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