Thursday, October 11, 2018

Feast or Famine

Hi Folks, It has been one of the most interesting fall fly fishing seasons I have experienced ever. Very hit or miss.  One day catching trout is no problem and the next it is like fishing the dead sea. Its been either we catch a bunch of fish or don't even get a strike. The big rivers have been way more tricky than the tributary streams. The Lamoille and Winooski have been okay. I have guided the last 15 days straight and I have walked and floated a lot of different rivers, streams,and brooks. Raining like crazy right now. Looks like an 1" is on the way. It is never a bad thing to have our rivers full of water heading into winter.  Water levels as a whole have been up and lots of leaves floating down stream and getting caught in eddies. Still with all the junk in the water the trout are  still eating nymphs and dry flies.  Lots of blind casting and fishing in the small tributary streams.  Water temperatures have actually warmed over the last few days as the weather has been very summer like.  That is about to change. I have got readings 55 degrees to 58 degrees. The main stem of Winooski yesterday was 64 degrees at 3pm.  Not too many rising fish on the big water. We located a few rainbows that appeared to be eating random #14 flying ants.  There were a few #20 BWO eaters at dusk but the rise forms were not regular. We got them to eat a #20 Spotlight emerger and a #14 foam ant with a green sparkle dub soft hackle dropper.  Yellow has been the color on the small water. #12-#14 Yellow foam terrestrial patterns have all worked.  The brown trout have been hammering the dry fly.  I had one guest land a rainbow, brown, and brook trout in one pool with the yellow foam dry.  Nymphing has been productive with a #14 pyscho prince with a #14 olive caddis pupa dropper swung.  Lots of takes from rainbows in particular swinging the flies. Not too many dead drift takes.  Well about to go get wet. Two and a half weeks of fishing left.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Foliage Fly Fishing

Hi Folks, I have been on the water everyday for the last 10 days guiding trout. Conditions have been changing on a daily basis. We finally got some serious rain that has put a nice charge of water in our rivers. The leaves are stating to really turn and reach peak. Lots of full day trips for me this time of the year and it is really nice being outside enjoying the scenery. The water has cooled down significantly. I have mostly been on the Lamoille watershed and with a few forays to a local Winooski tributary. The main stem of the Lamoille was 60 degrees last weekend and now is cooled . off to 56 degrees. The smaller tributary rivers and brooks I streams I have been walking have been holding between 52 to 57 degrees. We reached closed to an 1" of rain Tuesday in Stowe and it made for a blow out fishing. However, the next day I had guests in the high reaches of the watershed chasing brook trout on dry flies. We had limited water to cast to but were able to drum on some beautifully colored up native brook trout on dry flies. A #12 Royal Wulff, #10 Black Foam Royal Trude, and a #12 Electric Green Stimulator with rubber legs. The high gradient brooks come up quickly in big rain but also they come down very quickly and clear. Rising fish have been few and far between. I have not seen much for hatches of caddis and BWOs.  A few bugs here and there but not enough to get the fish looking up. Still plenty of insects on rocks in riffles preparing to hatch from tiny #18-#22 Baetis,  to #14 Green Rock Worm caddis  and another smaller #18 web spinning caddis. I spent the last two days on a Lamoille tributary and we had a lot of success with a #14 green wire caddis pupa dropper and a #14 green latex caddis larvae dropper under a #14 red threaded Prince nymph and under a #12 Adams Parachute. The fishing has been inconsistent all week but the last two days have been pretty good. Lots of young wild rainbows have been greedily eating swung caddis. Most of the takes coming on the down stream swing at the end of the drift as the fly settles on the seam line. Thursday was the day of the week for fishing with the big trout looking up. We had several 15" plus Brown trout eat a the Adams dry. Nice slow methodical rise forms. The Prince nymph accounted for an almost 15" wild rainbow that refused to give up. Yesterday was interesting as we worked a lot harder to catch trout with the sunny conditions and passing cold front. The trout seemed to be not as willing to move to far to take a fly. We made lots of casts for the 6 rainbows we landed. With the recent rain fall and it looks more to come the fishing should be decent. The water moves fish around and reshuffles the deck. It does not look like the water temperatures will drop too significantly in the near future. It has been a weird fishing year with the hot dry summer. It makes me wonder how it has impacted the Fall fishing. Just because we now have rain and cool water temperatures does not necessarily mean that the trout have returned to many of the big water holding areas. Never underestimate a wild trouts ability to travel great distances to find suitable habitat. They need cold water and many of our tributary streams offer exactly that. No reason to leave good habitat if you are a thermally stressed trout that departed the Lamoille this summer when the water got up into the high 70's. Landlocked salmon should be pouring into our rivers out of lakes. Just a lot of angling pressure. I am off to guide the Winooski watershed today. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home, Have Fun, Willy

Monday, October 1, 2018

looking for the big boy

Hi Folks, Since returning from out west fly fishing I have been guiding Vermont waters everyday with fly fishing guests. Water levels have come up a bit from recent rains and it appears that we are now in a nice pattern of damp Fall weather. Increased water flows allow Landlocked Salmon, Brown Trout, and Brook Trout all to migrate to spawning areas in rivers. Light levels are one of the primary motivating factors and then coupled with water flow gets the fish on the move. I have been on the main stem of the Lamoille to several Winooski tributary brooks.  Water temperatures have certainly cooled off. The Lamoille was 62 degrees on Friday and 59 to 60 degrees yesterday afternoon, The smaller brooks have been a bit cooler ranging from 55 to 57 degrees. I have not seen a ton of hatching insects or rising trout. However, I have been fishing more midday and the one afternoon we fished to dusk we did locate some trout eating egg laying #14 cadddis.  We tricked them with a #14 Goddard caddis. I have found the Lamoille to be fishing a bit slow for this time of the year.  Its not due to fishing pressure as I have seen any sign of life.  It makes me wonder what impact did the low hot water have on the trout this summer. It does not appear to me that many fish have re orientated to certain riffles and pools even though things have cooled off. Water movement does move fish around.  Still it appears those fish who traveled to find thermal refuge this summer then maybe  have not returned to certain sections of the big rivers that had become uninhabitable.  I am speaking of wild trout here not stocked fish that I think probably really got beat up this summer in the low hot water.  Lots of studies of trout behavior have been conducted that show that they will move great distances to fish cold water when under duress. Though I have not seen a lot of hatching insects, there are plenty of #14 Green Rock Worm on rocks in riffles preparing to hatch as well as tons of #18-#22 Baetis nymphs. Still seeing plenty of #14 green bodied hoppers along the river banks. This previous week the trout fishing has been more productive on the smaller streams with a fair number of 6' to 11" wild browns being netted. Still looking for the mommy and daddy. Keep the fly in the water and good things will happen. Foliage is starting to look really nice and it finally feels like Fall. Off to chase trout this afternoon.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy