Tuesday, May 29, 2018

nice to have options

Hi Folks, Been a busy few days guiding over the Memorial Day weekend.  I am always thankful in Vermont that there are so many places to fish without big crowds. We have a lot of diverse fisheries. I guided pike, smallmouth, and trout over a 4 day stretch.  The Winooski was fantastic last night. The river level is low for this time of the year and rain would be good.  The water temperature was 60 degrees and a nearby tributary was 58 degrees. The trout fishing has been slow during the day especially when the sun has been bright.  However, the last hour of the day has been pretty darn good.  Especially for rising fish.  Great spinner fall of #12 March Browns last night.  A #12 Rusty Spinner was the fly.  We did not get a single strike all afternoon and then in an hours time landed 5 wild rainbows and 1 wild brown on a dry fly.  Dusk and Dawn currently is the way to go. Lots of caddis activity especially on the brighter mornings.  At dusk a tons of bugs egg laying.  I ran the boat a few times this weekend. Visited 2 different bodies of water.  The pike lake was 58 to 62 degrees and the wind blew pretty hard from the south/southwest. We found fish in shallow water and were able to sight a couple of nice looking pike.  It was a bright day so black and white, black and orange, and black and red Bunny Buggers tied on a 2/0 hook did the job.  Pike fishing is fun because they just materialize out of no where.  However, it also requires a lot of casting and can beat up your arm.  Learning to double haul with the fly rod makes casting a lot more efficient. They can be lightening fast when taking a fly.  It is really important that one learns to strip strike when fishing large streamers on fish that pursue.  Good morning of action.  The smallmouth fishing has been okay.  Water temperatures on the lake we visited Saturday was 62 to 64 degrees.  We caught smallmouth on a variety of lures.  A perch rapala, a fire tiger popper, a crawfish colored Big O, and a 5" Senko in green.  We had good steady action. Not a lot of really big fish.  I did not see any spawning beds.  Most of the fish were holding in less than 10' of water.  It is the time of the year where there are many choices.  I will be floating in the drift boat this week.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, May 26, 2018

eating dry flies and eating each other

Hi Folks, Been a couple crazy days of trout fishing.  I have guided the Lamoille yesterday afternoon.  The river is in great shape.  Water temperature was 58 to 59 degrees and the level was slightly below the seasonal average flow.  We caught trout nymph fishing as well as on dry flies.  A double nymph rig with a #14 tungsten pheasant tail with a peacock hackle soft hackle dropper accounted for 2 wild bows and a stocked rainbow.  No comparison on how the fish looked and fought.  All of the fish were holding in the slower water.  Mostly in pools and not riffles.  Makes sense being that the water temperature was in the fifties.  We saw a few #10-#12 March Browns hatching and lots of spinners collecting so we moved down stream to long slow deep elbow pool.  We found sipping trout who were eating #14 Hendrickson spinners.  I had a very experienced fly angler who knew how to be patient in presenting to these finicky trout. We caught 4 more wild jumping bows on a #12 Rusty Spinner pattern.  The fish were moving about a bit so we had to time the cast properly and make a good drift. Nice afternoon on the Lamoille.  Thursday was still water fly fishing for brook trout at a private trout club. The brook trout in this lake are native and wild.  It was a windy afternoon with a breeze from the north/northwest so we set up on the lee of the lake at an inlet.  There were a number of small trout rising to eat midges.  We were casting a #18 Griffiths Nat.  We landed a few small fish and my friend caught a beautiful 16" brook trout on the dry.  Then the afternoon became surreal.  We saw a pack of wolves in the water (large brook trout) cruising in the shallows under the fish that were rising.  I caught a 6" brookie on a dry and as I was reeling it in, a 20" trout attacked it and ate the fish at the boat.  I fought it for a bit and when we netted it the mangled brook trout was spit out and amazingly enough, the Griffiths Nat was in the large male trouts mouth, Incredible!! We had this happen two other times and my friend landed one 18" that also ate a small brookie that was hooked.  You can't rule out that trout are not meat eaters and that they will not eat their own. I have seen large brown trout chase down small fish in rivers, but never have I witnessed large trout swallowing a small trout that was hooked.  Reminded me of pike fishing. Anywho, I am off to chase prespawn smallmouth.  Should be a wet damp weekend.  The forecast of rain might puff up the rivers so pay attention to flows.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

big brown, dry fly action, and more

Hi Folks, Been an interesting few days of trout fishing. I have been guiding wade trips and just completed my first float trip of the season.  Water temperatures are warming slowly.  A Lamoille tributary was 51 degrees on Sunday and the main stem of the Winooski was 58 degrees yesterday.  Saw a ton of #14 green apple bodied caddis coming off yesterday on the Winooski and we actually found  a few risers.  The fishing was slow until the last hour or so of light.  Big bright sunny day and the water level is slightly above the seasonal average flow.  The fish can be pretty spread out and hard to locate in the higher water in stream with not a high density of trout. We worked for the 4 fish landed.  We cast a double streamer rig for good part of the float with a #6 white zonker and a #10 black/olive bugger dropper. We cast a 200 grain sink tip keeping the flies down in the water column.  The fish ate the bugger and the risers were on an x-caddis.  Sunday produced quality not quantity. One beautiful 19" wild male brown trout that stopped a white zonker in its tracks.  Not much for bugs on Sunday so we resorted to prying deep primary pools with the tandem stream rig.  I'll take quality over quantity any day of the week. Taking the motorboat out for some pre spawn smallmouth action next.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  have fun, Willy

Sunday, May 20, 2018

wet Winooski today

Hi Folks, Spent a wet day guiding the Winooski yesterday with a  large group.  Perfect day for being on a trout with stream with damp cool conditions and eventually afternoon rain.  The Wonooski was fairly clear and the temperature was 51 to 52 degrees.  The water level was slightly under the seasonal average flow.  Saw a nice hatch of #14-#16 Hendricksons , #18 Baetis, and a few #14 caddis.  We landed around 40 trout mostly of the stocked variety.  The first trout of the day was a wild 11' rainbow that came out of the water.  We did not mix up fly selection too much.  An #6-#8 olive wooly bugger, #6 Black Girdle  Bug, and a #14 Pheasant tail.  The Bugger and Girdle Bug were drifted and swung off the bottom and accounted for most of our takes. The pheasant tail worked wonders dead drifted under an indicator.  Interestingly, the fishing slowed in the afternoon as a cold front pushed in.  Looks like rain.  Could be another cloudy wet day on a trout stream.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, May 18, 2018

Wild fish

Hi Folks, Spent the afternoon on one of my favorite trout streams yesterday afternoon,  Water temperature was 56 degrees and the levels and flows were just about at a seasonal average.  Saw a few bug hatching, but not much for a trout to rise to.  Pretty sunny as well and we stayed until dark and did not locate any rising fish.  For insect life there were a number of #14 crane fly adults, a few #14-#16 Hendricksons and #18 Chimarra Caddis.  We saw all of our fish on sub surface patterns.  The first cast of the day with a sinking tip and white wooly bugger generated a response from the fish of lifetime brown trout.  The trout went nuts over the fly but just did not seal the deal.  The damn thing chased the streamer twice without committing. Later in the afternoon another large brown hammered a white bugger only to snap me off. I am never happy breaking off a fly in a trout's beak.  I needed a heavier tippet than 3x and honestly I think I could of gotten away with 1x or 0x fluorocarbon.  These large trout are not line shy when chasing down a streamer. We did catch some nice wild rainbow nymphing with a #12 double tungsten black stone fly under indicator.  The rainbows were in the heavier water and the browns were holding in the slower deeper pools.  Looks like the trout fishing is finally turning on.  Most of the rivers and ponds have been stocked though I prefer to chase wild fish.  I am off to chase trout again today.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Always a good option

Hi Folks, Ran the motor boat the other day with a client in search of northern pike. The fishing was pretty decent.  Water temperatures were between 58 and 61 degrees on the surface with a steady southwest wind. Dirty colored water we fished that looked like a swamp.  I have always liked catching pike and they are a good option in the spring when the trout streams are still warming up.  Pike come into shallow dark bottom bays in late ice to spawn.  After completing their mission they like to hang around in the shallow margins until the water  becomes too warm and uncomfortable.  We caught fish in 3' to 8' of water.  We worked a fire tiger mepps very slowly to draw interest.  We landed 5 pike and a 1 small largemouth bass.  The wind cut our day short.  Pike fishing is all about lots of casting and covering water.  It has been a nice weather week and the trout is starting to turn on.  I will be on a wild trout stream this afternoon.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  have fun, Willy

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Getting going and waiting for warm

Hi Folks, Back for another season of fishing in Vermont.  It has been a slow start for me.  I guess I am not inspired to fish in cold high water.  Been a cold spring here in Stowe and the weather is finally warming.  Our rivers are still bit high and cold.  I have guided several river trips for trout and the fishing has been tough.  I have found water temperatures in the mid to high forties.  Water clarity is pretty decent.  The Lamoille is looking pretty good while the Winooski is still pretty high and off color.  Until our water temperatures reach 50 degrees and holds there, I have always found the trout fishing to be tricky coming out of winter.  Not to say that fish cant be caught, you just have to really work for them.  I have spent a little time pursuing lake run rainbow trout or steelhead as well as lake run brook trout. When chasing lake run fish it is a matter of being on the river daily to catch them when they pass through. Constantly changing conditions with flows and temperatures.  A lot of drifting of various egg patterns and when the water is clear and warmer brown stone fly patterns.  I like a yellow egg pattern that represents sucker roe.  The good old #10 Spring Wiggler is an excellent stone fly imitation for these feisty lake run steel head.  Working various streamer patterns that represent smelt has been the tactic for the big brook trout. Stone fly patterns dead drifted with an egg dropper is a nice rig this time of the year.  The ice has just come off the lakes and ponds within the last two weeks.  Many of the spring flowers and plants like Trillium, Dutchmens Britches, Ramps, Fiddleheads, and Trout Lillys that grow in Ephemerella woods are behind by a couple of weeks.  For bugs, I have only seen a few #12-#16 little brown/black stone flies and I found a few #18 Chimarra caddis on rocks.  Under rocks in riffles I have found a number of pupating #14-#16 candy apple green caddis and a few #14-#16 Hendrickson may flies.  So, I left Vermont this week and visited the upper Delaware for a bit fishing.  We floated the main stem of the Delaware.  Big water that is awesome and very challenging to fish.  The Delaware is loaded with insects and big wily wild trout.  We drifted it on a day when the sun was bright.  A really good hatch of #14 candy apple caddis and a decent number of #14-#16 Hendricksons.  With the bright sun the fish were pretty fussy. One of my good friends caught a really nice 20" brown at dark on a dry fly.  Very impressive. The other two days on the Big D we worked white streamer patterns that represented Alewives.  Moved a lot of big browns under cloudy conditions. Well looks like a nice warm week that should jump start the trout fishing.  Happy Mothers Day.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy