Thursday, October 11, 2018

Feast or Famine

Hi Folks, It has been one of the most interesting fall fly fishing seasons I have experienced ever. Very hit or miss.  One day catching trout is no problem and the next it is like fishing the dead sea. Its been either we catch a bunch of fish or don't even get a strike. The big rivers have been way more tricky than the tributary streams. The Lamoille and Winooski have been okay. I have guided the last 15 days straight and I have walked and floated a lot of different rivers, streams,and brooks. Raining like crazy right now. Looks like an 1" is on the way. It is never a bad thing to have our rivers full of water heading into winter.  Water levels as a whole have been up and lots of leaves floating down stream and getting caught in eddies. Still with all the junk in the water the trout are  still eating nymphs and dry flies.  Lots of blind casting and fishing in the small tributary streams.  Water temperatures have actually warmed over the last few days as the weather has been very summer like.  That is about to change. I have got readings 55 degrees to 58 degrees. The main stem of Winooski yesterday was 64 degrees at 3pm.  Not too many rising fish on the big water. We located a few rainbows that appeared to be eating random #14 flying ants.  There were a few #20 BWO eaters at dusk but the rise forms were not regular. We got them to eat a #20 Spotlight emerger and a #14 foam ant with a green sparkle dub soft hackle dropper.  Yellow has been the color on the small water. #12-#14 Yellow foam terrestrial patterns have all worked.  The brown trout have been hammering the dry fly.  I had one guest land a rainbow, brown, and brook trout in one pool with the yellow foam dry.  Nymphing has been productive with a #14 pyscho prince with a #14 olive caddis pupa dropper swung.  Lots of takes from rainbows in particular swinging the flies. Not too many dead drift takes.  Well about to go get wet. Two and a half weeks of fishing left.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Foliage Fly Fishing

Hi Folks, I have been on the water everyday for the last 10 days guiding trout. Conditions have been changing on a daily basis. We finally got some serious rain that has put a nice charge of water in our rivers. The leaves are stating to really turn and reach peak. Lots of full day trips for me this time of the year and it is really nice being outside enjoying the scenery. The water has cooled down significantly. I have mostly been on the Lamoille watershed and with a few forays to a local Winooski tributary. The main stem of the Lamoille was 60 degrees last weekend and now is cooled . off to 56 degrees. The smaller tributary rivers and brooks I streams I have been walking have been holding between 52 to 57 degrees. We reached closed to an 1" of rain Tuesday in Stowe and it made for a blow out fishing. However, the next day I had guests in the high reaches of the watershed chasing brook trout on dry flies. We had limited water to cast to but were able to drum on some beautifully colored up native brook trout on dry flies. A #12 Royal Wulff, #10 Black Foam Royal Trude, and a #12 Electric Green Stimulator with rubber legs. The high gradient brooks come up quickly in big rain but also they come down very quickly and clear. Rising fish have been few and far between. I have not seen much for hatches of caddis and BWOs.  A few bugs here and there but not enough to get the fish looking up. Still plenty of insects on rocks in riffles preparing to hatch from tiny #18-#22 Baetis,  to #14 Green Rock Worm caddis  and another smaller #18 web spinning caddis. I spent the last two days on a Lamoille tributary and we had a lot of success with a #14 green wire caddis pupa dropper and a #14 green latex caddis larvae dropper under a #14 red threaded Prince nymph and under a #12 Adams Parachute. The fishing has been inconsistent all week but the last two days have been pretty good. Lots of young wild rainbows have been greedily eating swung caddis. Most of the takes coming on the down stream swing at the end of the drift as the fly settles on the seam line. Thursday was the day of the week for fishing with the big trout looking up. We had several 15" plus Brown trout eat a the Adams dry. Nice slow methodical rise forms. The Prince nymph accounted for an almost 15" wild rainbow that refused to give up. Yesterday was interesting as we worked a lot harder to catch trout with the sunny conditions and passing cold front. The trout seemed to be not as willing to move to far to take a fly. We made lots of casts for the 6 rainbows we landed. With the recent rain fall and it looks more to come the fishing should be decent. The water moves fish around and reshuffles the deck. It does not look like the water temperatures will drop too significantly in the near future. It has been a weird fishing year with the hot dry summer. It makes me wonder how it has impacted the Fall fishing. Just because we now have rain and cool water temperatures does not necessarily mean that the trout have returned to many of the big water holding areas. Never underestimate a wild trouts ability to travel great distances to find suitable habitat. They need cold water and many of our tributary streams offer exactly that. No reason to leave good habitat if you are a thermally stressed trout that departed the Lamoille this summer when the water got up into the high 70's. Landlocked salmon should be pouring into our rivers out of lakes. Just a lot of angling pressure. I am off to guide the Winooski watershed today. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home, Have Fun, Willy

Monday, October 1, 2018

looking for the big boy

Hi Folks, Since returning from out west fly fishing I have been guiding Vermont waters everyday with fly fishing guests. Water levels have come up a bit from recent rains and it appears that we are now in a nice pattern of damp Fall weather. Increased water flows allow Landlocked Salmon, Brown Trout, and Brook Trout all to migrate to spawning areas in rivers. Light levels are one of the primary motivating factors and then coupled with water flow gets the fish on the move. I have been on the main stem of the Lamoille to several Winooski tributary brooks.  Water temperatures have certainly cooled off. The Lamoille was 62 degrees on Friday and 59 to 60 degrees yesterday afternoon, The smaller brooks have been a bit cooler ranging from 55 to 57 degrees. I have not seen a ton of hatching insects or rising trout. However, I have been fishing more midday and the one afternoon we fished to dusk we did locate some trout eating egg laying #14 cadddis.  We tricked them with a #14 Goddard caddis. I have found the Lamoille to be fishing a bit slow for this time of the year.  Its not due to fishing pressure as I have seen any sign of life.  It makes me wonder what impact did the low hot water have on the trout this summer. It does not appear to me that many fish have re orientated to certain riffles and pools even though things have cooled off. Water movement does move fish around.  Still it appears those fish who traveled to find thermal refuge this summer then maybe  have not returned to certain sections of the big rivers that had become uninhabitable.  I am speaking of wild trout here not stocked fish that I think probably really got beat up this summer in the low hot water.  Lots of studies of trout behavior have been conducted that show that they will move great distances to fish cold water when under duress. Though I have not seen a lot of hatching insects, there are plenty of #14 Green Rock Worm on rocks in riffles preparing to hatch as well as tons of #18-#22 Baetis nymphs. Still seeing plenty of #14 green bodied hoppers along the river banks. This previous week the trout fishing has been more productive on the smaller streams with a fair number of 6' to 11" wild browns being netted. Still looking for the mommy and daddy. Keep the fly in the water and good things will happen. Foliage is starting to look really nice and it finally feels like Fall. Off to chase trout this afternoon.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, September 25, 2018


Hi Folks, "I might be moving to Montana soon, Just to raise me up a crop of Dental Floss." Had to quote a little Frank Zappa. I just returned from 8 days of Fly Fishing in Montana. Incredible place with amazing scenery and incredible diversity of trout water. Montana is so drastically different than Vermont. I was in the Emigrant area in between Livingston and the North Entrance to Yellowstone Park. Fished the immense Yellowstone River several times wading and floating. It is really big water and it appears to turn on and off like a light switch. The wind can be a real issue and certainly impacts your ability to make accurate casts and drifts to selectively feeding fish. However, when the river is on, it is amazing and the place holds some really big wild browns, bows, cutthroat, cutbows, and everyone's favorite the whitefish. The fishing in Yellowstone Park was ridiculous. Spent most of time in the Lamar valley tugging on cutthroat trout. We were very fortunate to experience an amazing hatch for several days of #12 Western Green Drakes. Every afternoon around 2 pm the big bug would begin its emergence and the cutthroats would line up in riffles to gobble down the mayflies. I don't think we landed a trout in the park under 15" with many fish averaging 17' to 18". It goes to show that when streams are managed properly how good the fishing can be. We mixed it up and spent a day in one of my favorite places to fish, Dupuys Spring Creek. A magical place with a high density of wild trout that are well fed. It is locate in Paradise Valley outside Livingston and is a must stop for any fly angler visiting the area. Very technical fishing in spring creek. I caught a lot of fish on a #20 Blood Midge. I would like to give credit to my good friend Jan Axtell for coming up with the Blood Midge pattern. He has had good success using this fly and as well as selling it commercially. The rig was an anchor fly of a tungsten #18 Baetis with the midge being dropped off the tag end of a blood knot 24" above the bottom pattern. Dead drifted under an indicator this rig was very effective. In the afternoon we were treated to an incredible hatch of #20-#22 Baetis. Never boring watching bit noses sip in little bugs. A #22 Compara Dun and a #20 Adams both caught fat chunky rainbows. I think what I enjoy the most about western trout fishing is the history of the place. Lots and lots of Eastern anglers have relocated to the West to pursue trout. It was fun on this trip to have the chance to meet a couple of well know fly tyers and guides. Many of the trout flies in Montana and the Park are variations of old eastern patterns and or flies that have been tweaked to match the vast amount of food in Montana streams. The number of fly patterns used out West is mind boggling. We visited at the tail end of hopper season. The trout has seen every foam hopper pattern known to man. We mixed it up with flies that they did not see everyday such as a rubber legged green bodied Stimulator, the  Le Tort Hopper and a good old Royal Trude. As a fly angler, Montana gives me goose bumps. There is a fly shop in every town and fly fishing is such a big part of the culture. I love the way that many keen western anglers are constantly attempting to outwit the fish and come up with new fly patterns that are effective. I did not see one person spin angling while in Montana.  The number of transplants to Montana is incredible. The infusion of experience and knowledge gained from other fisheries has only enhanced the overall fly fishing culture of the state. Cant wait to return so I'm " Movin to Montana soon, Going to be a Dental Floss Tycoon." So Vermont fishing, we still need rain. It is raining now and will for the next couple of days.  Our rivers are still low from a summer of no rain. At least the air temperatures have cooled down and river temperatures are within optimum ranges. I love the next few weeks of fishing in Vermont. Lots of hatches like BWOs, Rhycophilla caddis, and Isonychia. In addition, working streamers can produce some very large trout this time of the year. A Mickey Finn, Black Ghost, a Olive or Black Wooly Bugger, and Muddlers are all good choices. I prefer sinking lines and tips with streamers. They get and keep the fly down in the zone. The best time to fish currently is midday to late afternoon. Let the water warm a bit and crank of the bug activity and the fish. Nice time now to catch a large smallmouth or pike lake fishing.  The scenery is beautiful and the fishing pressure decreases as hunting seasons kick in. I am off to chase brown trout.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Coming into prime time

Hi Folks, It has been a few very good days in a row of fishing. I have been guiding trout in streams and using my motorboat to tug on big bass. Nice to see the rain Monday. Maybe got a 1/4" in Stowe. Every bit counts and certainly helped to raise river levels. Water temperatures are dropping slowly but surely. The Winooski trib. I have been guiding was 60 degrees and clear. The lake I guided yesterday was between 67 and 70 degrees on the surface and the water was off color.  Nice overcast  day on the water with a slight south wind that shifted to the northwest by day's end. We had the entire lake to ourselves. Pretty spectacular as we landed 15 bass. The color of the day was fire tiger and orange. Pretty consistent colors this time of the year for lures and flies when pursuing bass and pike. We landed 2 smallmouth in the 18" to just over 19" class. Really strong fish that took drag and liked to go airborne. No small fish yesterday. Most of the smallmouth and largemouth were in the 2lb. to 2.5lb class. It would have been a helluva a bag of bass if we were competitive  anglers, but I'm  not. We covered a lot of water and we would find pods of feeding fish. Certain stretches were very quiet and then it would be boom boom boom with bass eating our presentations. All of the fish were holding onn sharp drop offs where the depth went from 7' to 15'. Had one good pike crush a popper as we were looking away and one other small northern come up and kiss a lure. The largest fish of the day ate a #8 fire tiger popper. Love the topwater bite! The trout fishing the previous two days was pretty darn good. Catching fat healthy looking wild brown trout. Found fish eating #22 Tricos mid morning subtly and you could see fish that were nynphing. There were a few #18 BWOs hatching, a few #12 Isonychia spinners landing, and a few #18 tan caddis hatching. The clear water really is nice for watching trout behavior. A #18 pheasant tail nymph under a #14 foam flying ant was the ticket. Interestingly, giving the nymph some movement is what prompted the trout to eat the fly. Counter intuitive to typical trout fishing where we are generally working to make perfect drag free drifts. Really nice to see cool water as the fish fight pretty darn hard when the temperatures are in the fifties and low sixties. Looks like a nice weather pattern coming up for fishing. I will be chasing small stream brown trout today. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, September 9, 2018

A nice feel to the air

Hi Folks, Sorry for a lack of reports. Just lost a bit of motivation after the oppressively hot summer. I have been guiding smallmouth for the first part of September and just returned to trout fishing the last two days. Even with all of the low warm water, the state of the wild fish we caught over the last two days has been outstanding.  I  am pretty tickled to see the wild rainbows and browns we encountered over two days of fishing Lamoille tributaries looking fat and happy. The rainbows have been going ballistic with lots of air time. Water temperatures have slowly lowered from 64 degrees on Friday to 60 on Saturday. The water is still low and clear. We could use some rain but it is nice to see the temperatures drop in our lakes and rivers. The fly of the day has been a #14 foam flying ant. Every trout of the 18 landed in two days has eaten the foam ant with the exception of three trout who took a #14 Royal Trude. Most of the fish have been in close relation to heavy riffles. Pretty fun to watch trout rise to dry flies in clear water. For bugs I have seen a few random #14 caddis, #12 Isoychia, #18 BWOs, and #8 Stone Fly adults laying eggs. Lot of terrestrials around. I enjoy the banker's hour fishing this time of the year. No more getting up at 4am in the morning. September into early October is one of my favorite times of the year to fly fish in Vermont. I off to chase trout on the Winooski. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. have fun, Willy

Friday, August 31, 2018

Moose equals good mojo

Hi Folks, I have had the pleasure of seeing tow different moose in 2 days while taking guests fishing.  It pays to get up early in the morning to go fishing.  Both encounters were right at sunrise driving to fishing locations. Love seeing Moose and after each encounter we did really well catching smallmouth bass. I have been guding morning and evening and even with the heat wave this week the smallmouth fishing has been very good. River temperratures have been 74 degrees and the water is really low still. Nice cold front just moved into town and the over night temperature was 50 degrees. Seeing lots of hatching #12 Isonychia and random #14-#22 flying ants around. We have been catching smallmouth with spin and fly gear. Yesterday it was all about the top water bite. A #8 yellow belly frog pattern was the ticket and inducing some very aggressive strikes. The spin anglers have been getting lots of interest using a 4" crawfish colored Senko dead drifted and twitched. The boat fishing has been equally good. Catching both largemouth and smallmouth bass with rubber worms in 10' to 15' of water slowly worked along the bottom. In addition, the number of blitzing fish in this one lake I have been guiding has been steady and crazy. Every afternoon late in the day the smallmouth are gorging on little 3" minnows in open water. You can see the bass chasing the bait out of the water and  we landed a 2lb that fish  coughed up a bunch of small bait. Its like a saltwater phenomena. Well hopefully it will stay cool and we get some more much needed rain. Off to chase river bass. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Monday, August 27, 2018

Warming back up

Hi folks, Still chasing smallmouth bass with a reckless abandon. No rain even though it had been predicted.  Rivers and lakes really low. Never seen the water this low in my 23 years of guiding. One benefit is that I have found some mid lake structure in several lakes that I did not know existed. Also, some of the exposed cover in rivers that is generally underwater can now be marked for future fishing visits. Water temperatures have maintained the last week but will now jump up as we are in store for 3 really warm bright days. The river I guided yesterday morning was 69 degrees at 7am and warmed to 70 by time we finished up. The lake I rain the boat on the previous day 74 degrees with a stiff southwest wind. We had to use the wind to our advantage in drifting certain sections of the lake. The fishing was slow until the last hour of daylight. We found smallmouth bass crashing the surface in open water. Over 40 ' of water the bass we coming out of the water like a blue fish blitz in the ocean. I've never seen anything like it in fresh water.  No idea what they were eating but we cast a #8 blue and white foam crease fly inot the fray and had the fish crush it. Pretty entertaining. ON the river side of things, the smallie fishing was pretty good yesterday morning.  We landed 10 fish and caught several very nice ones.  We found one big rocky pool and dead drifted 3" Baby Senkos to the bass. We could sight fish a percentage of them.  The fishing really slowed once the sun got high over head. I am off to chase small stream trout this am. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. have Fun, Willy

Friday, August 24, 2018

bass and more bass

Hi Folks, I have been getting right after the fish with my guests. doing double duty all week chasing smallmouth bass. We have been catching fish with the fly rods and the spin gear. I have been guiding out of my boat, canoe, and wade fishing. The smallmouth fishing in Vermont is outstanding and the number of places to fish bass is incredible. Water temperatures have cooled off with the night time cooling effect. The lower Lamoille was 70 at 6 am Thursday and a Winooski trib was 67 at 6;30am on Tuesday at 7 am. I have fished 3 different lakes since Tuesday and their water temperatures have ranged from 68 to 73 degrees late in the day. Still tons of #14-#22 flying ants around and I am seeing a lot of surface activity late in the afternoon. Matter of fact we witnessed a literal blitz of feeding smallmouth the other day and the only thing that made sense was that the fish were gulping tons of drowned ants. Interestingly with the water so low and temperatures warmer than average  in our lakes that you would assume that the fish would be holding in deeper water. Every large smallmouth hooked in a lake the last 3 days has been holding in less than 3' of water. Rocky hard bottom areas with downed wood, man mad structure,and weeds.  The river fishing has been pretty consistent whether we have been drifting soft plastic baits with spin gear to casting flies. With the sunny skies you have had to really place drifts onto cover within the river. The fish have not been overly willing to move far to eat. Large rocks on the upstream side in particular have been productive. The top water bite in the rivers has been short lived. the first hour of light and dusk. I have not found that surface fly has much mattered. A #8 yellow belly frog with rubber legs has been consistent. I think its more the way it is fished makes a difference. Be patient when the fly lands and bring the popper to life! Olive colored streamer between #10-#6 have worked the best. I tie an olive Zonker with a olive crystal chenille body that works really well. creates the illusion of a baby bass to crawfish to a wood minnow. We still need rain. Never seen lakes and rivers so low. Chasing bass again tomorrow. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Spiders, snakes, bees, flying ants, and wild trout

Hi Folks, Summer is winding down and I have been spending a lot of time on the water. We are coming into one of my favorite times of the year for fishing in Vermont. We have received a bit of much needed rain and we could use some more. In addition, a nice cooling off daytime and nighttime air temperatures. Made the epic journey slogging up a wilderness stream with 2 guests Sunday. We walked for 11 hours. Needless to say we saw some amazing trout water. We also walked into lots of spider webs with big spiders. Nothing like having a big old spider hanging off your hat. Saw a garter snake, no big deal and got stung by a random yellow jacket. You do need to pay attention for wasps nests this year whether they be the ground variety or a hanging one. The water temperature was 60 degrees. Each guest landed the Vermont cycle of a brook trout, brown trout, and rainbow trout on a fly. We also missed a lot of fish. This particular fishery is not easy. With the clarity of the water, an upstream approach is necessary. We spooked several large fish before we could even put a cast on them. Upstream mending is important and the fly line needs to be removed from the water on the drift as the fly approaches the angler. The hook set is a sweeping lift of the fly rod. Wild fish are not apt to give you more than one chance. We tried a number of combinations of fly patterns. A #14 green bodied Stimulator and a #14 foam flying ant were the patterns of the day. Late summer and early fall offer up some great hatches for fly anglers. #12 Isonycia, #14 green rock worm, #14-#22 flying ants, #22-#26 Tricos, and #18-#22 BWOs. Massive swarms of flying ants the last couple of days.  These ants are moving their nest. It is a consistent phenomenon every late summer, it just does not happen everyday afternoon. What makes it significant is that it really gets fish oriented to the surface. You fish an ant pattern consistently and catch fish. Its profile could also look like a caddis or a beetle. More and more Isonychia activity everyday and I am seeing lots of green rock worms on rocks in the riffles. Still plenty of #18- #20 micro caddis about. #12-#14 green bodied hoppers are all over the fields. Still doing a bit of river fishing for smallmouth bass. It has been pretty consistent. The recent rain puffed up the big rivers but they should settle out nicely. Sight fished a bunch of smallies yesterday with kids. The old reliable 3" Senko in dark green with red flake was the producer. All of the fish were cruising in slow deep pools or holding in and around downed wood. You could watch the fish move 10' to track down the rubber lure. Off to do it all over again. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Monday, August 13, 2018

Using the Resources Wisely

Hi Folks, It has been a very busy August for me.  I have guided 2 days or full days for the last three weeks. I am grateful that I am so busy and I have learned that using my water wisely is critical.  You cannot fish the same spot day in and day out and expect good results.  There are only so many fish per spot and it easy to wear at your welcome. In the last week I have guided 12 different locations.  I might visit the same river in a weeks time but I always fish a different beat. 23 years of guiding has allowed me to figure out where to be at any given time due to weather.  It is a hot and dry and drought conditions, yet my clients are still catching fish. I visited a mid sized trout stream on Saturday to find the water a cool 59 degrees. Night time cooling the previous night allowed the water to cool off. Air temps of high forties will do that. Night time air temperatures below 60 are ideal for bringing  a trout stream into line after hot sunny days. We were rewarded with rising wild trout and really good fishing.  A great hatch of #22 Tricos had big fish sipping little bugs. We took several fish on a #22 Trico spinner and our best brown was landed on a beetle pattern. A 15" jumping brown that hammered a beetle drifted along a heavily vegetated bank.  Good fun in clear water sight fishing to weary trout.  On the small stream front, the brook trout fishing has been outstanding.  Water temperatures in the small mountain brooks we have been  walking have been 60 to 62 degrees.  The water is wicked low so stealth is important.  We are catching tons of 4" to 9" brookies on a 2wt. casting # 12-#14 Royal wulff or Royal Trude. The river bass fishing has been the most consistent. The water has been between 75 to 79 degrees but the fish seem to still be active. With the fly rods a #8 yellow belly frog popper and a #8 chartreuse Sneaky Pete have both been consistent. With the spin gear it is hard to get away from the 3" Senkos dead drifted.  They catch everything that swims. Lake fishing in the boat has been the trickiest. Surface lake temperatures have reached the high seventies. We have located smallmouth in 15' to 20' of water off deep milfoil beds. The largemouth bass have been holding in skinnier water. Mostly around Lilly pads and downed wood. I am off to do my second trip of the day. Looks like a thunderstorm could be in store for late day.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, August 10, 2018

Dog Days of Summer

Hi Folks, The summer heat continues and being next o the water or in it is not such a bad idea. Actually it looks like we are getting a reprieve from the heat and humidity with a cool down. It will be nice to have cool nights once again in order to cool off water temperatures.  I have been guding bass over the last couple of days with the spin and fly gear. We have been wading and boat fishing.  Water temperatures are still way above seasonal average and we still need lots of rain. The lake I guided the other day had a surface temperature of 77 degrees. We worked for a few fish.  The surface bite was okay first thing in the morning with a one good smallmouth taking a perch colored Floating Rapala that was cast to a downed tree. Interestingly, the fish rising to eat of the top whether it be in the lake or a river have been lethargic on the take. Certainly due to the warm water.  We worked to get a few small bass to eat a 4" Baby Bass Senko. All of the fish are holding in deeper water off milfoil beds around rocky bottoms. On the river front the water temperature yesterday morning was 71 degrees and 78 degrees by late day.  The water is really clear and you could sight fish the smallmouth. In the morning we spin fished dead drifting 3" Baby Bass Senkos and Watermelon Red magic Senkos.  My young group of anglers did a fine job landing upwards of 20 fish. My afternoon group was with the fly rods and we sight fished several smallmouth nymphing a #8 stonefly nymph under an indicator. Really subtle takes. We did have several surface takes with a #8 Chartreuse Sneaky Pete.  Being patient with the take on the surface fly and slowing down the approach were imperative with the warm water temperatures. Off to run the boat today for smallmouth.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

A special place

Hi Folks, Been a really busy last few days on the water. Full days chasing small stream trout and big water smallmouth.  Blazing outside and really muggy.  We still need rain and our rivers are only getting skinnier. I have meeting clients at 5;30 am to escape the heat.  Morning is always the coolest time of the day in when it is hot like it is currently. I have mostly been on small streams and one in particular that is an incredible place. This streams holds wold browns, wild rainbows, and native brookies. My client the other day caught all 3 in 1 pool on a #14 Rubber Legged Royal Trude. It is rugged walking and not a place for a beginner fly angler. Lots of tree canopy and obstructions  that need to be negotiated with the fly rod.  The water temperature has maintained at 64 degrees which is still pretty darn warm for this brook. We had the opportunity to sight fish to a 18" Brown trout that was eating midges. We stood 10' from the fish and watched it do its thing, pretty cool. I spent 3 days fly fishing with guests the 10 miles of this stream. We fished mostly dry flies but a #18 tan/yellow caddis pupa was really productive in some plunge pool areas. Also, a #8 Near Enuff
Sculpin moved bigger fish in the giant plunge pools.  The streamer pattern is cast up into the plunge and retrieved at a fast pace. It is fun to watch large trout chase the fly down. Really a special place to fly fish in the area and a true wilderness experience. A great option for finding shade, cooler water, and relief from the heat.  I ventured out with a guest to chase river smallmouth yesterday morning.  The river was 78 degrees at 6;30am. Millions and millions of #12 Ephoron leukon mayfly spinners bunched up in slow and eddy areas.  Piles and Piles of bugs.  I have never seen so many bugs in one place. Unfortunately, the water is so warm there will be no enjoying this hatch for trout this year. We did land 4 really nice bass yesterday and missed another 8 takes. A #8 white Sneaky Pete produced the fish. Lots of casting but we only caught smallmouth over 2lbs. Pretty fun on a 6wt. rod.  They were all holding in big primary pools.  The streamer fishing was slow.  We did get a 2lb bass to take a #8 black Girdle Bug under an indicator.  By lunchtime it was really hot on the water and a bit uncomfortable No place to hide from the sun. I am off to find shade this morning in a small stream. Well stay off the big trout water until things cool down and do a rain dance. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, August 4, 2018

finding cold water

Hi Folks, I just cant ever remember such a hot dry summer. It is raining currently but I do not think it will amount to much of anything. I have change directions with the guiding this week from pounding on smallmouth bass to walking small mountain brooks in pursuit of our state fish the Brook Trout. Even in these little streams the water temperatures are way above average. The 3 brooks I have been on have been between 61 and 64 degrees. A good 4 to 5 degrees warmer than average. Thus why many of the Brookies are holding in the heavier water associated with the plunge pools. They are starving for dissolved oxygen. The small stream fishing is really fun if you like to catch trout on dry flies and cast light slow action fly rods. I have been using several different patterns from #14 Cal Birds Pocket water, to a #12 Royal Wulff,  a #12-#14 Rubber legged Royal Trude,  to a #12 Green Foam Grasshopper. Small stream fishing involves a lot of walking especially with the current conditions. The low water has pushed the trout all into the bigger primary pools. There is not enough water in our brooks to provide adequate cover in many of the secondary holding spots. I did have a very fine angler on Thursday catch the Vermont cycle on a dry landing a Brookie, Brown, and Rainbow in the same afternoon. One of the things I enjoy about small stream fishing in Vermont is that these are the environments where a high percentage of the wild fish live. It is important in these brooks to think about where you stand prior to casting and how you move about the brook. The spook factor is in full effect with the current conditions. I am off to chase small stream trout for the day. Looks like it is going to get really warm over the next few days, ugh. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Leaving July on a hot note

Hi Folks, In my opinion, July 2018 will not go down in Catamount Fishing Adventures as a month to remember. I have guided pretty much everyday and the fishing has been decent. However, the hot dry weather has been awful. Tired of getting cooked in the sun, reading warm water temperatures on my thermometer, and looking at low river levels. Bring on the rain and cold! I have been mixing it up lately between fly fishing and spin fishing for smallmouth bass. Seeing lots of #22-#24 Tricos early in the morning. Not that the smallmouth are going to eat the tiny mayfly.  Lots of terrestrials around from hoppers to beetles to ants. You cant underestimate how well a terrestrial pattern can work on heavily wooded streams. Trout fishing currently is in the small mountain brooks. The big water is too warm.  On the lower Lamoille the other day I got a reading of 78 degrees at 6:30 am. The stream I guided yesterday morning was 72 degrees at 7am. Surface temperatures on the lakes I have visited have been between 73 to 77 degrees. Just too darn hot. The bass fishing has been consistent. Just working a bit harder than usual to catch fish as they even seem lethargic in the warmer water temperatures. I have noticed the bass in lakes are holding in deeper water due to the warm temps. and bright sunny days. While the river bass have been stacked up in primary pools. Just been slowing down the tactics to catch fish. I am off to chase to river brook trout in a small stream. Need some rain. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Tugging on smallmouth

Hi Folks, We are experiencing a tropical weather pattern currently. Heavy humid air with finally some much needed rain. I like bass fishing when the air is heavy. Something about humid weather that really turns the smallmouth fishing on.  The water temperatures have been crazy warm. The lower Lamoille was 77 to 78 degrees yesterday morning at 6:30am. Wow! The river I guided the previous day was 75 degrees in the late afternoon and the previous morning it was 69 degrees. The water is still really low and we could use more rain. We have been catching smallmouth with a variety of tactics. Both on fly rods and spin gear.  Have some some success getting fish to eat off the top. A #8 yellow bellied frog popper with the fly rod and a jointed floating perch rapala with the spin gear. Yesterday morning was interesting as the top water bite was really good off the get go and then totally shut down. We resorted to nymphing with an indicator above a #6 black Girdle bug. We landed our biggest bass of the day with this technique. We had to slow things down due to the higher than average water temperatures and the sun popping through the clouds. Spin fishing it is easy to slow it down. Give them rubber. 3" and 4" Senkos in watermelon black magic, crawfish, and baby bass have all caught fish and even a few stocked trout. We harvested the trout as they pretty much rolled over as we landed them. Warm water no surprise. We are not targeting trout they are merely a bye product of where we are fishing. I do not target trout in 70 degree plus water. Nor should anyone chase trout under such conditions. Stream thermometer is awful handy this time of the year.  The niced thing about guiding for 23 years is having options when the conditions get wacky. You cant go to the same spot day in and day out and expect to have good results. Smallmouth fishing for the next few days. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Trico, Trico, Trico

Hi Folks, One of my favorite hatches of the season is now taking place. Tricorythodes or Tricos are a multibrodied mayfly that begins to hatch early morning in late July and can go on into October. Tricos are tiny from #20 to #26 sized fly. The hatch can happen within a couple of hours to 4 hours. Typically it is all over before the sun gets to high in the sky. Male Tricos hatch at night and are insignificant to trout. The female duns hatch first light and you can catch some nice fish eating the emerging bugs in skinny riffles. The females migrate to the riparian areas where the males are waiting to mate. They can return to the river shortly there after to lay eggs. The spinner fall is what really gets the fish going bonkers. The last few days I have seen some really nice clouds of Trico spinners with fish rising pretty steadily. The spinner clouds are really impressive The trout have also been on #18 tan bodied caddis. The fish when rising to Tricos tend to hold tight to their feeding lanes and the cast and drift have to be spot on. This morning was beautiful with 62 degree water temperatures, cloudy with some light showers, and lots of hungry trout. We landed the cycle on dry flies catching a Brook Trout, Rainbow Trout, and Brown. It was interesting how the fish ate like crazy until about 11 am and then it shut down. Yesterday I guided bass in a river system that flows into a lake. Saw lots of Tricos in the morning and we had stocked rainbows eating the tiny bug. We got smallmouth to eat #10 orange bodied Stimulators and #10 Royal wulffs. The afternoon fishing was really good yesterday with the spin rods. We landed well over 20 smallmouth drifting 3" Crawfish and Baby Bass Senkos.  We were able to sight fish. The water was pretty low and the temperature was 71 in the afternoon and was 66 in the early am. We still really need rain. The water is incredibly low.  I am chasing smallmouth tomorrow. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Friday, July 20, 2018

Wearing out some boot leather

Hi Folks, The warm dry weather continues.  Still finding some cold water to fish for trout. I have been all over the place this week fly fishing. Visited the a branch of the White River and multiple Winooski tributaries.  Small stream fishing in Vermont is great! Wild fish in cool spots that can be caught on dry flies pretty consistently. Water temperatures in every stream I have guided have been between 59 to 62 degrees in the morning. One Winooski tributary was 67 late in the afternoon mid week. The water is really low and the spook factor is in full effect. I have blown out more trout in the last few days even when being pretty cautious.Lots of walking this time of the year on the small streams. You have to cover ground in order to catch fish. There are only so many fish per mile. However, it is fairly easy to cover ground efficiently because the trout in these brooks are pretty greedy. If you do not draw any interest within a few casts, then move forward.  We have been casting and drifting a #12 Royal Wulff, a  #14 Yellow foam stimulator, #16 Goddard Caddis with a #18 yellow cadis pupa dropper, and a  #12 orange bodied Stimulator. The caddis pupa dropper has been really good on some bigger fish. Had some success on the White stripping a #10 Black Bugger and a #8 Near Enuff Sculpen quickly out of deep plunge pools. There has been a fair amount of bug activity lately. Lots of #6-#10 Golden Stone fly cases on rocks, quite a few #18 micro caddis ( a tan body with a white mottled wing), small hoppers in fields that are green bodied, #18 Baetis, lots of #20-#24 midges, and a few #10 Golden Drakes. Tons of bait fish and crawfish in the shallow margins. A wooly bugger in black or olive and streamer patterns that represent young trout will all work.  Off to chase smallmouth tomorrow. Everyone do a rain dance. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Bass, Brown trout, and Brook trout

Hi Folks, Been really mixing it up with the guiding lately. Fly fishing and spin trips have been keeping me busy. Awful darn hot and we still really need rain.  Our rivers are super low and with that comes warm water temperatures. I have guided several small mountain brooks that maintain temperature due to their elevation and good shaded tree canopy.  Water temperature in these brooks has been between 60 to 63 degrees which is a few degrees warmer than average. The brookie fishing has been pretty straight forward. Move upstream cautiously casting attractor dry fly patterns into any suspected holding water. If there is a fish present, they typically smash the dry. A #12 Ausable Wulff, a #14 Royal Wullf, and a #14 green bodied Stimulator have all worked well.  The larger trout stream I guided Friday went from  61 degrees in the morning to 68 degrees by late afternoon. We had rising fish most of the day even in the bright sun,  They were eating a #18 micro caddis and  there were a few #10 Golden Drakes hatching. I have been seeing lots of #8-#10 Golden Stone fly shucks all over rocks. They hatch at night .We sight fished every trout we landed. 4 wild brown trout and 1 wild rainbow. We changed flies a number of times but the most consistent pattern was a #18 caddis pupa off a #16 Goddard caddis and a #10 foam royal Trude.  .On the bass front, I have been using my boat and the surface temperature of the lake we fished was 73 degrees. Cooled off a bit from a week ago. We had to finesse the  fish with 5" and 4" Senkos in crawfish and watermelon red magic. We worked for the 2 smallmouth and 3 largemouth we landed. We missed a few but the takes were not easy to detect due to a steady south wind.  Rubber worm fishing is about line control and really being able to watch the line and tip of the rod to detect the subtle takes. I really enjoy mixing up my fishing venues. Keeps things interesting. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Fish rescue

Hi Folks, I have been really mixing it up lately from small stream trout fishing to big river smallmouth bass fly fishing.  it has been pretty darn hot and I am ready for a cool down and some rain.  Our rivers are low and warm and we need rain.  The Lamoille and Missiqoui were 77 to 79 degrees the last two afternoons. The small brook I have been guiding has maintained 59 degree temperatures. The Winooski trib. I was on yesterday morning was 61 to 63 degrees. Pretty good trout fishing yesterday morning as we located a pod of feeding fish who were rising to a small #22 midge, an occasional #10 Golden Drake (Potamanthus) and a #18 light bodied caddis. We fished a dry dropper rig with a #12 foam Trude and #16 caddis dropper and a #12 Royal Wulff with a #18 peacock soft hackle dropper. We landed 5 wild brown trout and missed a few. We were able to sight fish several trout. The fish were cruising in a long slow flat back and forth while eating. The area slowed up once the sun got high over head and the fish got spooked by our fly line being cast over them.  We did spot several very large browns that would be worth pursuing at a future date. On the smallmouth front the fishing has been pretty good. Lots of action but maybe not as fast and furious as could be if the water was just a little cooler. We are landing double digit numbers of fish, I just think that there a few smallies that are not as eager to play in the really warm river temperatures.  A #8 frog popper with a yellow belly and a #6 olive zonker, and a #6 black  wooly bugger have all been effective in big pools. Casting and drifting to large rocks have produced the most fish. They seem wired to the big cover in the river. My guiding weekend began with a fish rescue by Catfish. I was on a bottom fed river with lots of plunge pools. In one of the plunges we watched a trout attempt to jump the falls. We noticed that a fish appeared to be stuck in the rocks of the falls. Sure enough it was a 24" wild resident male rainbow. It was wedged in such a way that it still had a trickle of water running into its mouth. I caught it with my hands and rested it in a plunge pool before moving it above to the large pool it was attempting to jump to.  Arguably the largest wild rainbow I have ever seen in Vermont. A true Anomaly. Go fishing enough you see some crazy things. I am off to chase bass. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Friday, July 6, 2018

Fireworks a day late

Hi Folks, Nice hearing the sound of rain hitting the metal roof this morning.  We really need the rain and this fast moving weather front will cool things off.  I guiding a spin trip yesterday on the lower Lamoille.  Another hot and muggy day on the river.  The water temperature was 77 to 78 degrees, ouch. The fishing was very good and it appeared that the bigger smallmouth were feeding. The first cast of the day resulted in an 18" smallmouth that hammered a fire tiger popper.  Due to warmer than average water temperatures even the bass seemed a bit lethargic in coming to the surface. We caught and missed another fish on a black and silver Rapala and then the top water bite slowed. We dead drifted and swung 4" Baby Bass, Crawfish, and Red magic Senkos with great success.  We landed almost 40 smallmouth with several 17" to 18" fish being hooked.  The fish were holding close to heavy water. The warm water temperatures forced many of the bass from slower sections into the faster water. We had one pocket that was a small eddy next to a heavy run that was 5' to 8' deep.  They were stacked like cord wood in the small pocket. Interestingly, we a number of fish that chased a retrieved Senko and even had fish come up to eat them as they swung up in the current.  The icing on the cake was having  two walleye eat Senkos. I thought that we would catch fish yesterday, I just did not know that we land so many.  The previous day of lake fishing with the fly rods for smallmouth was frustrating. Lots of fish coming to the fly but not committing to eat it. I think the Lamoille was a good set up yesterday after all of the higher water all week.  The water level had dropped and it seemed the fish were making up for lost time.  Will be small stream fishing today once the thunderstorms blow through.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

heat wave and Mother Nature's air conditioner

Hi Folks, Been awful darn hot guiding the last few days,  I have been meeting guests between 5am and 5:30 am in order to escape the heat.  Water temperatures have really spiked. The lower lamoille yesterday morning at 6:30am was 77 to 78 degrees. The lake I fished early this morning was 77 degrees on the surface.  However, the small brook trout streams I have visited the last few days have been a pleasant 58 to 60 degrees.  Of course, they have great tree canopy for shade and come off high elevation.  We could use some rain.  There has been a slight south wind present the few days lake fishing.  The bass fishing has been pretty slow with the warm weather.  Seeing fish come to the fly and turn off. They seem not very interested.  I changed flies more this morning than I can ever remember when chasing smallmouth.  We got one 2lb fish to eat a #8 Chartreuse Sneaky Pete and that was it.  Saw lots and lots of big bass and they simply did not appear to be interested in feeding.  On the other end of the spectrum, the brook trout fishing has been very good.  Lots of action from 4" to 9" native fish.  They readily eat dry flies and live in some pretty stretches of river.  Our tactics have been to move up stream in order to not spook the fish.  We have been casting a #12 Royal Wullf, #10 orange bodied Stimulator, and a #12 Royal Trude.  All 3 dry fly patterns have been equally productive. This type of fly fishing is about covering water as there are only so many fish per spot.  If the water is knee deep and you suspect it could hold a trout then casting a dry to the location will educate you.  These small stream brook trout are gluten's and seem very happy to eat large bushy dry flies.  Looks like a cool down is in store for the weekend.  The fishing will improve once things cool off.  Chasing smallmouth tomorrow.  Happy 4th everyone.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Floating down the river

Hi Folks, Purchasing a drift boat 3 years ago was on of the wiser investments I have made for my business.  It has really become a viable part of my business and a very fun way to fish moving water.  The last couple days on the water have been a mixed bag of tricks.  The trout fishing on Friday was okay.  I guided a Lamoille tributary that was dropping from the rain earlier in the week. The water temperature was 65 degrees.  Pretty hot sunny day on Friday and the trout seemed lethargic.  We landed 1 wild rainbow and missed a couple of fish that half committed to eating a dry fly.  Tough trout fishing conditions with  the hot summer days and bright sun.  Not much for hatching insects except for a few random #14 Yellow Sallies. Looks like it is going to warm for the next few days.  The best time to be on the water currently is early am.  Yesterday I changed directions and floated down the lower Lamoille for smallmouth bass.  The fishing was really good.  We landed well over 30 fish including several walleyes.  The fish were eating off the top as well as just below the surface.  Water temperature was 69 to 70 degrees and the level was slightly above the seasonal average, but dropping. It was one of those days where the big fish showed themselves. We encountered quite a few smallmouth in the 15" to 18" class.  Good strong fighting fish that like to get air time.  We fished active lures all day long. A floating perch Rapala and a Fire Tiger Rapala. The fish ate the lures sitting motionless on the surface and on the retrieve.  As the morning progressed we stepped up the speed of our retrieval and the fish really jumped on the plugs.The drift boat really allows me to get to places that cant be waded. Just need to have rivers full of water. I am off to chase smallmouth this morning. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Friday, June 29, 2018

Finally some rain and a new twist

Hi Folks, Been a really busy week on the water with some welcome change. A good 3/4" of nice soaking rain yesterday put a charge of water in our rivers.  We really needed it especially with the up coming forecast.  Looks like a heat wave is headed to town where air temperatures will eclipse 90 degrees.  Not good for trout fishing.  My guess is the main stem of the Lamoille and Winooski will become too warm to trout fish.  Its okay, always small streams to enjoy and lots of opportunity for bass fishing.   It has been a pretty good week of river fishing as I have waded, floated, and did an adaptive fishing trip. Water temperatures have been cool for the last few days with cool evenings.  The Lamoille main stem and the Winooski have been in high fifties in the early morning to mid sixties by late afternoon.  The Magog tributary I was on Wednesday afternoon was 63 degrees.  The Winooski tributary I guided Tuesday morning and Wednesday morning was 58 to 59 degrees. The Lamoille tributary was 59 to 60 degrees.  Starting to see more and more #8-#10 adult stone flies laying eggs late afternoon as well as hatching #14 Cahills and Cahill spinners.  Always the ever present caddis with a #16 tan bodied bug coming off the last few mornings. Lots and lots of #16-#18 green bodied caddis who are pupating on rocks in riffles.  A #12 orange bodied Stimulator has drawn lots of interest from surface feeding fish.  We have been nymphing with a #10 double tungsten golden stone fly pattern as well as #12 tungsten bead red thread Prince nymph.  The smallmouth fishing has been decent above and below the surface.  A #8 green sculpin pattern, a #8 white wooly bugger, and a #8 frog popper have been a nice approach.  We even had a stocked rainbow eat the frog popper.  Hard to believe the trout could get the popper in its mouth.  On the spin front a good old floating Rapala produced a big 18" smallmouth.  For the inactive smallmouth a 3" crawfish colored  Senko dead drifted has picked up the fussy fish.  On Wednesday I had the opportunity to guide my first adpative fishing trip. The gentlemen I took fishing had no use of one arm and could not stand for long periods. I used a little wood chuck ingenuity to make a rod holder that could be attached to wheelchair and used with one hand.  We landed a rainbow and several smallmouth bass.  Pretty satisfying for me. I liked seeing the gentlemen's smile.  I always say that the fish do not care who is holding the rod.  Fishing can be enjoyed by everyone! Well, busy week ahead as I need to prep for a big afternoon trip.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy