Sunday, July 30, 2017

cold front

Hi Folks, Having a lot of fuh drifting my boat on the Lamoille the last few days.  Been mixing it up with smallmouth bass and trout.  A cold front has pushed into town dropping over night air temperatures into the high 40's.  Good for the trout water.  Bass fished yesterday and the fish were not as aggressive as a couple of days ago.  Totally different weather pattern.  Slow down the approach when cold fronts move in. Hot and humid always seems best for surface action.  We caught 7 smallies and missed another half a dozen.  All of our action was below the surface.  The water temperature was 70 degrees with a steady north/northwest wind.  Water levels are settleing down and are currently just above the seasonla average flow. for bugs, lots of #18-#20 micro caddis and now terrestrials.  I am off to run the drift boat this morning.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, July 28, 2017

Floating down a river

Hi folks, Finally putting the drift boat to work the last few days.  Rivers levels and temperatures are good presently and the fishing even better.  Been on the Lamoille the last three days with the boat.  The upper river has maintained temerpature.  Cool  nights really help.  Water temperatures have been 60 to 62 degrees in the early am.  Still lots of #18-#20 micro caddis hatching and fish rising.  The rising activity has been better prior to the sun hitting the water.  A swung #18 yellow soft hackle in riffles has been consistent.  Lots of young rainbows and even browns hammering the swung fly.  Makes sense since caddis come off in an explosive fashion after drifting a great distance in the surface film as a pupa trapped in a gas bubble.  The trout look great and really healthy.  July has been a freak month for being cool and wet. Perfect! The fishing yesterday on the lower Lamoille was really good!  Lots of big smallmouth hammering poppers.  Water temperature was 71 degrees,  The fish were coming out of the water and back down on the fly.  The fish would miss the fly and on the next cast eat it.  Really strong fighting fish that looked pretty well fed.  We did in the fray catch a nice trophy brown's put in by the state.  In addition, in a crazy spot had a wild brown trout eat a bass popper.  Would not have believed it if I had not seen it myself.  Really did not change fly patterns for most of the day.  For sub surface patterns a #8 white wooly bugger with a black bead head and #6 dumbbell eye olive bunny bugger picked up the fish that did not want to rise to eat.  Big eddies seemed to hold the most fish, but I think there are smallmouth all through the river.  Well, more river fishing tomorrow.  Looks continued nice weather.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Micro caddis

Hi Folks, Been two really good days of trout fishing.  No one on the water and no sign of any anglers.  Waded a Lamoille tributary on Tuesday afternoon and floated the main stem yesterday morning,  Water temperatures have been great.  Nice and cool as the small stream the other day was 55 degrees and the Lamoille was 61 degrees yesterday morning.  Lots of micro caddis hatching and laying eggs the last few days.  When I use the term micro caddis I am referring to the small caddis flies between #18-#20 that hatch on our streams every late summer.  Their numbers are prolific and the fish really respond to them.  Mostly light colored wings and tan bodied.  Had numerous trout rising to the small bugs yesterday morning.  We had them eat a #18 Goddard caddis with a #18 yellow soft hackle dropper.  The takes were equal on both fly patterns.  Caught a dozen stocked and wild rainbows pretty easily.  Most of the rising fish were on slow seam lines off big riffles. Been nymphing a bit with a #10 black tungsten stone fly pattern and a #18 tan caddis pupa dropper.  The stone fly pattern worked really well on brown trout in the small stream. In addition, a sink tip cast with a #8 black wooly bugger and with a #10 muddler dropper was productive in some of the slower deep pools.  The fish seemed to like the movement of the streamers and particulaily when stripped aggressively back to the boat.  Well, good conditions presently. I am off to drift for smallmouth.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

wet weather, fish live in the wet water, no worries

Hi Folks, Yesterday guiding was one of those days that tests an anglers mettle.  I guided two river trips and it rained the entire time.  A nice steady rain that puffed up the rivers a bit, but did not blow them out completely.  I watched the water slowly rise throughout the day and become slightly off colored.  Feels like fall out there.  Air temperatures have not risen above 60 degrees in a couple of days.  Great for keeping water temps. nice and cool.  Water was 64 degrees yesterday morning and was the same at 4pm.  Both trips were spin fishing for bass.  We did catch one nice stocked rainbow in the morning on a fire tiger rapala.  Had a few bass attack a surface plug.  The good old floating rapala in brown trout pattern.  Most of our action was on a 3" baby bass Senko that was dead drifted and then twitched on the retrieve.  In the afternoon, the smallmouth became a bit more fussy eating the rubber.  I think it was due to the cooling temps., rising water, and east wind.  Lots of pick ups of the Senkos but when we would set the hook they fish would stay on for a second or two and then drop it.  They were carrying the rubber in their mouth but not attempting to flip and swallow it.  Had to be really patient prior to striking the fish.  I tip my hat to my guests yesterday who never complained about the weather and were very happy to be fishing.  Rough weather in fishing builds character.  Plus I have good waders and rain coats for guests.  Will be floating the boat the next couple of days.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, July 24, 2017

big water, small water

Hi Folks, I had a fun weekend guiding in very different environments.  Spent some time in the smaller trout water with nice cool temperatures and then some time on the big warm water chasing smallmouth bass.  The contrast between the two is extreme.  The small brooks I visited were between 59 and 62 degrees.  The big water was 75 degrees.  River flows are just above the seasonal average flow.  Lots of #8-#10 stone fly shucks on rocks.  We cast a #12 foam yellow sally dry fly in the brooks as well as #14 chartreuse bodied stimulator.  Both flies worked effectively catching wild rainbows and native brook trout.  Tight casting and the ability to roll cast and place the fly accurately is and was very important.  The bass fishing is so different as you can really open up the cast and not worry about trees and bushes and being as accurate. Double hauling is helpful for distance and casting big wind resistant bass bugs in the big water.  A #8 yellow bodied grog popper was really effective.  Love watching smallmouth explode on a surface fly.  I am off to chase bass this morning.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, July 22, 2017

when you take a trout angler bass fishing

Hi folks, Been awful warm for the last few days and with it the water temperature has come up.  Actually feels like summer out there.  River levels have settled out nicely and are slightly above the seasonal average flow.  The lower Lamoille was 73 degrees Thursday and even warmer yesterday.  Perfect weather for chasing smallouth bass.  I have been seeing a few #10-#12 Golden Drakes hatching and egg laying.  The large may fly has even drawn interest from a few river smallmouth.  Lots and lots of #8-#10 stone fly shucks on rocks.  Our tactics have been to work #8 yellow bellied popper with rubber legs aggressively in big back eddies.  Dead drifting a #6 clauser style olive bunny fur and marabou streamer with rubber legs covered our bases for below the surface presentations.  The fish have been stacked up in these eddies and if you got one strike in a spot you were probably going to receive another.  It is fun to take a trout angler bassin.  Most do not realize how strong smallmouth are and how hard they fight.  The trick is getting the angler to really set the hook and put pressure on the fish,  We were using a 16lb. tippet so you could really strike a fish and put a bend in the rod when fighting them.  I am off to small stream it this morning and chase bass in the afternoon,  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Smallmouth time!

Hi Folks, Been a solid smallmouth bite the last couple of days on my trips.  River fished and then boat fished yesterday morning.  Lost another afternoon trip on Monday due to heavy rain and thunderstorms.  Our rivers are up again and the best bet would be the small streams currently.  In addition, water temperatures are on the rise so the big rivers are now becoming to warm to trout fish.  We finally have some hot humid weather for July.  Im okay with it as it really turn on the smallmouth bite.  They are a warm water species and truly show their colors when the water reaches 70 to 75 degrees. July this season has been odd from a weather standpoint.  The trout fishing remained really good because water temperatures were suppressed with all of the cool damp weather.  So, now that things appear to be returning to normal, the bass bite has really improved.  Good top water action the last few days.  I had a father and son who were keen on learning to fish.  We fished the good old floating perch rapala and a series of poppers.  Nothing better than watching a good sized smallmouth crush a surface presentation.  We also fine tuned fishing rubber along the bottom.  Good to have an up and down offering for the smallmouth as you need to be adaptable as are the bass.  It appeared that a surface lure with an orange bottom was the most appealing.  5" Senkos in baby Bass and Watermelon Red Magic were extremely effective.  In the river, the fish were holding in slower deep pools.  They appeared to be tight to cover such as downed wood and large boulders.  In the lake, the larger fish were in 15' of water off the first drop from shoreline.  Once again, a hard bottomed area.  Well, until things cool down, I will be small stream trout fishing and chasing smallmouth.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, July 17, 2017

wild Winooski, wow

Hi Folks, Heck of a day of fly fishing on the Winooski yesterday morning. Nothing better than watching folks who are new to fly fishing start to pick it up and catch fish.  The water temperature was 61 degrees at 7 am and the levels are still up but dropping.  It is like May conditions currently.  There were a few #18 caddis hatching but lots and lots of bugs on rocks in riffles. #16-#20 tan bodied and dark green bodied bugs in pupa stage on the rocks.  We caught all of our fish on a #16 olive hare and copper, #18 olive wire caddis pupa, and a #10 black double tungsten stone fly nymph,  Lots of #8-#10 stone fly shucks on rocks.  We landed 11 nice wild rainbows with the largest trout measure in at 16".  Strong fighting fish.  I could not be more tickled with the trout fishing for July.  Nice to see the river fishing so good come mid summer and water temperatures remaining in cool. We focused on heavy water. Tight line nymphing.  The fish look really healthy and are certainly benefiting from the favorable conditions.  Looks to get hot the rest of the week and the big water fishing might slow.  I am off to river bass today.  Remember to have fun and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, July 16, 2017

tricky but consistent

Hi Folks, Been a busy few days on the water.  Mixing it up between spin and fly fishing trips.  The water is still big, but clear.  Temperatures have remained in the low sixties in the Winooski and Lamoille, but will begin to rise this week as we have summer weather upon us. Friday on the Winooski there was a fabulous hatch of #18 micro caddis.  Trout were rising and we were able to get them to eat #16/#18 olive wire caddis pupa swung, a #18 green bodied soft hackle, and a #16 x-caddis.  Landed  1 really nice wild rainbow that peeled off line and did not want to give up.  In addition we caught several smaller wild bows and a couple of native brook trout.  #8-#10 Stone fly shucks all over the rocks.  Friday evening the Lamoille fished pretty well in high water conditions.  There were a number of hatching #10 Golden Drakes (pothamanthus) and some egg laying caddis.  A few sporadic rising fish.  We got them to eat a #8 black wooly bugger and a #10 White Wulff.  All of the takes on the bugger came at the end of the drift as the fly swung to the seam and was given a couple of slight twitches or strips.  The fish are spread out pretty well with the high water conditions.  Yesterday I spent the day with a fun group of spin anglers.  We covered some water.  Pretty over cast conditions for the most part the water temperature was 62 degrees.  We mostly fished 3" to 4" Senkos and tried to develop a patterns.  We got lots of interest from fish but not as many hook ups for the amount of takes received.  It appeared the fish were bit off.  They would pick up the rubber but never attempt to shallow it.  We even had trout eating the rubber.  We fought fish that were never hooked but hanging onto the rubber.  Interestingly, the fish seemed to be more aggressive on eating the Senkos when the sun came out, go figure? We did have some fun sight fishing a few fish and had a huge rainbow in our sights. The trout was swinging wildly but we could not get it to eat. I suspect a well presented fly would have worked.  The strangest incident of the day was the trout that ate a Tiny Torpedo prop bait.  We did have a bit of surface action early.  Still we landed over 15 fish, but worked hard for them.  I am off to the Winooski.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Thursday, July 13, 2017

What's next????

Hi Folks, The beat goes on with the guiding.  Had a lot of fun yesterday with two trips.  River fished with a family in the morning and boat fished the afternoon with a father and son tandem.  We spin fished and fly fished yesterday.  Caught a variety of species yesterday and you were not sure what was going to eat the lure or fly next.  Two different weather patterns yesterday.  Hot and muggy in the morning with no wind and sun and clouds.  The afternoon you could feel the weather front move in and the air temps. cool off and we battled a bit of a north/northeast wind.  I have noticed lately that there is very little fishing pressure on the water currently.  Just not seeing any signs of anglers.   River temperature yesterday morning was 65 degrees and the surface temperature of the lake I was on was 71 to 72 degrees.  The lake I guided the previous  day for smallmouths was 74 to 77 degrees.  On the river fishing front, dead drifting 3.5" watermelon black/red magic Senkos and 3" crawfish colored Senkos hooked smallmouth bass, stocked rainbow trout, and lots of fall fish.  The trick with the Senkos is detecting the strike and having good line control.  The fish really do try to eat the Senkos so it does give the angler plenty of time to set up the hook set.  The hook set really needs to be a big sweep.  In the afternoon we cast poppers with a 7wt. and 8wt. outifts and spin fished with a floating perch rapala.  We caught a number of large pickerel who were more than willing to eat off the surface.  We caught off downed trees and the edges of deep weed beds.  Fun in clear water watching a a long green shape materialize to the surface to eat.  We did catch a few smallmouth and 1 largemouth, but no real big boys.  We made lots of cast to get the fish to eat off the top.  I think the weather front moving in impacted the bass fishing.  Another damp cool wet day.  Perfect fishing weather and I will be taking advantage of it.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  have fun, Willy

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Still wacky weather in the fishing world

Hi Folks, Another wacky weather weekend of fishing. Rain, thunderstorms, and changing weather fronts.  Still we managed to catch a few fish along the way on my guide trips.  River levels and lake levels are still up and our larger rivers have begun to settle out, but are still twice their average flow and slightly off colored.  Water temperatures are beginning to creep up into the mid sixties.  Lake levels are up as well with not nearly the issue of water clarity.  Bass fishing out of my boat Saturday was steady action with the fly.  We caught lots of fish, just not any large bass.  We aggressively worked a #6 foam crease fly in blue and white.  Largemouth bass in the 1 to 2 year old class were all over it.  I think the larger fish might have been stuffed as it was a full moon the previous night and they might have fed very actively during night time hours.  We worked large established weed bed edges on the deep side.  Set the boat up in 20' of water and casting into to 10' to 12'.  We did land 1 small pike as well on a #1/0 white Deceiver worked quickly just under the surface.  On the trout front I had spin guests the last couple of days and we have been working over the stocked rainbows and smallmouth bass.  With the high water, we have been finding lots of fish holding in big eddies and soft deep seams.  Dead drifting soft baits has been the ticket.  We did have some success with floating rapalas drifted in the current and then worked quickly off seam lines.  Had bass and trout respond to the hard baits.  Well, nice muggy weather today, should be good for my boat trip for bass.  We need a a drying out period.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, July 7, 2017

Fishing the habitat

Hi Folks, Been enjoying the early morning fly fishing for trout with my guests the last few days.  Water temperatures are still between 61 and 63 degrees.  The main stem of the Lamoille was 63 at 6am yesterday.  Water levels are still up and it looks like they will be climbing with the afternoon thunderstorms today.  I cancelled my afternoon trip,  It is not worth taking a chance on the water holding a graphite rod in the air when there is lightening in the area!!!  We nymphed the Lamoille yesterday and we worked for the 3 trout we landed.  2 of the fish were wild and the third was a stocked rainbow.  We nymphed heavy water with lots of cover and stability.  All of the 7 trout that ate our fly were holding in stable riffles to pools.  Once again a #16 olive caddis pupa off a #10 black double tungsten stone fly nymph was the most consistent set up.  This morning we fished a river that is influenced by a reservoir.  A high percentage of the fish whether they be trout or smallmout bass to several bait fish come and go from.  This river has very few stable bottom pools and not a lot of bug activity.  Where there are riffles to pools with cover, many of the stocked trout hold in these areas.  This morning the tactic was to dead drift big dry flies.  A #10 orange bodied stimulator and /#12 foam yellow sally pattern drew lots of interest.  We landed 5 fish and had another 5 eat the fly off the surface.  Once again as the sun rose the fishing slowed around 9am.  I'm pretty tickled that the trout fishing has bee so good for July in the larger rivers,  Typically this time of year the water is too warm and the trout fishing moves to small brooks.  So, fish the habitat and good things happen.  You do not need to always see rising fish or a hatch to get trout to eat off the top.  Vermont trout streams are a testament to that time and time again. Running the boat in the morning for bass.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

really nice for July

Hi Folks, Been pounding the big water with the fly rods and my clients the last few days.  Incredibly cool air temps. and water temps. for July.  Water levels are still up in our rivers but clarity in the Lamoille is just fine,  The Winooski is still a bit high  and off colored.  Monday afternoon the brook I was on was 56 degrees, yesterday the Lamoille trib. was 60 degrees and this morning the main stem of the Lamoille was 62 degrees.  Been a lot of caddis hatching the last few day in #16 olive bug and #18/#20 micro caddis that is tan bodied.  Today around 9am on the Lamoille we  saw a bunch of #10 Alder flies coming off but no fish eating them.  The fishing has been best the first few hours of the day and the last hour half before dark.  When the sun comes up high, regardless of the water temperature. the fishing slows.  We landed a dozen native brook trout on Monday on dry flies.  Big #10 stimulators, #12 Royal Wulffs, and a #10 foam tarantula.  Yesterday of the 15 brown trout and rainbows that came to the #12 orange bodied stimulator and #16 olive caddis pupa dropper we landed 5.  This morning we caught a lot of trout in a big riffle to pool in the Lamoille dead drifitng a #10 black double tungsten stone fly nymph with a #16 olive caddis pupa.  Caught fish both dead drifting and swinging the fly.  The dry dropper rig has been very consistent.  Trout fishing should remain good as long as the water stays cool.  Off to chase small stream trout with guests.  Remember toclean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, July 3, 2017

Having Fun

Hi Folks, Spent a really nice afternoon guiding a father and son river fishing.  Dad cast a fly and son a spin rod.  Water is still up and off colored. The Lamoille and Winooski will be a few days away from fishing.  Tributary streams are the best bet currently.  Nice weather pattern has moved in and it appears that it will be cool and dry for the next few days.  Water temperature yesterday afternoon was 64 degrees.  Not much for hatching bugs.  We worked a variety of streamers actively to no avail so we resorted to dead drifting a #8 black wolly bugger under an indicator.  We got four fish to eat.  All of the trout were holding in skinny water off the main current.  With the water being stained, the fish were very close to the river bank and you had to pay attention to not move into the water and spook them.  It was really nice spending an afternoon in dry sunny conditions.  Very relaxing.  Off to chase smallmouth from the boat.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Working with the weather and forcing the surface bite

Hi Folks, Been raining an awful lot the last 3 days.  Miraculously I pulled off 1 of two trips on Friday after the flooding rains and today rain the boat the is morning before it got ugly.  Even more incredibly the fish being caught buy client whether with a fly for a brook trout or a Zara Spook for a bass, the bite has been in the surface.  Our rivers are really big and saturated.  I think big river fishing is out for a few days.  The little brook I guided yesterday afternoon was 54 degrees and full of water.  However, the high gradient streams might come quickly, but they come down just as fast and clear rapidly.  I marched my fly clients as about high as we could go on this Winooski water shed brook and we proceeded to entice well over 2 dozen native brook trout to the dry fly.  Large #10 orange bodied Stimulators, #12 Royal Wulff, and a #10 foam rubber legged tarantula pattern all caught brook trout.  The water was heavy, but the fish hold in the soft pockets and seams.  They are naturally greedy and live in an environment that does have lots of food.  Big dry flies present opportunity and they gobble them up out of curiosity as easy pickings.  Small two weight and three weight rods in the 6' to 7' range with a slow action taper are perfect for this type of fly fishing.  On the still water front this morning we had perfect conditions with overcast, damp, humid, and slight breeze.  We got after the bass with oldie but goodie, the Zara Spook.  An active surface lure that is walked back to the boat steadily and produces some violent strikes.  The bigger fish were holding right on the drop offs from 10' to 20' on the outside edges of big milfoil beds.  Smallmouth and lots of young largemouth were chasing down the Spook into deep water We had a lot of fish come up and examine the lure and turn off.  I think the constant movement was important in drawing a strike.  We did fish the bottom a bit with some 5" rubber in order to keep my finesse fishing client tickled.  A man named Top water who likes to work the down and dirty with the rubber.  Anywho, the 5" watermelon red magic Senko did produce the largest bass of the day.  Well, I'm ready for the rain to stop.  Looks like a nice cool week ahead for fishing, perfect.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy