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

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Making the guide proud

Hi Folks, Been a good three days of guiding. Nice damp cool weekend culminating in a beautiful float down the lamoille yesterday afternoon.  Our rivers are low and we could use some more rain.  Water temperatures are staying down with the cool nights.  41 degrees at my house in Stowe currently.  The Lamoille was 62 degrees last night and 69 on Saturday.  The lake  I was on Sunday was 69 to 70 degrees.  Pretty calm weekend with a good steady northwest wind yesterday.  The river fishing for bass was really good on Saturday.  We landed 25 smallmouth working a frog popper with my fly angler and a fire tiger Rapala with my spin angler.  The fish holding in classic giant riffles to pools with lots and lots of big boulders.  Holding tight to cover upstream and down stream of rocks.  A swung #8 olive zonker was very effective prompting fish from the their holding spots. Last night the fish rose sporadically on the Lamoille.  The fishing was pretty slow until we got out of the sun.  Saw a bunch of #14 Cahills coming off as well as #8 Adult Stoneflies laying eggs. Most of the rises we saw were very splashy.  We actually caught a native Brook Trout in the main stem of the lamoille.  I have not seen a Brookie in this stretch of river in quite some time.  All of our trout and mostly stocked rainbows came out of heavy riffles.  The risers were in  the slower pools were pretty selective.  Also noticed a few Cahill spinners landing on the water while we were pulling out the drift boat. I suspect the fish were going to much on them after the sun went down.  My lake trip this weekend for bass and pike was a lot of fun.  I took out a father son who I have guided for a number of years. I love it when a young person who I have taught to fish makes the perfect cast and are rewarded with a fish.  Nothing like seeing a floating Rapala land right next to downed wood and watch a big bass explode on the top water presentation.  Great accurate cast to the suspected resulting in a nice fish. I enjoy the process in guiding and getting to see young guests connect the dots to fish is very satisfying.   The smallies, largemouth, and pike were all related to cover whether it was heavy weeds, wood, or rock.  We landed 6 different types of fish from game species to pan fish. Well it looks like a warm up is on the way.  I am guiding all week and chasing smallmouth later today. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Big bass and the Vermont cycle

Hi Folks, It has been a busy week of guiding.  Just completed back to back doubles and preparing to do it again today.  The fishing has been pretty decent.  Our rivers have settled from the early week rain and we could use some more rain.  I have been mixing it up and fly fishing for smallmouth and northern from  my motorboat and river wading for trout.  The Winooski gave up a the Vermont cycle yesterday.  We landed a native brook trout, wild brown trout, and wild rainbow.  The river was 65 degrees. Not a ton of hatching activity.  A few #18 sulphurs, a few some random #18-#20 micro caddis along with a few #14 tan bodied caddis were hatching at dark.  We nymphed up our bigger fish and caught the smaller trout on dry flies.   A #10 orange bodied Stimulator drew a lot of interest from young wild trout.  A #10 double tungsten black stone fly with a #16 caddis pupa dropper as well as a #12 Prince nymph under an indicator was very effective.  All of the trout that ate nymphs were holding in heavier water loaded with great big rocks.  While still water fishing for bass and pike and I started to see some of the large #4-#6 Hex May flies coming off.  Now is the time to start exploring the various cold water lakes in Vermont on search of large fish rising to eat the Hex at dark.  The bass fishing has been pretty darn good.  I have done several smallmouth trips the over the last few days from river fishing to lake fishing.  The top water bite has been inconsistent, but the fish that have been eating off the top have been large.  We landed a 18" smallie the other day on a frog popper that absolutely hammered the fly,  A big bass will really put a bend in a 6wt. fly rod.  A #8 bunny fur olive zonker has been consistent for a sub surface pattern.  The spin anglers have been enjoying a lot of success with a fire tiger Rapalas and the incredible edible Senko.  A 3" to 4" Senko in watermelon black magic has been very consistent.  The Rapala really was effective catching small northerns and pickerel.  An erratic retrieve while attempting to dance the lure over weed patches got the fish interested. We located all of our fish in less than 10' of water.  All in and around rip rap, rock, and forming weed beds. The river fishing smallmouth has mostly been a subsurface thing.  Water temps in the rivers are a bit cooler.  The lower Lamoille was 68 degrees and the Winooski trib. 60 to 61 degrees.  Slow drifts with 3" crawfish  Senkos and a 3.5" baby bass swim Senko were just the right ticket. for the cold water and lethargic smallmouth.   We did get a few eats on a fire tiger Rapala and a small bass popper that imitated a frog.  We landed 20 plus smallmouth this morning fishing big giant rock laden pools.  I think once the bass water warms above70 degrees  then the top water fishing will improve.  I am floating tommorow.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-natives species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Thursday, June 21, 2018

nice to have water in our streams

Hi Folks, The recent rain has really been a game changer for our rivers and brooks.  It is nice to see a charge of water in the river beds.  Yesterday I guided a wade trip with spin gear in the morning and floated the Lamoille in the afternoon.  Not seeing any sign of people fishing on the water.  Water levels were slightly above the season average and dropping.  The Winooski tributary in the morning was 61 degrees and the Lamoille was 65 in the afternoon.  The best fishing times currently are either early in the morning or late in the day.  All of the rising fish yesterday afternoon happened in the last hour of light.  The bass fishing in the morning was fairly slow.  We landed one fish and missed another half a dozen.  Very subtle takes.  We had to slow down our approach and use a 3" watermelon black magic Senko slowly dead drifted.  Casting plugs did not result in any interest.  I did not see any fish chase an actively moved lure.  I attribute the quiet morning to water still being up and a little cool. All of the fish we had eat were holding in the slower parts of a pool or in a big back eddy.  The fishing on the Lamoille was pretty good yesterday once the sun got low in the sky.  The first part of the afternoon was slow while the sun was still on the water.  We saw #16 dark bodied caddis hatching, a few #8 Stone Flies coming off, and a few #16/#18 Sukphurs right at dark.  We got rainbows to eat a #16 foam bodied elk hair winged caddis and a #10 orange bodied stimulator.  The fish we located rising seemed fairly agreeable to eating the dry fly.  We did hook a big fish at the end of the float that we never saw and broke us off.  The rise form by the fish was big  and it made a loud chomping noise as it ate.  My guest got it to eat and it instantly bent over the rod and buried itself in the river under some debris and it was game over.  Really fun casting to surface feeding fish.  All about making a good cast accurate cast and a drag free drift.  I m off to bass fish today in the morning and afternoon.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  have fun, Willy

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Welcome change

Hi Folks, Finally we received some much need rain in Stowe Vermont.  It doe not bode well for my trip today as our rivers are now full of water and settling out after nearly an inch of rain yesterday. However, we were becoming desperate for some precipitation, so we finally got it. I have been guiding trout for the last 4 days on the Lamoille, Winooski, and several Lamoille tributaries. The water temperatures in the Lamoille and Winooski had been creeping up into the high sixties in the afternoon.  The Winooski has been around 60 to 63 in the early am and the Lamoile about the same.  What has helped prevent the rivers from becoming too warm have been cool nights with air temperatures in the low fifties to high forties.  The Lamoille tributaries I visited over the weekend were 52 degrees and 59 degrees.  The main stem of the Winooski did not fish well at all on Friday morning.  I floated the river and we caught 1 wild rainbow and I do not think we got another strike.  The main stem of the Lamoille was a bit more accommodating on Saturday.  We landed lots of wild rainbows and a few small browns.  Not any really big fish, but all wild.  We did not see a stocked trout.  There was a decent little caddis hatch of #16 dark bodied bug that the fish were rising to eat.  We dead drifted right into feeding lanes a #14 Henryville Special.  We also took fish with a dry dropper rig and swung #16 olive hare's ear nymphs and #16 green soft hackles into riffles. With the hot weather over the weekend the fishing on the Lamoille was consistent until about 10am. The tributary fishing has been really good.  We caught all 3 species, native brook trout, stocked browns, and wild rainbows.  A foam bodied #10 Royal Trude and a #12 foam bodied Yellow Sally drew lots of interest in the small water.  Bigger fish were taken casting a #8 Near Enuff Sculpin into plunge pools and striping it back as quickly as possible.  Really fun to watch a large trout race out from under the cover of the plunge to take the fly.  A nice method for drawing out big fish in heavy deep pools. Yesterday morning I guided a Winooski tributary.  A few rising fish eating #16 tan bodied caddis and a #16 blue dun colored mayfly. A combination of brown trout and fall fish eating off the top.  We cast a #14 Ausable Wulff and a #14 Henryville Special.  All of the fish were rising subtly in slower deep pools. The cast and drift had to placed right into the feeding lane. Well, nice to have some rain and cooler weather.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Thursday, June 14, 2018

getting a little dry

Hi Folks, A little rain currently failing from the sky, we really need it.  Our rivers are super low for this time of the year.  The water level is and will impact the trout fishing.  Let it rain. With the low water and hot days the temperatures have been climbing. The Lamoille and Winooski have both climbed into the upper sixties. Luckily we have been experiencing cold nights that have helped keep temperatures down.  Plus today is cool and damp.  I have been guiding both the Lamoille and Winooski this week.  Rising activity has been an early morning and dusk event.  The trout in the morning have been on a #16 cinnamon bodied caddis and in evening #16 Sulphur duns and spinners.  With the low water the trout have been a bit fussy.  Good casts and drifts have been necessary in order to prompt a response.  We have had success drifting a #16 foam caddis, a #16 olive hare and copper, a #14 Rusty Spinner.  A rubber legged olive bugger has worked well dead drifted and worked slowly along the bottom.  The trout have been either holding in the deepest parts of big pools or up in the heavy riffles when the caddis have been hatching.  Small stream trout fishing is now a great option as the big rivers become more tricky.  I will be chasing trout the next few days.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Fish with teeth

Hi Folks, Spent a windy Saturday in the boat chasing pike, bass, and walleye with spin anglers.  Beautiful day.  Steady NW west that made boat handling a bit tricky.  The water temperature ranged form 62 to 66 degrees.  The water was off color and we used brightly colored lures.  A fire tiger Rapala and a #3 Mepps both produced smallmouth, pike, and small walleye.  We located all of our fish in less than 10' of water.  Pike fishing involves lots of casting.  After hooking and losing a big pike, land a couple of small ones, we got fortunate to catch a 35" hen.  Nice looking northern and I am glad I had a net.  We spent the afternoon fishing the river section of this body of water looking for smallmouth.  It appears that the bass are now post spawn and on the move to their summer haunts.  We located a bunch of fish in rocky section of the river where there was a big back eddy adjacent to the current.  4" Black magic Senkos caught several small sized bass.  We did land a large walleye that ate a Senko.  The fish had some teeth! It is a really nice time of year to fish in Vermont.  Just hard to decide on any given day what species to pursue. Lots of options.  Back to the trout water tomorrow. Fishing is best in the early morning or late day to dusk currently.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, June 9, 2018

parts unknown

Hi Folks, I had a great float with guests on a stretch of the Winooski river Thursday.  We floated on section of river that I guarantee no one has ever put a drift boat down.  I have 6 floats now that I can do with my 14' NRS.   Really nice way to see a lot of water.  the Winooski was 62 degrees and rather low.  We need some rain as it is getting a bit dry out there.  The trout fishing remains very good.  We landed a combination of wild rainbows, wild browns, and stocked browns on dry dropper rigs.  A #12 parachute with a #14 peacock soft hackle dropper and  used a #14 prince dropper as well.  We landed 20 fish and they ate the dry and dropper nymph about equally.  Lots of big slow holes we floated over with rising fish.  You really had to make an accurate cast and a good drift in order to get the fish to eat.  Not a lot of bugs hatching that night and it appeared that the fish were eating in the surface film.  It was really fun to fish water I have never seen.  Most of this section is not accessible from the bank. The only way at it is from my boat.  I am off to chase pike this morning.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  have Fun, Willy

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Brown Drakes

Hi Folks, Sometimes timing is everything in life.  Rowed the drift boat on the Lamoille with clients and was treated to a spectacular hatch of #10-#12 Brown Drakes (Ephemera similuns).  The Brown Drake is unique in that it is one of only a few mayflies in the United States that is the exact same genus and species from East to West.  The hatch occurs for 3 to 5 days and typically comes off in huge numbers.  The odd part about the this season was we witnessed the hatch in the morning to mid morning.  Typically it takes place at dusk.  I can only figure the big cold front that has moved in impacted the hatching schedule. We found lots of rising fish. The large pools seemd to have more bugs which made sense since this is a burrowing mayfly, the Drake need some somewhat of a soft bottom to live in.  A #10 parachute, #12 Drake Variant pattern worked well as the dun and we had dropper flies of #12 pheasant tails and hares ears nymphs below the surface imitating the emerger.  We caught fish on all of the patterns.  What I can I say, the fishing was really good and we had the river to ourselves.  The trick was to place the fly in the trouts feeding lane.  Lots of food in the water so the fish did not have to deviate much from their feeding positions.  Not sure how many fish we landed, but the action was steady and I used the net a lot.  In addition to the Drakes, their was a number of #14 Sulphers (Ephemerella invaria)  hatching.  I am off to row the boat again today down the Winooski.  The trout fishing is really good currently.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Give me a bugger

Hi Follks, Nice change of the weather here in Stowe. Feels like fall outside. Cold front arrived with a serious east wind yesterday. I spent the afternoon on the Lamoille under cloudy cool conditions and a steady wind.  Water temperature dropped a few degrees down to 58 degrees.  The water level was dropping and is currently right around the seasonal average flow.  There were a few bug hatching from a #14 Sulphur (large one- Dorothea), to a #14 caddis, and a few left over #12 March Browns.  A number of crawfish shells in the shallow.  Big trout in Vermont love to eat crawfish.  Its like a steak to a trout.  We had some pretty good success dead drifting with a floating line and sinking tip #8-#6 black and olive wooly buggers.  All wild trout yesterday and we worked for them.  All of the bows were nice looking and fought really well. One of the particular fish came out of the water 6 times.  Did miss and lose a few fish.  It seemed like the weather had the fish a bit tight as I saw several trout roll up on the fly and not take it.  It appeared there was some short striking going on.  There was a really good hatch of Sulphurs late afternoon.  No rising fish but we did take 1 nice wild bow on a #14 sulphur nymph.  Looks like cool weather for a few days, perfect.  Off to row the boat.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Friday, June 1, 2018

Foam is home

Hi Folks, The trout fishing has become an early morning and late day event.  Been unusually warm and muggy here in Stowe.  We could use some rain as it is fairly dry and the rivers are below their seasonal average flow regime.  Look like a weather front moving into town and it will bring with it some cooler air temperatures.  I have been guiding the Winooski and the river temperature was 62 degrees early this morning. It was a nice over cast morning with heavy air.  We found some rising fish in a slow deep pool.  All of the rising activity was within the realm of the foam line.  The foam line is where everything gets collected that is moving down stream.  It is a feeding area for trout but not necessarily where they consistently hold.  The particular foam line we worked this morning was abutted by a big eddy that collects all of the goodies for the fish.  The rises were obvious but subtle at the same time. Big bulges just below the surface.  There was not a lot of obvious bug activity.  A few hatching #14-#16 caddis but that was it.  Upon closer examination into the foam line there was a large number of spent #14 caddis.  The fish were gorging on spent caddis so we gave them a #14 Henryville special with a #14 peacock herl  soft hackle dropper.  Of the 8 takes, 6 came on the dropper and 2 on the dry.  Mostly stocked brown trout eating bugs. Fish feeding in this dynamic whether they be wild or stocked demand a good presentation.  They have a lot of time to study your drift in slow greasy water. Lots of fun.  I am off to trout fish all weekend.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun,Willy