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