Fishing right now is good. The past week saw a lot of fish in the net for myself and client. As you can see above we also tangled with some beastly trout, this wild brown trout measured 23.5" and took a small rusty wooly bugger out of a deep rip rap bend.
Water temps range from the upper 50's to mid 60's which is really prime in terms of fish activity. Fish are taking nymphs dead drifted and on the swing as well as chasing streamers and eating dries. I have found that faster water, riffles and pocket water has a lot of active fish, but slower pools and runs have been slower. I found fish keying into specific nymphs one day, and then taking almost anything the next with no apparent changes in weather or flows. The key is to keep working until you figure it out, or if you're lucky it will be pretty easy.
We really need some rain to shake things up and bring up river levels. Smaller streams are clear and spooky. We also have to think about water temps on the big rivers as we have some 80's and warm nights that may not cool rivers much.
Remember to have a stream thermometer and please don't trout fish in water 70 degrees or higher.
Hatches are the same as my previous report except March Browns, Golden Stones, and reports of sulphurs are joining the party.
I am fishing in the US National Fly Fishing Championship's June 2-4 in Lake Placid, NY. I am getting in a bit over my head competing against the best tournament fly fishermen in the country, but I am sure to learn a lot and be a better angler for it. Ill still have a guide available those days is you want to get out fishing.
Water conditions and temps are pretty similar to last week's report. Expect fishing to slow a little through the early part of the week as we have some below average temps that will lower water temps and suppress insect activity. I don't anticipate river levels to be too much of an issue from the rain we are currently seeing. Insect hatches have been decent on the warm sunny days and slow on the overcast rainy days. New to the scene this week are #16-#18 Yellow Sally stoneflies, and more caddis. I also hooked fish on a golden stone pattern this week, and saw the first golden stone shuck of the year on the same day. I saw more Quill Gordon's (two tails) vs Hendrickson's (three tails), and on a float with my buddies saw a good number of them hatching. The good news is you fish the hatches the same really. As opposed to last week, we saw almost no rising fish.
From here through July I fish a golden stone nymph very often, especially when the water levels are elevated. Fish this weekend took Golden Stone flies, Hares Ears, Pheasant tails, and soft hackle PT's and Hares Ears. I fished a variety of caddis patterns during a caddis hatch and the fish had not keyed into them yet.
I did not have any guide trips this weekend and took full advantage by getting out with some friends both on the rivers and on the lake as well as some volunteer work with TU. Some nice fish were landed but what I will remember more are two very nice browns that I lost, one of which broke me off. The stretches of river we fished this week had not been stocked yet, so we didn't put a huge number of fish in the net but the quality was good. Ill take that any day! Stocking should be wrapping up soon. Saturday morning I got out on the lake with my good buddy and we got into some largemouth and pike. Largemouth were hooked in a muddy grassy inlet of a small river and under docks in deeper clear water, while the pike were caught in about 6 feet over water over old weed beds. The lake level is very low for the time of the year and areas we usually fish for bass, pike, bowfin, and carp and almost dry. We were only out for a few hours but the fishing was pretty consistent. Fly of the day was a 3" perch pattern that took both bass and pike. We also got a small bass on a popper.
I also was proud to help out with Central Vermont Trout Unlimited's tree planting event on the Lamoille river. We had around 40 volunteers and planted 130 trees in just a couple hours, followed by a great barbecue. The stretch of river was in dire need of bank stabilization and tree cover. We created a buffer between the river bank and field that will eventually stop the bank erosion, shade the river, and create better habitat for trout. Driving along our rivers there are so many stretches that could benefit from this type of work. The good news its relatively cheap, and really goes a long way.
Ill be pretty busy with guide trips midweek through the weekend. Good Luck out there!
There is a tree planting on the banks of the Lamoille river on Saturday in Hyde Park. All are welcome and it begins at 9 AM and Central VT Trout Unlimited is hosting a BBQ afterward. It is also in a nice stretch of river so if you can attend bring a fly rod. Contact me, Green Mountain Troutfitters, or CVTU for more info.
Things are progressing and fishing is picking up the further we move into May. This past weekend we found rising fish willing to eat my clients own Hendrickson emerger pattern. We didn't see a ton of risers, but the ones we were able to cast to took his fly without hesitation. You can see above a nice brown the same client hooked on a soft hackle pheasant tail. Over the weekend flows on the big rivers were challenging for wading, though great for the drift boat. In fact, all of the fish we landed were taken in places that were totally unaccessible on foot. This is the big advantage of floats. The ability to cover water and find active fish that never get fished to is pretty hard to beat.
Yesterday I was out and about though not fishing. I stopped at a small champlain trib and found these two large steelhead in mid spawn. The female looked to be around 24-26" and the male just a tad smaller. They were really impressive fish. It was pretty cool to watch them and I captured a few videos that I uploaded to Instagram. If you are on Instagram be sure to follow me @maplecountryanglers. Most all the rainbows and steelhead should be finishing up or done spawning. While I did find these steelhead, overall the spring Steelhead fishing was pretty poor, and while fish were caught there were now where near the numbers as years past. I think it was due to low water conditions we had all spring, but as I said in earlier reports, the trout fishing has made up for that.
I have seen in the past few days, brown stones, caddis, hendrickson's, Quill Gordon's and Quill Gordon spinners, and Blue Quills. Water temps are now hanging in the low fifties and may creep into the upper 50's by tomorrow. The fish will really continue to eat more consistently and throughout the water column as we get nearer to 60 degree water temps. I expect the fishing to be pretty good for the rest of the week.
The stocking trucks have been busy this week, so there may be a mess load of new fish the next time you hit your favorite spot.
I have gotten out with my 9 month old a couple of times this spring and catching a trout with her in a backpack and the dog running around has proven to be a huge challenge, or the two of them are bad luck when it comes to fishing. Either way, when she had been with me I have yet to land a fish. Her and I will have to follow a stock truck or go after bass if things don't change soon!
Apparently the local trout were paying homage to the recently passed Prince this past weekend. I was able to get on the water both Saturday for myself and Sunday with a client from Virginia. Saturday was sunny and 63 degrees and the water temp was 52. The Hendrickson may flies took notice and were hatching in very good numbers in the early afternoon along with some brown stones. This was the first mayfly hatch I had seen this year. As I sat on the bank observing the bug activity the choice seemed pretty clear, a PT soft hackle nymph to imitate the hatching Hendrickson nymph. Turns out the trout had different ideas and luckily for me I had tied the PT off the bend of a #12 tungsten prince nymph. Time and again the Wild Rainbow's passed on the pheasant tail in favor of the Prince on a dead drift.
The following day we had much different conditions with rain and 48, with a water temp of 47. Bug activity was non existent, though the fishing was similar. Once my client got the hang of presenting the fly and casting a weighted nymph rig, we began getting some decent presentations. With a good presentation came the trout. The story was the same as the day before with the prince landing fish. We did get the fish of the day, a 17-18" wild brown trout, on the swing rather than dead drifted, which was nice to see.
I anticipate once the trout are more accustomed to seeing the smaller mayfly nymphs this week, they will key in on the Pheasant tails, and hares ears more so than the larger stonefly nymphs. Likewise trout will also be more inclined to take your fly on the swing as the water temps rise. I would recommend swinging all of your drifts and letting them pause below you before picking up to cast. I did see some #14 caddis today on a champlain trib, so some caddis pupa and larvae imitations should be in your boxes as well in green, brown, tan, and black. The low elevation Champlain tribs see the hatches in our areas first and then move up the river systems, so we may see them on many of our trout streams this weekend.
I would not be surprised to find some rising fish by the weekend so be prepared with your dry flies. Other hatches you may see are Blue Quills in #18 and Quill Gordon's in #14 on the as well.
I have limited openings this weekend, but should be able to fit in another half day as well as friday afternoon if you are looking to get out before next week.
Ben Wilcox Owner/Guide Maple Country Anglers