Above are some wild VT trout I've landed from early and mid April. It has been a great start to the season.
I was able to finish up my sugaring season and join the Otter Creek Classic Fly Fishing Tournament down in Middlebury, VT in Mid April. The tournament was great fun and the weather was incredible. I was able to win the tournament by consistently catching fish both Saturday and Sunday, despite the cold water and lethargic trout, and I did it in entirely new water I'd never fished before. Generally, early season is not a numbers game, and the results of the Otter Creek Classic usually is one of quality over quantity. That was the case for most of the anglers who scored a fish, which is an accomplishment in and of itself. While April is not a time to catch lots of trout, it is a time to catch the biggest one of the season and a real solid number of large trout were caught. My approach was a bit different. Based on the warm weather and a couple of successful outings the week prior I knew there was a small portion of fish that were actively feeding in shallow flat water. Knowing this, I targeted specific water types, which meant a lot of walking and exploring new sections of rivers. My approach was to quickly fish pools and likely holding water looking for a big fish laying deep, which I eventually found on Sunday, (see picture above) and then slowly and methodically fish the slow, sunny, flat water where I was hoping to find a feeding fish. This method worked well for me and I was able to catch 10 wild trout during the event, and even got to sight fish to a rainbow actively feeding at the tailout of a pool. By covering lots of water and being very stealthy when I got the the water type I was looking for I was able to capitalize on the few feeding fish and take the win.
I am going to try doing some more on the water video reports that I will post up to YouTube and the website. These will give you similar info as I write on the report, but also some more visuals. Let me know if you like the format.
As I said, the fishing had been good for the calendar date thanks to that crazy warm weather last week. Things have retuned to normal this week with cooler weather and a big slug of rain over the weekend. The rivers are high and muddy today but smaller sized streams will be fishable by today or tomorrow. The big rivers will take some time to come down. Keep grinding away and eventually you'll find a trout or two. I would still stick with early season patterns and tactics until the water warms up and the bugs get to hatching. Good luck out there!
Ben Wilcox Owner/Guide Maple Country Anglers