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

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

becoming an accurate fly caster

Hi Folks, Been working the smaller streams the last few days with young aspiring fly anglers.  I love seeing young adults who are truly interested in fly fishing and becoming better anglers.  Hungry for a wealth of information that takes a lifetime to acquire.  I love fly fishing and it is really the only way I want to fish myself.  So, the water temperatures and levels have been excellent.  The levels are slightly above the seasonal average flow and temperatures are definitely below average for August. Temperatures have been between 55 degrees and 58 degrees.  Small stream fishing for trout is typically a confined setting.  The holding water can be tight spots due to large rocks and boulders and wood.  Narrow windows that the fly needs to be landed in.  It is not about making long casts, but accurate casts.  Using a set amount of fly and not shooting it on the forward cast.  Moving with your feet to get in place to make a good cast and proper presentation.  Fly fishing small water will make anyone a more accurate caster due to the nature of the beast.  The small stream fishing has been pretty good the last few days.  All of the trout have come to a dry fly.  A #10 foam royal rubber legged trude, #14 royal wulff, and a #14 orange/green stimulator.  Lots of pretty native brookies and almond colored wild brown trout.  #22-#24 Tricos and #10 Epherons are on in the big rivers. I am off to fly fish the Lamoille with guests,  Remember to clean your geat and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Monday, August 7, 2017

wacky weather weekend

Hi Folks, Crazy weather weekend with a big front moving into town.  Feels like Fall out there.  Created some thunder and lightening issues as well as dirty water on Saturday afternoon.  Oh well, I was able to guide on Sunday in a local river and the fishing was pretty good.  We spin fished and caught a mixed bag of tricks.  The water was still slightly off colored and the level was up just a bit.  Saw a good number of #22 Trico spinners with stocked trout rising to eat them.  Water temperature was 65 degrees.  We landed 7 smallmouth bass, 4 stocked rainbows, and 2 really big Fall Fish.  We did all of our damage with 3" craw fish colored and Baby Bass Senkos dead drifted on red hooks.  The bites were subtle and we worked for our fish.  I think the cold front might have had a part in that.  Still, pretty nice fishing weather coming up for the week with the cool air temperatures in town.  Off to chase trout this morning.  Remmeber to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, August 4, 2017

wow, that was really good

Hi Folks, I had one of those magical guide trips yesterday where the stars just lined up.  We floated the lower Lamoille for smallouth bass in my drift boat.  Water temperatures were 74 degrees and the level was slightly below the seasonal average flow.  We caught well over 40 fish.  Lost track after awhile.  The surface bite was short lived.  We landed half a dozen smallmouth on the surface but it slowed once the sun hot the water.  The good old rubber legged frog popper. We did have an incoming front and thunderstorms did arrive after we had pulled the boat out of the water.  We then cast a tandem streamer rig on a floating line for the rest of the day.  The lead fly was a #6 dumbbell bunny bugger with rubber legs with an unweighted white streamer behind.  We mixed up the dropper streamers and the most productive seemed to be a #8 pink bodied zonker with a white wing.  The fish ate both patterns pretty evenly.  Amazingly, wehad three occasions where we had two fish on at once. That does not happen everyday.  You would see a fish take one of the patterns and then the movement of the fight must of given the other fly some attractive action and another smallmouth would take it.  Just incredible!! We even caught a walleye on a fly yesterday.  It was text book river fishing for smallmouth.  The fish were holding on big rocks in the river. On the upstream and down stream side.  You would see them emerge to eat the fly every time.  My guest really enjoyed the perspective you get from standing in the drift boat we presenting the fly.  You can really see what is going on.  Big back eddies were also extremely fruitful.  Well, it appears that it is bass time until the water cools back down.  Trout fishing will now be best in the small streams.  Lots of terrestrials out there and I did see a bunch of tiny #20-#22 Trico spinners yesterday morning dancing over a riffle.  I am bass fishing in a canoe this afternoon.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

every day is different

Hi Folks, The interesting thing about fishing is that is never the same day in and day out. I have been guiding everyday and mixing up the trips by fishing in different locations, to species, to methods, to tactics.  July was incredibly good.  An anomaly really.  In my 22 years of guiding I have never seen the trout fishing in the big water so good.  Lots of water and cool temperatures.  The trout in our rivers have been in really good shape.  Big, fat, and happy unlike a lot years where they look big headed, emaciated, and skinny. Almost next to nothing for fishing pressure.  No foot prints in sand bars and not many fish that have been previously hooked.  I have over the last 3 days floated, motorboated, and waded.  All very different with very different results.  The floating of the Lamoille on Sunday was fantastic. Water temp. was 61 degrees and the level was dropping. We caught stocked and wild rainbows between 10" and 14" on dry flies, nymphs, and streamers.  The fishing on the surface was decent until the morning fog burned off.  There were trout selectively rising to #18 tan bodied caddis.  We presented a #18 Goddard caddis with a #18 yellow hackle.  Our nymph rig was a #10 stone fly nymph with a #18 tan bodied caddis pupa dropper.  The streamer rig which caught the most fish was a tandem #10 black wooly bugger with a #10 blacknose dace cast on a 200 grain sinking tip that was cast into deep primary pools.  Incredible how productive for July.  Then Monday just when you think you got it figured out, the fish get lock jaw.  Visited a NE kingdom clear lake for bass.  Water was 71 degrees on the surface with a slight east wind.  We got two nice fish to eat a #8 frog popper, but the rest our action was with small juvenille smallmouth.  I had two anglers and I guy cast a fly the other a spin rod.  We could not even get the fish to eat any finesse baits. Lots of pick ups and drops. It appeared that the big fish were not interested and the small fish were only somewhat interested.  Challenging morning, though the sun was up early and high and the wind was wacky so who knows.  Today, the river fishing for bass was electric.  We caught near 25 smallmouth bass and IO am not sure how many we missed or lost. Even landed 3 stocked rainbows on the spin rods.  I did have 1 lone fly angler in the group who caught several  bass and missed a couple of trout with a #10 green bodied stimulator.  Interesting with the water temperature 67 degrees, you had trout and bass mixed in together.  The trout were holding in the rifles while the bass were in the slow deep pools that had lots of rock cover.  Big eddies were productive as well.  A 3" baby bass and 3" crawfish colored Senko dead drifted were extremely consistent.  Pretty subtle takes.  Loads of fun. Off to lake fish for bass in the morning.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy