Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Brown Drakes and floating the Lamoille

Hi Folks, The fly fishing on the Lamoille over the last 5 days has been terrific. Last night was the crowning jewel in getting treated to a hatch and spinner fall of large #8-#10 Brown Drakes. The Lamoille has maintained its temperature between 60 inthe early morning to 65 degrees last night at 10pm when I was dragging the boat up the river bank. Water levels have slowly been going down and the flow right now is perfect for fishing. My guests have done very well catching fish as we have landed well over a 100 trout in last 4 days.  Lot and lots of stocked rainbows. I have been able to put my boat in slow deep pools that are unreachable by a wading angler. We have located pods of stocked trout that are holding around large in steam boulders.  They have been very aggressive and more than willing to chase streamer patterns cast on sinking tip lines. A #8-#10 olive or black wooly bugger has been very consistent. Stripping the fly a bit in short bursts has been effective. We have also been using a #8-#10 leech/crawfish pattern I have been tying with a short barred marabou tail and body of rope yarn that is very fuzzy. Nice profile of a craw daddy under the surface. There have been some wild trout in the mix with several wild browns and nice hard fighting 13-15" rainbows. Still it shows with the amount of water I have been covering in the drift boat how few and far between the wild trout are in the Lamoille river. Lots of caddis activity in the morning and evening.For mayflies there are #14 rustry spinner at dusk, #8-#10 Brown Drakes, and some #14-#16 sulphurs. The Drake hatch only last for a few days. Get out there and take advantage because it brings to the surface the true large wild fish in the Lamoille. Plus its just a giant bug and fun to watch hatch! Off to chase trout this morning. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Saturday, June 15, 2019


Hi Folks, The trout fishing on the Lamoille the last 3 days has been stellar! I have floating my drift boat with guests in several different sections and the fly fishing has been very consistent. Water levels are still slightly above seasonal average flow but the temperatures are prefect. 60 to 63 degrees is outstanding and the trout seem to be extremely active. We have caught trout using a variety of methods from dry fly fishing to nymphing to employing sinking tip lines with streamers. The streamer fishing yesterday was outstanding. We had well over 40 trout eat either a #10 Black wooly bugger or an olive Whitlock sculpin variation. The fish were chasing down the flies. The nice thing from the drift boat is being able to see the takes. We could watch fish emerge from large boulder and downed wood to eat the flies. There have been rising fish daily. Mostly eating emerging #14 light green bodied caddis, #12-#14 spinners, and #14 Sulphurs. We have been nymphing with a #12 red thread prince nymph and a #16 ice caddis. Most of the takes have been on the caddis pattern. For the most part with the cooler water temperatures the trout have been holding in slower deep pools. The fishing has been best early and late in the day. I am off to row again today. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.

Monday, June 10, 2019

rolling down a river

Hi Folks, I guided the Lamoille this weekend and it fished very well. I floated with guests on Saturday and waded late Sunday afternoon. The conditions improved throughout the river this weekend after another big rain midweek had puffed it up. The water temperature Saturday morning was 58 to 60 degrees and late Sunday afternoon the temperature reached 63 degrees. The tactics we employed differed drastically from Saturday to Sunday. With the Lamoille being high but clear. Almost 25 percent higher than the seasonal average flow we cast sinking tip lines from the drift boat. We rigged them with a #10 olive/black wooly bugger and a #8 sparsely thin profiled tied muddler minnow. We had lots and lots of stocked rainbows with a few wild fish gobble up the streamers. We also swung a heavily weighted #8 black Girdle Bug. Most of the takes came on the swing or stripping the fly back. Sunday night it was all about stealth in approaching the water and making good presentations to rising trout in slow greasy water. The fishing went off from 8:15 pm into dark. Fish rising everywhere! We fed them a #12 foam back Rusty Spinner. Down stream mending maintaining right angles and proper rod position for the hook set. We landed 9 fish in just over an hour. It was pretty slow fishing up to dusk with the  bright sun, We did get one nice wild bow to hammer a #16 yellow soft hackle swung into an eddy. For bugs, I have been seeing #14-#18 olive bodied caddis hatch in the morning and egg lay at dusk. A fair number of #10-#12 March Brown spinners with a few remnant adults still hatching. Also were the smller #14 Grey fox. I have been seeing more and more #14-#16 sulphers at dusk. Even some terrestrials in the mix with lots of beetles along the river bank. With the current bright hot days and stability the fishing will be best early and late. Looks like some rain and unstable weather for midweek. On the lake front, i took the boat out Friday and fished for prespawn smallmouth and largemouth bass. The water was clear and 60 to 64 degrees. We could spot fish cruising from deep to shallow water. I did not see any spawning beds. We a number of bass come up to surface and subsurface flies and say no way. It was really bright and calm and I think the fish could see us. My guess is the bass are staging to spawn. The trout fishing should remain really good. June will be the month. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Friday, June 7, 2019


Hi Folks, What a nice drastic turn in the fishing this week. The trout fishing has really picked up. Now if we could just get a few days of no rain. Water temperatures have finally warmed into the high fifties and stayed there.  River flows are a bit erratic. Even in the high flows the fishing has been good. The water clarity had been fine. The fish still have to eat and we have been focusing on the softer water. Lots of insect activity from #10-#12 March Browns, #14 olive bodied caddis with a mottled wing, to #14 Grey Fox, and lots of #14 sulphurs. There have been some massive caddis hatches in the morning with egg laying activity at dusk. I have been seeing some rising trout and salmon even with the high flows. We have mostly been nymphing with a #12 flashback pheasant tail and a #14 ice caddis dropper. I have also been having clients swing a #16 soft hackle. On the dry fly front a large #12 Ausable Wulff, #10 March Brown Parachute, and a #14 Sulphur compara dun have all caught fish.  It looks like June will be a great month of fishing in the Stowe area.  A nice weather pattern for the next few days, I am off to chase pike and bass and trout over the weekend. Remmeber to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. have fun, Willy

Monday, June 3, 2019

Moving Froward

Hi Folks, May 2019 will be a fishing month for me to not remember. Spring really never sprung. High cold river temperatures and a lack of warm weather certainly poised some problems. However, the cool wet month will pay dividends down the road for the rest of the fishing season. With all of the rain, our rivers and lakes are fully charged with water. I finally found some consistent rising trout on Saturday guiding the main stem of the Lamoille.  I attempted to fish last night, but the thunderstorms drove us off the water. The last hour of light was pretty good with a decent hatch of #14 Sukphurs, Ephemerrella Dorothea. There were #14-#16 dark olive caddis egg laying and the large number of #12 Midges over riffles. At first I though the midges were March Brown spinners, until I had a closer look. It was a literal light switch effect with fish sticking their noses out of the water to eat the sulphurs. Our efforts nymphing and casting streamers were unproductive The fish were still rising when we left in the dark. A #14 Sulphur Compara Dun worked well getting the fish to eat. Fun for me witnessing my clients catch their first trout on a fly and especially a dry fly. We targeting specific risers and had fish blindly eat the dry. Water temperatures are warming slowly. A Winooski trib, I was on Wednesday and Thursday was 52-57 degrees while Lamoille was 58 degrees late day on Saturday. On the lake front the water has not warmed that much more significantly either.  I ran the boat Friday for pike and the surface temperature was 55 to 58 degrees with a slight NW wind. Water color was off. We caught 3 large pickerel and a small pike using fire tiger colored lures. Lots of casts for a few fish. We fished in skinny water. Tons of panfish in the shallows but I did not see any spawning activity from bass. No visible beds nor did I see any fish cruising. Typically prespawn bass are in the shallows warming their body temperature in preparation for reproduction. We did have a few follows from other pike but the fishing as a whole was slow. We really had to slow down our approach to get fish to eat. I took my kid and a friend bank fishing Friday late and we put on a clinic in catching yellow perch. Good Fun. I am feeling it for June, The next few weeks should really turn on. The almighty question will be what species you want to fish for. Fly fishing trout the rest of the week. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

funky and weird

Hi Folks, Man it has been a weird May for fly fishing. Every time it appears that the weather will improve it gets cold and wet again.  Certainly a slow start to the Vermont fishing season this year with the funky spring weather. Oh well, I am still on the water guiding and mixing it up between my boat and river fishing. Our rivers have been on a roller coaster. The water comes up and down significantly on a weekly basis. Water temperatures have been all over the board.  I have water temps. between 48 to 59 degrees on tributary streams. I have been unable to fish the Lamoille or Winooski due to high dirty water.  I think it is important that the water temps. rise into the mid to high fifties and hold there for a bit. Consistent flows and water temps. would make a world of difference in the river fishing for trout. I have been spending a bit of time guiding up north on the river of big fish.  The salmon fishing has been okay. We are working hard for fish. Lots of casting has yielded a few decent salmon, but nothing over the top gigantic.  With the big river flows landing a large salmon would not be easy.  Swinging streamers has been the most productive method. A #6 Black "Lil" Kim streamer has worked. Focusing on tail outs of pools that have good rock cover and big side eddies seem to hold a percentage of the salmon. They like resting areas as they move up stream. Guided my first smallmouth of the year the other day. The bass are beginning their annual spawning migration. They are good fun on a fly, but just not a salmon! Hatching activity has been limited. I have seen a few days of #14-#16 Hendricksons but not any fish responding to the bugs, Decent numbers of #14 dark bodied caddis and #14-#16 apple caddis hatching on sunny mornings with egg laying activity at dusk. Still I have not seen a rising fish yet on a Vermont trout stream. All nymphing with #14-#16 pheasant tail nymphs and a #12 red thread tungsten Prince nymph. A #14 double tungsten black stone fly has worked well also. Lake fishing has not been fast and furious. I have been running my boat for pike on the fly. Water temperatures in the still waters I guide are between 54- to 60 degrees. Seems like it has been windy as well lake fly fishing. I have not seen many smallmouth or large mouth in shallow water. The pre spawn period can be very good bass fishing as they beef up in preparation for spawning. That bite should only improve on a daily basis. We have been making lots of casts to draw the interest of a handful of pike. We did see a huge female northern on Sunday in less than 5' of water. Never got her to eat. I have been trying lots of different fly patterns. Dark colored bunny buggers tied on 1/0 to 3/0 hooks have drawn the most consistent action.  I think with the water being a little cooler and higher thus far, moving the fly more slowly with long strips is a good idea. Also a sinking tip or line is nice for holding the fly down in the strike zone longer. The best is yet to come and I think June will be the month. I am trout fishing for the rest of the week. Hopefully we do not get too much rain today and tonight. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy

Monday, May 20, 2019

the cat is back

Hi Folks, It has been awhile since I have posted. Pretty rough late Fall and winter for me with some medical issues.  I had some nerve damage in my back that ended my fishing season early last year and prevented me from ice fishing this last winter. Well, after taking it easy and some PT, I am back and ready to roll.  I have been guiding the last few days on Lamoille tributaries and pursuing lake run fish.  The water conditions and weather have slowly but surely improved with warming air temperatures. Even have run my boat on several lakes in pursuit of pike on the fly and large rainbows and browns.  River levels are still slightly above the seasonal average. Temperatures in the last few days have warmed from 48 degrees to 57 degrees.  Saw a massive hatch of #14-#16 Hendrickson may flies on Saturday.  The hatch was fairly sparse yesterday with the bright warm sunny day that was followed by rain and thunderstorms.  My experience with Vermont and the Hendrickson hatch is that it is an every other year phenomenon.  The bugs always happen, but the fish do not always respond.  Purely based on water temperature.  It seems that until our trout water warms to above 50 degrees and holds there, the fish are pretty lethargic coming out of winter.  We had a helluva of a winter and cold spring so it makes sense that trout have not been overly eager gulping dry flies.  We have drummed up a few fish nymphing with #14 pheasant tail nymphs and stripping a #10 black wooly bugger into deep pools. A swung #14 Daves Red Fox squirrel nymph produced a nice wild bow yesterday and another big fish that broke us off.  The lake run fishing has been challenging as always. Its one of those things where you need to be there everyday to really capitalize.  Egg patterns and #14 litle brown stone fly nymphs are effective bounce along the bottom. Swung streamer like a #8 Black ghost or #8 zonker all work.  It is my opinion that the best is yet to come and that the fishing in the next few weeks will be dynamite.  The pike have all spawned and the bass are in pre spawn mode.  It is a time of plenty now for us anglers.  Lot of choices and it just tough to be everywhere at once.  I will be trout fishing all week. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy