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