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

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

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

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