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