Saturday, October 28, 2017

Its all over now Mr. Fish for the Catfish

Hi Folks, Just completed my last day of guiding for the 2017 season.  The state wide trout season runs until October 31.  After that, for the hardy angler there are a variety of options.  You can fish sections of the Lamoille and Winooski catch and release, pursue lake run salmon and trout on the lower sections of the rivers where they deposit into Champlain, and fish for pike and bass.  Myself, I will put the fishing gear away and hunt for the next couple of months. I had a heck of a good season completing 146 trips since May 1.  A record for Catamount Fishing Adventures.  My body feels it.  I am tickled that I got to conclude my season with a bang.  Landlocked salmon fishing the last couple of days up north has been pretty good.  Water temperature was 49 to 50 degrees and the water levels have been creeping up from the much needed rain we received on Thursday.  It takes water flow to get lake run fishing moving and that is exactly what we got.  Salmon fishing can be tricky and takes some patience.  Lots of casting and a willingness to try different fly patterns as well as be really efficient in how you cast to the water.  I like fishing for lake run fish either early am or late day unless it is a rainy cloudy day.  Over the last two days we landed 4 fish in excess of 20" with the largest just short of 24". Also, caught a nice steelhead that jumped like crazy.  We did catch a number of young salmon that are learning to eat at an early age.  We swung streamers and dead drifted nymphs.  Not a lot of luck swinging streamers.  Nymphing seemed to be the method.  A #12 tungsten red threaded prince nymph has been the fly.  Really subtle takes with the indicator just stopping.  Of course once the hook is set, all hell breaks loose when these fish get air born.  You make countless numbers of casts to finally hook a big fish only to loose them in the battle.  They can test your ability to fight a big fish in heavy water.  I love it and these fish truly are Vermont Royalty.  In the near future I will post a season ending recap.  I hope everyone has had a great fishing season.  I know I did!  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, October 23, 2017

winding down in style

Hi Folks, Had a heck of a day guiding the Winooski yesterday morning.  Pretty chilly start to the day and the water temperature was a cool 45 degrees.  The water is still low and we need rain. Not much for bugs in the morning and I only saw fish randomly rise all morning.  We nymph fished with a #14 olive caddis pupa and a #20 BWO dropper under an indicator.  We also tight lined a #8 black leech  pattern with #20 BWO dropper.  We landed 6 fish with one being a wild trout the and the rest hatchery products.  We were fortunate enough to land 3 20" rainbows.  The first two fish fought like crazy and the last fish laid down and came to the net.  Two of the trout ate the small nymph while the last one consumed the leech pattern.  These big fish were trout that appeared to have migrated up the Winooski from the petting zoo in Waterbury.  All of our nymphing was in slow pools within the foam line.  We had to adjust the indicator a bit to get the correct drift.  About a week left in the trout season.  Should be pretty decent with the weather really not cooling off significantly.  I have 2 scheduled trips left and then off to hunt.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, October 22, 2017

What a weird October

Hi Folks, It has been one of the strangest Octobers for fishing that I can remember.  Just unusually warm and sunny with no rain.  I am having an extremely busy guiding month and the nice weather has certainly helped.  However, I keep waiting to have to put on the long underwear and multiple layers to deal with cold weather and it is not happening.  The trout fishing has been decent but rather tricky as well. I have been mostly guiding the Winooski.  Water levels are so low that I prefer the Winooski over the Lamoille with the current conditions.  The water temperature has ranged between 48 degrees to 51 degrees. I have been putting guests on rising fish.  Like clock work everyday the trout rise to est tiny #20 BWOs.  The rising activity has varied depending ont he weather.  The cloudy afternoons have been way more productive.  More insects on the cloudy days and the larger fish seem more willing to rise.  We have been nymphing as well with #12 copper john nymph and #20 BWO emerger as a dropper.  On the sunny days I have been trying to fish in shady stretches of river.  Many of the larger trout are rising in slow water within the foam line and require perfect casting and mending.  These fish have a PHD in studying your presentation.  Many of the rise forms have indicated that the trout are eating the bugs in the film line.  You can see their dorsal fin and tail on the rise.  A  #20 spotlight emerger with a #20 soft hackle dropper has worked well.  The trick is to respond to the rise when you see the push of water even if you think it is not on your fly but close.  Can be tricky.  Anyway, I love this technical type of trout fishing.  We need rain big time.  I am off to guide today and about a week left in the season.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Finally, olives galore and big sippers

Hi Folks, I have been guiding pretty much everyday for October. I'm on pace to finally guide a 150 trips for the season.  The fall fishing has been slow to come this year, but finally over the last few days the river trout fishing has come to together.  From Saturday to Monday the fishing improved significantly.  I have been on the Winooski the last 3 days from the lower river to the middle section.  The numbers of #20 BWOs hatching has increased each day. The water temperature was 54 degrees on Saturday and down to 50 to 51 degrees yesterday afternoon.  The water is wicked low and we are accessing water on foot that is generally unsafe to wade.  The best fishing has been from 1pm to dusk.  It really depends on the cloud cover or lack there of.  If it is sunny then the rising will happen later in the day. We have targeted risers with emerger patterns.  Not until yesterday did I actually see trout eating duns off the top.  Prior to that, most of the surface feeding has been in the surface film line.  We caught wild rainbows and had them eat a dead drifted  #20 BWO spotlight emerger. An olive emerger with CDC has also been productive.  What has been interesting are the number of takes blind fishing the tiny flies on the surface.  This type of trout fishing is not easy.  It requires accurate casting and good presentations.  You have to be dialed in to strike the fish and mange your line.  Tough on beginners landing fish.  A slow action rod is ideal  and a 12' leader with 5x and 6x tippets are a good idea.  All about delicate presentations in the slow moving water where the trout have a PHD in studying your fly.  Looks like cool nights ahead but nice warm days.  Trout fishing should remain good.  I'm a little bummed about lake run salmon and brown trout.  I cant bring myself to pursue them in the low flows.  I'm sure they are getting hammered but honestly they should be left alone until flows change.  No one on the water which has been nice.  Lots of risers and no angling pressure.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Depends on the day

Hi Folks, Been guiding everyday.  I have been on the water for everyday of October and conditions have been variable.  I would say the last week offered up the best fall fishing thus far.  I have been wading the Lamoille with guests to chase trout and running my motorboat for bass and pike.  Water temperatures are starting to drop with the recent cool nights.  The lake I guided on Thursday was 59 to 61 degrees while the Lamoille was 51 degrees yesterday afternoon.  The bass fishing has been good.  We are not catching tons of fish but all quality fish.  The smallmouths have looked really good with big deep bodies and full of energy once hooked.  We located smallies on deep drop offs adjacent to rocky shorelines with weeds and wood.  We are still getting to eat of the surface but I think that bite is starting to slow.  Largemouth bass have been in around thick weed beds in less than 10' of water.  Not much for pike lately.  On the trout front, tiny flies have been the way.  We saw a few BWO duns yesterday and few raisers who had no pattern.  Pretty good number of spinners at dusk that got few more fish rising in slow water.  Tricky fish to get to eat as they have a PHD in studying your presentation.  We nymphed up trout yesterday using an indicator rig and tight lining.  We also swung #18 BWO emerger in riffle and hooked a couple feisty bows.  A #14 copper john with a #20 BWO nymph has been productive tight lined as well.  I think as the water cools the fish are not as willing to move great distances to eat the fly.  I am off to guide on the Winooski today and tomorrow.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  have fun, Willy

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

tight lines, rain, little flies, nice fish

Hi Folks, Amazing what some rain can do for the trout fishing.  Monday rained all day and our rivers came up a bit and the trout fishing turned on.  The foliage looks nice but not as brilliant as in years past. Finally some near freezing night time air temperatures have cooled down our rivers.  The Lamoille was 53 degrees today and 54 degrees  yesterday .  A Lamoille tributary was 52 degrees.  Been nice guiding fly fishing rips for the trout the last few days. There has not been tons of bug activity though, there were a fish risers at dusk today eating tiny #BWO dries.  With the water levels up, the trout fishing game has totally changed.  It went from being tough and not so great to pretty good in two days time.  We have been tight lining #8 buggers in black and olive with #20 BWO droppers and well as nymphing with a #14 copper john and #20 BWO nymph or soft hackle.  The fish are all over a the #20 nymph.  We landed a spectacular wild male 16" brown today on 6x tippet with a #20 nymph. The fish jumped like a salmon 3 times! I have been having guests swinging a 200 grain sinking tip with tandem flies  in some deeper slower pool.  Pretty productive. A little contrast with dark colored streamer with a light colored streamer tied off 2x  fluoro.  As the water cools, presentations need  to be slowed down.  Two weeks left in the season.  Get your casts in.  Off toc ahse pike and bass tomorrow.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Nice time of year to be on the water

Hi Folks, Been an interesting 3 days of fishing.  Mixing it up between fly fishing and spin fishing for trout, bass, and pike.  It has been unusually warm and we still really need rain.  Looks like some substantial rain is on the way for the next couple of days.  Foliage is finally getting pretty nice.  Maybe not the best foliage year, but still is pretty magnificent.  Trout fishing has been challenging.  The water is wicked low.  The temperature of a Winooski tributary the other day was 49 degrees.  We fished in the morning and we should have been on the water in the afternoon.  We saw one large brown trout eat something off the bottom and that was it.  Not takes, nor risers, no nothing.  There were a decent number of #20 BWOs hatching and a good number of #14 caddis on the trees and and bushes along the rivers edge.  So, I changed directions and put the motorboat int he water to chase bass and pike.  Surface temperature of the lake I have been guiding has ranged from 59 degrees to 63 degrees.  The wind has been issue.  Blowing everyday steady from the west south/west.  Finally got cloudy yesterday.  The bass fishing has been pretty good.  I cant say we are catching tons of fish, but we are landing quality fish.  This particular lake is dirty and off colored so brightly colored flies and lures have been the most productive.  We got a number of smallmouth and largemouth to eat off the top. Even had a big pickerel hammer a popper yesterday.  Really impressive take.  We have locating fish off huge milfoil beds and lily pads that abut deep water.  Letting the lure or fly sit intially and then twitching it has produced some slashing takes.  A number of bass have chased our lures and flies back to the boat in deeper water.  A fast retrieve has been drawn the fish to chasing.  Flies and lures in in fire tiger, orange, yellow, and red and white have all worked.  Well, hoping for rain and more trout fishing to come.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Thursday, October 5, 2017

a bit of rain and a bit of foliage

Hi Folks, Finally got some rain last night with the arrival of a cold front.  We sure could use a lot more precipitation.  Not enough rain to raise water levels significantly but any amount is helpful to our dry rivers.  I have guiding with the motorboat for bass and pike.  It has been a bit windy with steady breezes from the south/southwest the last few days.  Was awful sunny the last couple of days so the fishing really was best late afternoon once the sun got low in the sky.  Finding shade has been important.  The surface temperature of the lake was 66 to 68 degrees and the water is off colored.  This particular body of water is the home to some large pike and bass.  Brightly colored lures and flies always work well.  Fire tiger lures, hot orange and chartreuse, and things with flash are all productive.  I have noticed with the low water that the fish are holding in deeper water than in years past.  Working the lure or fly quickly with an erratic retrieve has been best.  Especially for drawing interest from a northern pike.  Most of the fish have been holding off of huge weed beds that have rocks, boulders, and downed wood in and around them.  The fish are on the outside or deeper edges of the beds.  The lake fishing should remain decent as the water temperatures have been slow to cool off.  I am going to run the boat again today and chase bass and pike.  Looks like maybe some rain in the near future, lets hope so.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, October 2, 2017

Making the best of it

Hi Folks, My favorite time of the year to fish for river trout and the conditions are just not very good.  The water is so low you can walk in places on the lower Winooski that you would never dream of under normal flows.  At least it is now cold at night and cooler during the day so that the river temperatures have dropped into nice range.  The Winooski was 59 early and 62 later in the day.  The Lamoille has also dropped into the high fifties and low sixties.  Lots of sun the last few days.  Hatches have been marginal.  Seeing some #14 green bodied caddis and few #18 tan bodied caddis.  Even saw a good number #10 Fall Caddis today but no fish responding to the big bug.  The trout that have been rising lately are pretty tight.  They appear to moving around in eddies, flats, and big pools.  It is almost like you are still water fly fishing with the low water.  We hooked fish today swinging #14 prince nymph with a #18 green soft hackle dropper.  We caught wild rainbow, stocked browns, young salmon, and lots of Fall Fish.  The dry fly fishing the last few days on the Winooski and Lamoille has been very tricky.  Really good casting has been required and perfect mending.  A lot of the rising activity has been subtle bulges in the water created by trout sipping and gulping in the surface film. The fish seem to have a Phd currently when comes to eating dry flies.  Well, we really need rain.  Off in the boat tomorrow. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, September 29, 2017

going with the flow

Hi Folks, Been pretty weird weather the last couple of days.  Guided from motorboat and a canoe on Tuesday and Wednesday then waded the Lamoille yesterday afternoon.  The air temperatures have swung almost 40 degrees in a 24 hour period.  I went from getting beat down by the sun and heat to wearing waders and actually feeling chilly at dusk.  Water temperatures soared over the last week during the record heat wave. The surface temperature of the lake I guided with the fly rods on Wednesday was 73 to 76 degrees.  We need rain big time. We caught two decent smallmouth on poppers and missed one other fish in the morning before the sun was totally over head.  Once the sun was up, the fishing shut down.  Too sunny and too darn hot.  Yesterday was fairly bright but things had cooled off and the Lamoille was a pleasant 63 degrees.  Lots of bug activity yesterday afternoon from #16 green bodied caddis hatching and egg laying at dusk.  There was a #18 sulphur that came off at dusk and a few spinners.  Saw only a few sporadic #12 Isonychia.  The trout were keyed in on the caddis and were jumping out of the water to take bugs that were taking flight to sucking pupa in the surface film.  We only landed 2 stocked trout but several others to eat.  We had several fish take a #18 green soft hackle  that was trailing behind a #16 Goddard caddis dry.  Sometimes when fishing a dropper it can be tricky to to detect strikes.  You need to respond to the bulge in the water that is near the dry and assume the fish ate your dropper.  We did nymph fish with limited results.  We had one eat on a bobber rig a couple of takes on a swung #10 black wooly bugger.  We caught feeding fish on a #16 foam bodied caddis in a big eddy off a giant pool.  It  was interesting to watch the fish feeding aggressively on the caddis as they swam around the eddy.  We had to cast to wear they ate and then give the fly some movement with the tip to prompt a strike.  We had two fish hammer the fly as it was being twitched along the surface.  Very counter to the typical dead drift in the foam line you would often make when casting dry flies to rising fish.  We then had a burst of surface activity of trout that resembled a feeding blitz on the ocean and we hooked our last fish of the night.  Pretty challenging fish but lots of fun.  Saw a lot rising fish.  Off to do it again today.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Big fish sort of day

Hi Folks, Well the weird weather continues.  Record high air temperatures have made me change directions and chase smallmouth bass.  I'm okay with it, just bummed because I like rout fishing and typically that what we would be doing this time of the year.  Oh well, be happy with what I have to fish. Surface temperature was 71 degrees with very little wind.  We need rain big time.  My fly client and I yesterday fished from a canoe in one of my favorite bass fisheries in the state.  It did not disappoint. We covered a lot of water and there was no true pattern to the fishing.  We located smallmouth in shady areas along downed wood, weed beds, rocky shorelines, and all the cover combined.  A #6 deer hair bug in black, red, and white was the fly of the day.  Matter of fact all surface deer hair flies produced fish yesterday that were mostly black deer hair.  All of our takes were really subtle.  If you were not paying attention you would have missed the bass coming to the top to eat.  The big fish of the day was a measured 22" beast.  Darn close to 6lbs. is what I would have guessed.  All of the fish including pickerel that were landed yesterday looked very healthy.  We did not know the size of the big smallmouth until it jumped.  Wow was what came out of my mouth when the fish breached. Pretty impressive.  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

Monday, September 25, 2017

Too darn hot

Hi Folks, What a run of hot weather we are experiencing.  Feels like July, but is the end of September.  Typically I would be guiding trout trips during this time of the year, but I have been changing directions and pursuing smallmouth bass with my clients.  The trout fishing has really slowed.  I did guide the Lamoille and Winooski for trout in the last few days and the fishing was tough due to low water and warm water temperatures. Both rivers have warmed to the high sixties.    No rising activity from trout either day as the sun has been really intense.  Man we need rain desperately.  The lower Lamoille for bass has been okay. Water temperature was 69 degrees in the morning.  No fish coming to poppers.  We swung streamers deep and varied retrieves to hook a dozen fish.  A #6 olive clauser style bunny bugger and a #8 black heavily weighted wooly bugger were the most consistent patterns.  Getting out of the sun and fishing in the shade is advised.  Standing in the sun fishing is not only tough on the anglers, but more so the fish are not very responsive.  Looks like things will cool down by weeks end and hopefully we get some rain. Until then, I am guiding smallmouth.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, September 22, 2017

Subtle rises and sipping in the film

Hi Folks, Been awful hot the last few days.  Feels like July and not the end of September.  All the same the trout fishing is still decent.  The water is low and we need rain big time.  Water temperature on the Winooski yesterday was 68 degrees.  That is probably about 10 degrees warmer than it should for this time of the year.  Lots of bug activity still, just now all happening right in the last hour and half of light.  I floated with clients yesterday down the Winooski and the fishing was fairly slow until the last hour.  Big bright sun is not a friend of any trout.  We had 11 fish come to the fly and landed 3 trout.  All rainbows sipping spent #12 Isonychia spinners. A few #20 BWOs coming off but no fish responding to the small bug.  Really subtle rise forms and if you did not observe closely, you would have thought they were chubs eating off the top.  I could see the crimson gill plate of the trout from my vantage point in the boat rolling on the spent bugs.  We cast a grey bodied parachute and it was imperative to place the cast into the feeding lane.  Good fun and required some patience, then again doesnt all fishing require patience? Off to fly fish for trout.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Feels like summer again

Hi Folks, Been hot on the water this week.  Loading up on the sun tan lotion.  Unseasonably warm, and the water is low and we could really use some steady rain.  Water levels are dropping and it is getting pretty skinny in our rivers. River temperatures have risen to the upper sixties.  Still lots of bug activity and the trout have been rising every afternoon.  I have been seeing #12 Isonychia, #18-#20 BWOs, #8-#10 Stone Flies, and #16 caddis.  We have been nymphing up trout in heavy riffles with a #12 zug bug with a #18 BWO dropper under an indicator.  Once the fish begin rising we have been switching to a #12 grey bodied parachute.  The trick to getting the fish to eat the dry fly is being patient in observing the trout rise.  Getting a sense of the pattern and rhythm of the rising fish makes it much easier placing your cast right in their feeding lane.  Observing the rise form also helps to determine what type of bug the fish are eating and maybe at what stage.  It looked apparent to me the last couple of days that the fish went from gulping duns to sipping spinners.  The foliage is starting to turn and it is really nice on the water currently.  I will be out there again today with guests.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, September 18, 2017

a smorgasbord of fish

Hi Folks, Been spome spectacular fishing the last few days.  It seems to me regardless of what you are pursuing, they are biting.  I have been guiding from my motorboat to wading to drifting.  One of the beauties of Vermont fishing is the diversity in fish species. I have seen caught in the last 3 days  northern pike, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, brook trout, landlocked salmon, brown trout, rainbow trout.  The coldwater  fishing has been with the fly rods and the warm water fishing for bass and pike was with spin gear.  We got pike and bass to eat big brightly colored double bladed spinner baits in orange and copper.  A large fire tiger stick bait and a perch rapala were very effective on the bass and getting northern to follow the lure.  We located the fish in a sharp drop off adjacent to large weed beds.  The lake surface temperature was 69 to 70 degrees.  On the cold water front, things have warmed up a bit and the water is a bit low.  Still the trout are eating.  A #18 yellow caddis larvae dead drifted has worked well. The fish are still rising to some #12 Isonychia and a #10 orange bodied stimulator got some violent surface strikes.  Have begun to tangle with some salmon, but nothing too large.  A double nymph rig with a #8 black stone fly nymph with a #18 BWO nymph has been consistent in fast riffles.  The fishing should remain good.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The trout just keep rising

Hi Folks, Floated the Winooski yesterday and waded it the previous day.  Water levels are low and the temperature was 64 degrees.  Tons of #12 Isonychia hatching.  Only a few #14-#22 flying ants present on the Winooski.  Though I am sure the fish have been eating them like on the Lamoille. The trout have really been responding to the big may fly.  I have seen rising fish every day on the water for the past week.. With the bright sun of late, the fishing has been best late afternoon and in the shade.  We have been watching wild rainbows absolutely gulp Isonychia.  Really important in presenting the fly to land it in the feeding lane. The fish do not have to move much when there is so much food on the water. Dry fly fishing with a #12 and #14 grey bodied parachutes.  The fish are predominately rising in riffles and seam lines.  Great time of year to fish in Vermont.  No one on the water, rising fish and the foliage is beginning.  Ia off to chase bass and pike today.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, September 11, 2017

The incredible edible flying ant and other goodies

Hi Folks, The fishing has been pretty darn good the last few days.  Water levels are back down after last weeks wet weather.  Beautiful weather the last couple of days and more to come. Water temperature has hovered around 58 degrees in the afternoon,  There has been lots and lots of bug activity the last couple of days.  #12 Isonychia, #18 tan bodied caddis, #20 Baetis  from the water born insect side.  Also,  a may fly that is #16 with a tan body and dun wing. Not sure what it is.  The significant hatch has been the #14-#22 flying ants.  The annual event where the ants move their nest and in the process get pushed onto the water. Tons of them on the Lamoille tonight and the fish were going nuts! You have the big #14/#16 cinnamon female and then the tiny #20/#22 cinnamon colored male.  There were male ants all over eddies.  You could see the trout coming out of the water to eat the winged bugs. I like tying the crystal ant for a pattern. I think the crystal flash stands out in a crowd when the bugs are thick and it is easier to see in the film drifting.  It is a good problem to have when you arrive on a trout stream and only have to cast dry flies.  I have not nymph fished in several days.  The fish have been looking up.  It is important with all of the food on the surface that you target a feeding individual and make a perfect drift over the feeding lane.  The trout do not have to move too much when the eating is good.  Love dry fly fishing.  Best fishing is mid day to late afternoon.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, September 8, 2017

High water, solitude, and brown trout

Hi Folks, It has been a wet week of fishing.  I like late summer and fall rain.  Puffs up the watersheds for oncoming winter.  It is good to have a charge of water our rivers and streams heading into winter. The main stem Winooski and Lamoille are a bit high and off colored.  They are coming down and should be in good shape to fish this weekend if we do not receive too much rain.  In addition, big water this time of year moves fish like brown trout and landlocked salmon.  Water temperatures are cooling off as I got readings of 58 to 60 degrees on two Lamoille tributaries over the last couple of days.  Guiding this week has been spin fishing for trout.  Wade fishing casting  small plugs.  It is a nice way to recon water for big fish.  Small plugs move trout whether they eat the lure or not you get a visual of who is home for future reference i.e. fly fishing.  On the fly front, still lots of bugs coming off just nor fishing rising in the higher water.  The last couple of days I have seen #12 Isonychia, #18-#20 micro caddis and a larger #14 caddis, as well as lots of #20 BWOs.  Yesterday with a black and gold Rapala we landed 2 brown trout and a 1 wild jumping rainbow and lost another at out feet.  We had another 6 fish strike that we did not hook.  With the larger water currently we covered a lot of stream.  The fish were holding on soft edges and near the bank under over hanging willow and in large eddies.  High water fishing can produce large fish but it takes patience and some thought.  Vermont does not have a high density of trout in our larger rivers.  So the bigger water can spread the fish about.  It is good to cover water and focus on the soft stuff.  Trout are energy efficient.  I love this time of year for fishing. The air has a nice feel to it and the leaves are starting to turn and the fish begin to put on the fed bag. It has been nice on the water lately with no fishing traffic what so ever. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, September 4, 2017

A little wet weather

Hi Folks, Finally got some much needed rain.  A real soaking rain yesterday which will only benefit our streams.  We have had a wet summer, but the last few weeks had been a bit dry and our streams and brooks had become a bit low and stale.  Really nice weather prior to the rain and it appears to be nice again for the next few days.  I guided yesterday for river smallmouth and Saturday for trout with the fly rods.  Not much for bug activity yesterday and Saturday we fished in the morning and the bugs were picking up by time we left the river.  A few rising fish but not like the previous day.  It was also pretty bright and sunny Water temps. have remained cool.  The Lamoille was 60 degrees Saturday morning and the bass river I fished yesterday was 58 degrees.  Still seeing lots of #12 Isonychia shucks on rocks and bugs hatching throughout the day.  Lots of #8 stone fly shucks on rocks yesterday and they appeared to have hatched in the evening.  You can always dead drift a stone fly nymph just off the bottom on any Vermont trout stream and probably draw some interest.  Not to mention the winged  adult version on a stone fly such as a #10 Stimulator. Vermont trout love to eat a Stimulator. On the Lamoille Saturday we nymphed up trout with a double rig.  A #12 Zug Bug with a #18 caddis pupa dropper.  Had a 11 fish take the fly and we only landed 1 trout. I had a beginning fly angler who did an excellent job of casting and drifting the flies.  Hook set was tricky.  Really important to minimize slack line, have the rod tip in proper position and really sweep up the rod when the fish eats the fly.  Always need to trust the subtle movements of the indicator and respond accordingly.   The fishing was pretty good.  Yesterday we worked hard for 3 smallmouth and 1 large stocked rainbow.  Spin fished in the rain and it rained the entire trip.  A real character builder for an angler.  The fish were pretty non-aggressive and the takes were subtle.  Every fish we encountered ate a 3" dead drifted Senko in baby bass color.  Pretty subtle takes and we had a lot of fish pick up the rubber and drop it prior to the hook set.  Well fishing changes all of the time and adjusting and adapting tactics and approach is part of the game.  Don't get caught in the same old approach all of the time.  I got blown out today as our water is high and off colored but coming down.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, September 2, 2017

watch out trout, the boys are in town

Hi Folks, It has been a good few days in row of dry fly fishing for trout.  Water temperatures have cooled off with the recent Fall like water.  Water levels are pretty low and we could use some rain.  I have been guiding the Winooski and a tributary the last few days.  Water temperatures have ranged from 57 to 62 degrees.  The low water on the Winooski is not necessarily great for drift boat fishing, but is fantastic for wading and getting to spots that are generally not safe to wade. It appears that fishing is moving towards the middle of the day to late afternoon.  Certainly the case with the bug activity.  Great hatch of #12 Isonychia yesterday afternoon.  The trout were rising from the time we arrived on the river to the time we left at dusk.  In addition, there was a spectacular number of #20 BWO's  coming off late afternoon.  Always fun to see so many bug that you actually see the fish picking duns off the surface and the Cedar Waxwings and plucking the birds out of the air.  On my recent trips we have exclusively fished dry flies and even a dropper nymph has not been required.  We hooked well over 20 trout yesterday and the previous day we had a lot of fish come to a dry fly.  Lots of solid 11" to 14" wild rainbows with a couple of brown trout for good measure.  The fly has been a #12 Grey Wulff, #14 Adams, and a #12 Adams parachute.  We got trout to eat a #18 throax style olive dry once the BWOs started hatching.  Lots of good takes on the large dry flies in the heavier water while the BWO eaters were very subtle in the slower water.  The highest concentration of rising took place from 3pm to 6pm and then slowed slightly but did not completely stop.  We ended right at dusk with a fish being landed on a dry. My guests yesterday are some of my favorite people to guide and fish with.  These 3 young brothers are a treat to watch fly fish and have all really become pretty adept with a fly rod.  The fish should be afraid when these boys step into a river.  Love seeing young people fly fish! Love fishing this time of the year in Vermont.  Off to chase trout today.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Trico,Isonychia, grasshopper oh my

Hi Folks, Took a couple of days off to go camping with my kids.  Loads of fun and needed break from guiding after a record August.  Back on the water the last couple of days guiding and chasing trout with the fly rods.  A lot of bug activity lately with rising fish. We have witnessed subtle rises to #22 Trico spinner pattern to explosive takes to a large parachute dry fly.  #22-#24 Tricos are still coming off in the morning and the spinner falls are prompting the trout to eat off the top.  With the cooler day time air temperatures and cooling water temperatures the hatch has been happening a little later in the morning.  Lot and lots of #12 Isonychia shucks on rocks and we saw a good number of the large may flies coming off yesterday afternoon on the Lamoille.  Grass hoppers are everywhere currently.  Always a fun dry fly to fish and of course the good old hopper dropper combo can be very effective. Water levels are now down. Who would have guess after the wet summer we have experienced.   Fortunately the sun is getting lower in the sky and with the cooler air temperatures the trout should not have any thermal stress in the low water conditions.  Nothing better than seeing rising fish.  There was a fair number of fish rising last night we got them to eat a #12 Adams parachute.  I did have a combo spin/fly trip last night.  The spin anglers cast trout imitation plugs.  In big eddies and deep primary pools we caught 4 wild rainbows and 1 wild brown and fought a brown trout that was well over 20".  Massive fish that we saw several times.  It fought like crazy.  It eventually tossed the hook and won the battle.  There were large wild fish rising as well and we did not see any stocked trout. Looks like a cold front moving in this weekend with some needed rain. Trout fishing should only get better and better from here on out.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, August 25, 2017

Finesse fishing and subtle takes

Hi Folks, It has been a a couple of interesting days on the water for me guiding.  A big cold front pushed in to the Stowe area on Tuesday afternoon dropping air temperatures significantly,  It really feels like fall outside and I have even resorted to wearing waders yesterday morning.  Water levels are around the seasonal average though the small brooks look like they could use some water.  Water temperatures are dropping.  The surface temperature of the lake I guide Wednesday was 70 degrees, a Winooski trib on Wednesday afternoon was 63 degrees, and the bass river I guided morning and night yesterday was 68 degrees.  With the incoming cold front fish behavior appears to change to a degree.  We have been catching smallmouth and wild trout, but the takes have been interesting. Whether it was a trout rising to a dry fly or a bass taking a piece of rubber presented slowly, the fish have not been crushing our presentations.  I watched trout rise to my clients dry fly Wednesday very subtly. They simply just elevated their nose and sipped  a #12 royal wulff.  On the bass front, we have mostly fished Senkos dead drifting them in rivers to working them ever so slowly on the bottom back to the motor boat. All of the takes have been very slight.  You really had to be on your reel and maintain good line control in order to detect the takes.  In addition, the smallies have been really slow to eat the rubber and it takes a lot of patience to not set the hook to quickly.  Ah, the fine subtleties of fishing. Slowing it down in fishing is never a bad thing when the fish get fussy.  For bugs, more and more #12 Isonychia everyday and still good number so f #22-#24 Tricos hatching in the morning.  Lot of #18-#20 micro caddis and I have seen some large #8 stone flies laying eggs at dusk.  Starting to notice increasing numbers of #20 BWOs coming off late afternoon and trout rising to them.  Well, going to fish Tricos this morning.  Nice, cool, and crisp out there.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

working a beat of river and casting under the eclispe

Hi Folks, Hot one yesterday.  Seems like summer returned with a full vengeance. Guided a double yesterday and a fly fishing trip for tout Sunday.  Saturday was dedicated to smallmouth bass fishing as well.  Water levels are a getting a bit low.  I can attest to that as I bounced off some rocks rowing yesterday afternoon.  The upper Lamoille has maintained a water temperature of 64 to 65 degrees while the lower river has hovered around 71 to 73 degrees.  The Eclipse was interesting yesterday as I rowed my dritf boat directly into the sun.  Can I look up now??? Lots of bug activity the last few days as I am seeing more and more #12 Isonychia hatching as well as shucks on rocks.  Still massive #22-#24 Trico spinners over riffles in the early morning, hatching #18-#20 micro caddis, lots of #12-#14 green bodied hoppers along river banks, some remnant female egg laying stone flies, as well as a few #20 Baetis.  I have been explaining to my guests lately the merit in having a beat of water to work.  You cant have concrete feet in Vermont river fishing.  Some spots or holes or runs will respond differently on different days.  Since we do not have a high density of fish per mile it is in an angler' s best interest to move around a bit.  The really nice thing about the drift boat is all of the water we cover.  If you have fished with me, then you know I like to walk.  It is imperative to have several spots to fish within a beat of water.  For instance, yesterday morning I had a walk and wade for smallmouth.  The first hole we fished was unproductive fro whatever reason.  We moved to another spot and started catching fish.  We fished 6 different holes in this beat of water and caught 17 smallmouth and 1 stocked trout.  However of the 6 spots, only 3 produced fish.  Anywho, we have been catching smallmouth off the surface and below.  Small #8 popping bugs have been very productive as well a #6 black foam mouse, and a #6 chartreuse foam crease fly.  Sunday morning produced some decent dry fly fishing for trout.  Located a pod of rising fish after moving around a bit and got them to eat #18 tan foam caddis dry and a #18 peacock caddis.  Spin fishing for bass has been pretty straight forward, dead drift 3" green colored Senkos.  I am off to guide trout later today.  We will see what the weather brings as thunderstorms followed by a cold front is pushing in.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, August 19, 2017

smiles say it all

Hi Folks, I have been chasing the smallmouth bass with clients all week.  It has been a great week of fishing and particularly for large fish.  Water levels have been up all week from periodic thunderstorms.  Temperatures have maintained in the low seventies in the bass water.  Nice over cast conditions along higher than average flows, and off colored water has probably made the larger fish more comfortable in their environment.  In the last two days I have floated in the driftboat, waded, and canoe fished. The river fishing has been way more productive that the still water fishing. The river fish appear to be more aggressive and active.  Most of the action from the larger bass has come from either a Rapala or a 4" dead drifted Senko swim bait.  The smallmouth have been holding in pools and off large rocks.  A lot of strikes have been pretty subtle on the rubber to ferocious on the plugs.  I have to say that the average size of the fish has been outstanding.  The smallies look to be really well fed and healthy.  Deep bodied fish that are really strong.  The bass fishing is a great option in Vermont when the trout water warms up.  Lot of terrestrials about now especially green bodied grasshoppers.  Start paying attention in the afternoon flying ants.  Still seeing lots of #18-#20 micro caddis as well as #22-#24 Trico spinners every morning.  I am off to chase smallmouth.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Thursday, August 17, 2017

drastic change results in more big fish

Hi Folks, Had a great float on the Lamoille yesterday.  Water temperature was 72 degrees and the level way up.  Thunderstorms from the previous night tripled the flow and made the river off colored on the edges to chocolate in the main current.  We still managed to land 14 really nice fish.  The river was completely different from two days ago when I floated it.  The high water can be intimidating from a fishing standpoint.  Pretty easy with the boat in that a lot of rocks are avoided as I float right over them. We worked hard baits all day.  A perch colored Rapala and a Fire Tiger Rapala were the lures of the day. We landed another measured 20" smallmouth bass.  Two trophy fish in two floats.  Not to mention we had some good walleye action.  Old marble eye was pounding the plugs.  They are meat eaters and in dirty water they feel pretty comfortable feeding.  We focused on the soft water.  River edges and slow eddies.  A slow section with a hard bottom and lots of boulders was consistent.  There was a high percentage of water that we could not fish due to the high water.  It was a day for active presentations and not dead drifted rubber much to the chagrin of a man named Top water in my drift boat.  Love seeing fish eat Rapalas.  Well, I am off to do it again.  Water should have settled out a bit and it is a nice cool morning.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

That's a serious fish!

Hi Folks, Going non-stop guiding currently,  Night and day on the water tangling with fish in different environments.  Floated the Lamoille yesterday afternoon for smallmouth bass after a morning trout trip on the Winooski and then a kids trip yesterday morning and wrapped things up with  an afternoon foray to the upper upper Wionooski.  Water temperatures have warmed up. The Winooski was 66 to 68 degrees and the flow was lower than the seasonal average.  The Lamoille was 76 degrees and right at its seasonal flow and the surface temp. of the lake I visited was 71 degrees.  I had a client land a trophy smallmouth bass on Monday afternoon.  The fish measured just shy of 21".  A real beast that ate a jointed rapala. It  did not come to the net easily.  I will guide a couple of 20" plus smallmouth each season.  Not an everyday fish especially in a river. Through the course of Monday afternoon we landed 50 fish with a combination of smallmouth bass and walleye.  The fish were really on and a large number of 2lb. bass that ate off the top, chased lures, and really bent rods.  Great day!  Working a little harder for the trout.  The fish were eating small stuff yesterday.  A tan foam bodied #18 caddis with a /#20 spotlight emerger got a few fish to the surface along with  a #14 adams parachute. Saw sporadic bugs hatching like a #20 Baetis, a few #10 adult stone flies laying eggs, and the ever present #18-#20 micro caddis.  On the kids front, we pounded the big yellow belly perch yesterday.  Lots of action which is critical when taking young anglers out.  Good old garden hackle under floats and worked off the bottom.  Fun for me to step back and do a simple trip with little kids. Well, I am off to float again.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, August 14, 2017

All over the place

Hi Folks, Been a hectic month so far of guiding.  Out everyday and a lot of two of days.  Constantly fishing in different spots and with different tackle.  You cant fish the same beat of river over and over again and expect to catch fish consistently.  Been fairly warm and sunny with a big bunch of thunder boomer Saturday night.  River levels are up again but just fine for fishing.  Temperatures are a bit warm as the Lamoille was 63 Saturday morning and the Winooski was 67 degrees this morning.  I have not seen a ton of hatching bugs.  A few #10 golden stone fly shucks on rocks, a few #18-#20 micro caddis, a few #22-#24 trico spinners, and I did see my first #12 Isonychia's hatch as well as shucks on rocks.  We have been working for trout in the big water, but that is to be expected as it is August.  Nypming with #10 double tungsten Stone fly nymph and a #18 green bodied soft hackle has been productive.  In addition, the #14 tungsten red threaded prince nymph has been effective.  We have had some nice large trout rise to a #10 orange stimulator only to miss them.  Typically you only get one crack at these  fish. I have to say we have hooked a higher percentage of wild trout in the Winooski versus the Lamoille.  On the lake front, things have been slow.  I have found the bass fishing to be tough.  We have really worked hard to get a few takes working rubber slowly on the bottom. Not a great top water bite.  lake surface temperatures were 74 to 76 degrees.  A bit warm and sunny.  The best bite has been at dusk.  Well, I am off to float for smallmouth.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, August 11, 2017

Getting our bass on

Hi Folks, Been guiding with the spin gear the last couple of days for bass.  Mixing it up between river fishing and the still water with my boat.  In between I did venture onto the Lamoille early one morning with guest to chase trout with the fly.  Water temperatures are slowly rising but still remain somewhat cool for August.  I was telling a friend the other day how this fishing season has bee so good in that I use all of my water.  He was like huh??? Well, July and August our my busiest months of guiding.  I will do between 60 to 75 trips in the 2 month span.  That require a lot of water for fishing as you do not want to fish in the same place and spot time and time again.  With the cool water temperatures and higher than average levels I have been able use my entire arsenal of water. Most times in July and August the water warms up significantly and many of the big water trout spots become unfishable due to water temperatures in excess of 70 degrees.   The upper Lamoille was 62 degrees Wednesday morning and 72 degrees in the late afternoon.  The surface temperature of the lake we fished yesterday was 71 degrees.  For bugs, I have been seeing #22-#24 Tricos every morning, #10 Epherons at dusk, and some #18-#20 micro caddis in the morning.  Found smallmouths slurping Epherons the other night.  The river bass fishing has been out of sight good.  Dead drifting 3" and 4" baby bass colored Senkos has been very productive.  Bigger 5" Senkos in watermelon red magic have tempted the largemouth bass in the lake we fished yesterday.  A lot of subtle takes from big fish.  I cant emphasize enough how important line control is in this style of fishing.  No different that having good line control with the fly rod when drifting a fly.  When the fish takes it is tricky to get the hook set with too much slack line.  Not to mention just the ability to detect the take. Well, the fishing has been good.  I am off to watch clients tug on some bass. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy