The 2015 general open water season has come to a close, and most of our rivers are off limits until next April. For those of you still thinking about fly fishing, there are still some waters open that are worth fishing. It is important to consult the rule book to make sure that you are on an open stretch, but the Lamoille, Winooski, and Otter have long stretches of water that are open year round, or at least until they ice up.
I spent the last day of the season fishing with a good friend on a salmon and trout river. The salmon run is still in full swing with fish still moving up river, while others are spawning. We spoke with a biologist trapping salmon and it was the best year he has had as far as returns and the Landlocks were still coming in. We saw a lot of natural reproduction going on as well and had to be very careful where we stepped and where we fished to avoid any spawning females. We focused on deep holes or rocky runs where we could sight fish and could see that there were no redds, which were in just about every gravely areas. It was really encouraging to see this going on. The fishing was a little slower than it had been as fish were not feeding as aggressively, but we did land 5 or 6 adult salmon and lost a handful of others. We also saw some true giant fish moving up river that I would estimate in the 10 Lbs range. I also brought to net a large 24+ inch fish of around 6 or 7 lbs. However I actually hooked a split shot which was attached to two flies, one of which was in the dorsal fin of the fish! I could not believe that my hook never fell off the weight as it was not easy to get that fish in foul hooked. I was able to set the fish free, without and flies in its back. It was much larger than the fish above. It was a little disappointing because I had seen the fish and only taken a couple of drifts before I hooked the snag. It would have been nice to get that fish to eat my fly. As far as flies went, the only one that took a fish was a size 18 frenchie, which is a slim Pheasant tail looking nymph but with a fluorescent orange hot spot around the bead.
It was really just an awesome way to end the season. As far as the remainder of the year, right now is the time to hit the water. We have had unusually warm temps this week and it has the trout feeding more heavily again. I even heard a report of rising fish tonight, so if you are going to get out, now is the time. BWO nymphs are going to be your best bet, along with streamers. Look back to my last report for more info on tactics for the remainder of the year.
There will be an opportunity to chase more salmon on our open waters as well as steelhead. Now is a great time to fish an egg pattern as steelhead enter our rivers to feed on spawning salmon and brown trout eggs.
I am still available to guide, though have a couple short deer hunting trips coming up in the next three weeks so I may be out of town. Feel free to get in touch if you want to chase some big fish.
Ben Wilcox Owner/Guide Maple Country Anglers