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