dry flies.  A#12 rubber legged foam Trude was effective this morning getting fish to eat.  Well with the cooler weather maybe have the chance to fish some bigger water for trout in the early morning.  Still need rain big time.  Been a good number of #22-#24 Tricos hatching.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Dog days of August

Hi Folks, Been trying to stay cool with the guiding operation over the last few days.  Truly the dog days of August right now. Did a full day yesterday in the boat with aspiring fly anglers and the previous day fly fished a small brook.  In between guiding I had the chance to take my kids fishing which was good fun.  The lake we fished yesterday was 78 to 80 degrees.  I have never seen the water so warm in the 25 years I have fished this place.  Not to mention the water is extremely low.  We need sustained rain.  The brook I was on was 59 degrees but extremely low and gin clear.  Bass fishng yesterday with the fly rods was tough.  We caught fish on the surface, but nothing too large.  It was a day where a sinking line with a heavy fly would have been the method.  The larger fish are holding in deeper water off the first significant drop from shore.  15' to 25' of water would be perfect.  Tough to fish deep water with a fly rod and if you are learning really tough.  Lake fishing with the fly forces the casting angler to learn how to haul the line and in particular double haul.  Managing the fly as you recover it by stripping the fly back and then re-casting is all challenging stuff when learning to fly fish.  Casting from a boat is certainly more tricky than from a standing position in a river.  The small stream front has been good.  The fish are ultra spooky, but still agreeable to eating a well presented dry fly.  Still getting fish t eat #10-#14 stimulator, #12 royal wulff, and a #14 Ausable wulff.  Paying attention to approach and making good accurate casts is the key.  Had fun taking my 2 and 4 year old fishing for pan fish the other day.  Keep it simple and short with kids.  We caught pumpkin seeds and perch using a bobber with a small hook with some garden hackle.  Good for kids to have the visual of the bobber.  Pretty entertaining.  I am off to chase river smallmouths this morning.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Even a blind squirrel can find an acorn

H Folks, I had the chance to fish between guiding trips yesterday morning.  Visited an old favorite Winooski River tributary.  The beat I fished with another angler I had not walked in 7 years.  Certainly some of it looked different (this stream got a bit beat up by Irene) but a fair amount of water looked the same.  That is a good thing when you have stability.  The water temperature was 60 degrees and we had a nice dam cloudy drizzly type of morning.  Water is low and man we need more rain.  Saw a few #22 Tricos, a few #18 caddis, but not a lot of hatching activity.  We did see some rather large fish make a few random rises including a trophy brown trout.  I was all about matching the hatch and used a #18 black foam ant with a #22 peacock herl soft hackle dropper.  While my angling partner opted for his old go to the #14 Royal Trude.  Guess what, the Trude crushed it.  He landed a beautiful brown trout and rainbow as well as missing several large fish.  We blind fished the trudes in the stable holes.  Really slow drifts.  I did get two trout to eat the ant.  I missed one fish and lost the another rainbow at my feet.  A #18 olive caddis pupa under the Trude did catch the best fish of the day a jumping hard pulling 15" wild rainbow.  It was great to see this stream fish well.  Pleasant surprise.  This morning I stormed a client up a small brook for wild rainbows, browns, and brookies.  Water temperature was 56 degrees and the water was slightly up and clear.  We landed 15 brook trout and two wild rainbows with one measuring in at 11"  Good fun on a slow action 6' 2wt.  A #12 rubber legged foam bodied trude was the fly of the day.  Two pretty good back to back mornings of trout fishing, very nice.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, August 1, 2016

a bunch of bass

Hi Folks, Another great weekend of smallmouth bass fishing with the fly rods in the big rivers.  Did mix a brook trout in between which was productive as well.  Two contrasting fishing worlds, large strong bronze back to delicate dainty square tails.  The brook trout stream was 60 degrees and crazy low.  It seems like the fish are running out of water.  Landed a 10 small native brook trout with a #14 royal wullf and #12 trude.  The water is spooky so approach is critical.  In the bass world the fishing is just silly good.  In two days I have seen well over 75 smallmouth caught on fly rods.  Yesterday afternoon we landed 41 smallies between two fly anglers.  Water temperatures are really warm reading 76 to 78 degrees.  It has been all surface fishing with a variety of poppers.  to sure the popper type matters.  In the shallow margins there is life everywhere from young bass of varying sizes, to crawfish galore, and a variety of bait fish and bugs.  You can see the beginning of the food chain right in front of you.  We have had fish eat in slow water with lots of rock for cover, but the faster sections seem to beholding the larger fish.  Probably due to the high water temperature and bright sun.  There could not be a better time than now to chase river smallmouth bass.  Looks like we might get some much needed rain.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy