Friday, June 30, 2017

Before the rains came, wow!!!!

Hi Folks, Guided the almost perfect trout fishing trip yesterday with the fly rods.  I had a guest who owned all of the gear, great attitude, could cast, and was eager to learn about fly fishing for trout.  The missing piece to the puzzle was he  had not had a lot of success catching trout.  Water conditions were perfect with levels above average flow, 57 degrees, and over cast.  We spent the day day working our way up a Lamoille trib. casting and drifting into pocket water.  Unfortunately this has all changed today as we got torrential rain last night that has blown out our rivers.  We are saturated!!!!!  We had several different bugs hatching yesterday with a #16 olive bodied caddis coming off , a #18 black caddis coming off, and tiny #20 BWOs hatching in mid afternoon.  We found some rising fish, but we had just as many trout eat our dry fly blind fishing.  The rig of the day was #10 orange bodied Stimulator with a #16 olive caddis pupa dropper and then a #18 BWO nymph dropper.  We did nymph some heavy plunges with an indicator rig that had a #12 black double tungsten stone fly and a #16 olive hare and copper nymph.  We landed 20 trout and had just as many eat the fly.  I think in every spot we fished we had a trout take the fly.  It was fun for me to watch so many fish move to eat.  I typically do not fish when guiding so I get to observe and watch.  I try to position myself to see the behavior of fish.  Man, I saw a lot of trout move from holding spots yesterday to eat the fly.  In particular, the larger brown trout were positioned on the up stream side of large boulders and would launch themselves to eat.  We caught wild rainbows, wild browns, and stocked browns.  Hooked several large fish that made short work of us by wrapping around rocks.  When pocket water fishing you need to really focus on your mending.  Less fly line is better and high sticking is really a nice way to dead drift the fly.  We had multiple fish deny us when we made a sloppy presentation and then come back to eat when we presented the properly.  Great day on the water, what a damn shame that the rain had to blow it out!!! Well, running the boat and fishing small streams for brookies it appears.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Is it really summer?

Hi Folks, Been staying out of trouble guiding and storming around Vermont trout streams.  It feels more like the end of May rather than the end of June.  The weather has been inconsistent and weird.  Beautiful and sunny one minute, pouring with thunder and lighting the next.  Our rivers are full of water and temperatures are really nice.  The two little brooks that I fly fished yesterday were 53 degrees and 56 degrees.  A larger river today I guided was 62 degrees.  I'll take it.  As long as nights stay cool, the water temperatures should hold for a bit.  The small stream fishing has been interesting. Been fishing dry flies as well as dry dropper rigs.  A #10 foam royal true, a #12 royal wulff, and a #12 elk hair caddis.  Been mixing a few small dropper in because the trout have not been all over the dry flies.  A #18 peacock herl soft hackle and a #16 olive caddis pupa.  I would say 60 percent of the strikes from brook trout came on the dry and 40 percent on the dropper.  Due to the higher and cooler water, the fish have been holding in some slow and soft water and pockets.  Most of the takes have been methodical on the dry fly, within the exception of one crazy brookie who launched out to eat the dry.  Saw a great hatch of #16-#18 sulphurs last night on a tribe. of the Winooski.  A lot of bugs coming off and a fish rising.  Happened right around dark as was still going strong after dark.  The fish were rising, but mostly smaller rainbows.  Tough when you cant see your #18 parachute sulphur pattern. It appeared that a lot of the trout were eating emergers in the film. Been seeing #16 and a #18/#20 Black caddis hatching mid afternoon the last few days.  Lots of #14 chartreuse Yello Sallies hatching on the small brooks.   On the spin front, it is Senko time in the rivers.  Dead drifting 3" to 4" natural colored Senkos is a pretty sure bet for catching a river smallmouth and occasionally a trout.  Should be a good few days of fishing ahead.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home,  Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, June 25, 2017


Hi Folks, Well after a couple of lost days to big rain, the catfish was back at guiding today from the boat.  Thursday night into Friday brought substantial rain.  All of the big rivers are still blown out.  Coming down and hopefully no significant rain for a bit.  Small streams are high but clear.  You could fish them successfully right now with a fly rod.  Air temperatures have cooled back down after a few days of hot humid weather. Currently we are experiencing nice cool nights in the 50's which will keep the trout fishing good.  I ran the boat today with aspiring anglers.  The lake we visited was really high and bit off colored.  I had to pay attention to all of the debris floating in the lake when we were moving in my boat.  The surface temperature was 72 degrees.  It dead flat calm at 5;15am.  The wind started to blow by mid morning. Did see a few trout rising in the first couple of hours of the morning, but I have no idea as to what they were eating.  We could not get a fish to come to the surface, so we gave them so rubber.  A 5" green Senko with red flakes was pretty consistent.  We caught most of our fish in less than 12' of water. Of the 15 smallmouth we landed, most were in the 1lb to 1.25lb class with one good 2lb smallie.  It was interesting that a lot of takes were pretty subtle and the fish would pick up the rubber and swim towards the boat.  You had to really watch the line and stay on the reel. Hard bottom with boulders and wood were the key ingredient for holding water.  A lot of fun being part of an individuals first real fishing experiencing and watching them improve their skill as the morning progressed.  Back into the trout world tomorrow.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Thursday, June 22, 2017

water is up, but not a bad thing

Hi Folks, Been guiding with the fly rods the last two days in some higher than average water flows.  I'll take it after two years in row of drought conditions.  The higher flows are keeping water temperatures down a bit and we are seeing some nice fish.  It has been all about the caddis fly,  If there is one fly I had to fish currently it would a #16 olive caddis pupa.  We had landlocked salmon in the 20" to 24" class eating caddis today and yesterday it was brown trout.  Pretty awesome watching a big salmon rise to eat a pupa in the surface film.  Really gets my heart rate up!  Lots of caddis hatching tonight with small salmon eating off the top and the big boys eating in the film. The trib of the Lamoille I guided yesterday morning was 60 degrees and up.  The river of big fish today was 66 to 67 degrees in late afternoon.  The Lamoille and Winooski are both above seasonal average flow.  If we are spared rain tomorrow, then they should settle out and be in perfect shape for the weekend. If it rains like is forecast then they will be blown out.  Learn to fish the high water folks because it is shaping up to be one of those seasons.  High water means more food being  dislodged and drifted down stream,  Bigger fish feel more comfortable in higher water.  The problem is wading can be tricky and Vermont trout streams do not have a high density of trout.  So they can be more spread about.  Fish like soft water so find the areas with soft seems and eddies.  Fly rigs have consisted of double nymph rigs under indicators and dry dropper set ups.  Been drifting a #14 elk hair caddis with a #16 olive caddis pupa dropper and a #12 red threaded prince nymph with a #16 olive caddis pupa dropper.  Even getting smallmouth to eat the prince nymph.  Seeing lots of female #8-#10 adult stone flies laying eggs at dusk.  Always the females as the male stone fly crawls off into the riparian zones after mating to die.  If you nymph with stone flies, get them down on the bottom as they are terrible swimmers and when dislodged are at the whim of the river.  A stone fly nymph is a great pattern in higher off colored water and not so great in low clear water.  Great searching fly.  I plan on taking advantage of the trout fishing while it stays consistent and good.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

lack of stability

Hi Folks, Been a couple of weird weather days,  Unstable weather with hot and humid to cooling down to raining, then really raining, to big beautiful blue skies.  I know that in the fishing world that stable and consistent weather of several days is the best scenario.  Ran my motorboat yesterday with a couple of long time guests and spin anglers.  We had a lake up north all to ourselves.  Water temperature was 68 degrees on the surface.  We worked for the 5 bass we landed.  # really nice 2.5lb to almost 3 lb. smallmouths and 2 smaller largemouth bass.  We could not get the fish to eat a hard bait and there was nothing moving to the surface.  I have found that post spawn bass can bw a bit tricky to locate and locate at times.  After spawning there is a little bit of a lull in the action as the fish disperse to their summer haunts.  We gave the fish rubber in a 5" green Senko with sparkle.  The smallies were located on a har rocky bottom in about 10' of water while the largemouth were holding in a soft bottom with emerging weed beds.  We covered some water and there were certainly some spots that just did not produce.  All part of the game in figuring it out at times.  Off to chase trout this morning.  Water levels are up, but that might be the case for the summer.  Im okay with it after last couple of years of dry weather.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, June 19, 2017

Hot weekend on water with even hotter fishing

Hi Folks, Was a great weekend of fly fishing for trout on the Lamoille watershed.  The month of June is prime time for fly fishing for trout in Vermont.  Air temperatures shot up to the 80's but the water temperatures maintained early in the morning.  The Lamoille was 66 degrees yesterday at 6;30 am yesterday and a trib. was 58 degrees early am on Saturday. When its hot like it has been, getting out early am is critical.  Late day is too hot and the window of opportunity is limited. Not much bug activity the last few mornings.  Have been seeing more and more #8-#10 Golden Stone fly shucks on rocks and live bugs on big rocks in riffles on the edges of the streams.  Been catching a nice mix of wild and stocked fish.  Seen a few really good looking wild browns that rose to eat a #10 orange bodied Stimulator.  We have been doing a lot of nymphing with double fly rigs.  A #16 olive caddis pupa was the fly of the weekend.  Dead drifting has been very effective, but also taking a lot of fish on the swing.  I think the reason for this is the way a caddis hatches.  The pupa drifts for a long time in the surface film before exploding off the surface as it bursst out of a gas bubble it gets trapped in during emergence.  I believe the trout follow the fly and as it swings out of the current they respond so they don't come away empty handed.  We caught a really nice 14" wild bow that jumped in pretty skinny water.  Really important when walking up on a stream to approach cautiously. Dont assume early the morning that there is not a trout right in front of you.  Just because we wear waders does not mean that we have to get them wet.  We stuck this bow 10' in front of us on the first cast into the spot because we approached like a stalking Blue Heron.  I have been very tickled with the trout fishing over the last week.  Wish the conditions would remain the same.  Supposed to float today, but thunderstorms are getting in the way.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Getting after it

Hi Folks, Been a crazy week of guiding burning the candle on both ends with morning and evening trips.  Saw a big weather change as of Wednesday that really helped to cool things down.  Tuesday morning was 72 degrees at  5 am and today it 42 degrees.  The big rivers warmed to 70 degrees by Tuesday night and today the upper Winooski was 65 degrees.  Water levels are great for fishing right now.  However, we could use some rain as it has become a bit dry.  Not sure we have yet fully recovered from the drought of the past two years.  Been guiding trout on the fly in Lamoille and Winooski main stems and spent a couple afternoons on Lamoille tributaries.  Lots of Didymo on these tribs.  Its nice have felt boots legal again from a safety stand point of wading rivers and not falling down, but they are giant sponges that transport all sorts of bad things. I guess time will only tell what impact the Didymo will have on our streams and brooks.  An amazing Brown Drake #10 E.simulans spinner fall the other night on the Lamoille.  It is one of the few mayflies that lands as a spinner on the water with its wings upright and not spent.  Brings some big fish to the surface right at dark.  The hatch only last for about 5 days so its nice when you time it correctly.  Been tons of #16 olive bodied caddis hatching.  The fish have been all over a #16 olive caddis pupa.  We landed 4 wild bows today in 14" to 15" class today on the Winooski.  Realluy hard fighting trout that get big time air.  Yesterday on a small trib. we got wild browns in the 10" to 12" class eat a caddis pupa and #12 prince nymph rig under an indicator.  Fun fishing casting up into plunges and watching the indicator disappear.  We have been nymphing them up.  Prior to the Drake hatches the egg laying caddis activity has been solid and we have taken fish dead drifting and swinging a #16 x-caddis and a #14 Henryville Special.  On the warm water front, the river smallmouth fishing was pretty consistent on Wedensday.  Landed over 15 smallmouth and a couple of really nice walleyes.  I wish I had a photo of them but they were dropped in the process, ugh. The bass trip was with spin gear and the walleyes tore up a black and gold rapala while the smallmouth where on a 4" watermelon black magic swim senko. Hopefully thing will remain cool as keep water temps. in check.  Starting to see #8-#10 golden ston fly shucks on rocks, #14-#18 sulphurs, and the ever present #14-#16 olive caddis and #18 yellow/tan caddis.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, June 12, 2017

Lamoille heating up

Hi Folks, Been guiding the Lamoille watershed for the last 4 days.  A combination of wading and floating the main stem to walking a tributary. Water temperatures since early Saturday morning to early this morning have shot up from 58 degrees to 68 degrees.  Would not be surprised if it did not reach seventy by this afternoon.  Been awful hot, but there is a cooling down on the way starting Wednesday.  River levels have been just above seasonal average flow.  The fishing has been pretty good.  Lots of #14-#16 caddis hatching in the morning with some rising fish.  Been lots of rising trout at dusk eating #10 Brown Drakes and egg laying caddis.  Starting to see more and more #14-#18 sulfurs in the last afternoon. The largest number of rising trout happens in the last hour of light.  The only problem is often this time of the year the water is too warm to fish buy dusk.  The bright sun always makes trout fishing tough so early morning and late afternoon have been the times to be on the water.  Funny the last couple of days we have been catching a combination of wild and stocked rainbows with some native broke in the smaller water.  No brown trout to be seen even though we fly fished over a lot of good brown water.  I think it is the hot weather with the bright sun.
June certainly is a good month to find rising fish as I would say to it is the month that has a large  number bug hatches.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, June 9, 2017

Row Lina Row

Hi Folks, Been on the water the last couple of days after getting blown out on Tuesday.  The trout fishing has been very good.  Fun guiding when the fishing are really eating.  I guided a fly angler on Lamoille tributary yesterday morning and took out a group of young aspiring anglers in the evening. Today I floated my drift boat down the Lamoille with a guest fly fishing for trout.  Water temperatures have maintained in the mid fifties yesterday to 60 degrees today.  Lots of caddis hatching in the morning.  A #!4/#16 olive bodied dark tan winged bug.  Found a few random rising fish, but most our activity has been below the surface.  My take is the water levels are way above seasonal average flow and the fish don't need to rise in heavy water.  Where we saw risers was in slow pools, eddies, and really soft seams.  Yesterday the rig was a #12 Wulff pattern with a #16 hare and copper dropper nymph and today it was a tandem streamer rig.  The streamer rig is really slick. Using a 6wt. with a 200 grain sinking tip. Casts effortlessly if you can water haul.  The flies were a #8 heavily weighted black wooly bugger with a trailing #10 muddler minnow.  I would say of the 20 trout we hooked today the bugger accounted for 60 percent of the fish.  Yesterday most of the trout we caught ate the caddis pupa pattern.  Last night was fun for me as it was a complete change of direction from fly fishing. Kept it simple with a group of kids as we casts garden hackle under bobbers for pan fish.  Hard to keep up with these kids as we caught fish on just about every cast.  Young kids need to learn the basics and have some success.  All about the fun.  Floating in the morning, should be good.  Look for #10 Brown Drakes at dusk along with morning caddis hatches and egg laying activity late in the day.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Caddis, wet weather, and stocked trout

Hi Folks, Been Slow to warm around here in the Stowe area.  Air temperatures in the 50's and rain every other day for the last 10 days.   Looks like a drier warming trend towards weeks end.  Our big rivers are up and rising currently.  My trips over the weekend were in high water with water temperatures reading 52 degrees on the Lamoille.  Pretty crazy for June.  However, good for the long haul and after two years of hot and dry, we need it.  Say a great morning #14/#16 light green bodied dark winged caddis hatch Sunday.  Lots of bugs coming off and no trout rising or appearing to key in on the hatch.  Might have to do with the volume of water in the river and that the fish don't have the need to rise as there is plenty of food drifting towards them below the surface.  We did see some large #10 Damsel flies emerging to the shoreline from the River. A big morsel for a trout.  We have been hooking a few fish, but not by any means knocking their socks off.  All stocked rainbows that hit pretty well then lay down for the fight.  A #8 black/olive tungsten head wooly bugger and a #10 white tungsten head wooly bugger have been the flies in the big water.  As air temperatures rise hatches will be towards early morning with caddis when it is sunny and more may fly activity in the late afternoon to dusk.  Look for a few left over  #10 March Browns, #14-#18 sulphurs, #8-#10 Brown Drakes, #14-#18 caddis in tan and green bodied.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the  non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Barbie Rod power

Hi Folks, Been guiding, wandering around rivers, and taking my daughter fishing.  Been cool and damp for a few days now.  Lots of water in our rivers currently.  Levels are high, but the clarity is fine.  Temperatures have cooled off with the Lamoille registering 53 degrees late yesterday afternoon.  Saw a few #14 Sulphurs hatching and a few random #14 caddis.  Tough conditions for fish to rise in with the heavy flows.  Good to see the rivers charged and cool for the long haul this season.  We have been nymphing up trout with heavily weighted #8 wooly buggers in black and olive.  My daughter put on a clinic the other day with her Barbie Rod.  Stocked rainbows, perch, sunfish, and smallmouth.  She has the touch.  We did eat one of the stocked trout as she wanted to see how a fish is cleaned and prepared.  Of course after the fact she was upset that we killed her favorite fish the rainbow trout.  Too funny.  Well, looks wet for the next few days.  Off to chase trout in high water.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy