This weekend and much of next week will be great fishing. Water Temps are great and trout and salmon are feeding. I got out for some lake Salmon fishing from shore and did well. Lots of salmon hooked and as the pics above show, some good ones. Salmon fishing can be very hit or miss depending on conditions, but once we get our next rain event through the next month it should be as good as it gets. We have some rain forecast for early to mid next week and I am hoping we get a good amount to bring river levels up.
Trout fishing will continue to be great for most of the day, though on mornings like this where it is in the 30's and 40's the mornings may be slower until the water warms up.
Now is the time to be on the water and I have some openings next week, so give me a shout if you want to get out.
Finally, the air and river temps have cooled from mid summer readings. Much the same way winter did not want to end, neither did our summer. Though we are still seeing warmer than average temps for the date, fishing has been good. River temps are great, trout are feeding, and salmon are beginning to move. River levels remain very low which has made small and mid sized streams more of a challenge to fish, and the large rivers very easy to wade. Focus on pocket water, deeper depressions in any long riffles, and deep pools.
This September is certainly not a typical one. The leaves are just starting to change colors which is very late, it has been as dry as I can remember, and it looks like the month will go down as the warmest September on record. What does this mean for our spawning trout and salmon? Well, from what I have found is that things are behind as well. Much of this could be the lack of rain. We could really use some significant precipitation to get our river levels up. I think when we get our next big push of water (that doesn't look like it will happen anytime in the next week or so) we will see the salmon moving in greater numbers, and browns moving into their spawning grounds. That being said, there are a few salmon around and I landed the first one of the season last week, not a huge fish but thats OK. I did hook a few more, and had two break me off in some vegetation, a few of them were good fish. I absolutely love to hook these salmon for a couple reasons. One, they grow big, and the possibility of hooking a fish weighing double digits is real. Two, typically the second you hook one of these fish they are screaming out of the water, and they do not come to hand easily. Infact last week I hooked a fish tight line nymphing on a short line, and it came out of the water towards me and grazed my shoulder as I flailed out of the way. The fish came unbuttoned and I got a nice splash in the face! I have found that a lot of these fish are lost right off the bat. If you can keep it on the line for longer than the first few seconds, you are doing well. I had success both nymphing with dark stoneflies and caddis larvae, and with small traditional salmon streamers. Again, when we get some rain things should pick up nicely as the fish are starting to think about spawning.
As for trout, the fish are eating. They know winter is coming and are trying to put on weight. They are especially hungry since they were stressed from the warm water a few weeks ago. I have found the fishing remains great until the water really starts to cool. As long as it stays in the mid to upper 50's and 60's thing will be good. It usually slows once we get cooler than that. From the looks of the forecast we should be good for a while. Be prepared for everything this time of year. Streamers are a great option especially for aggressive large browns moving toward their spawning grounds, I usually have two rods ready with a nymph rig and a dry fly, or just one rod with a dry dropper, depending on the water I choose to fish. The fish are still looking up and will take Iso imitations even though the hatch has waned. Additionally Northern Casemaker Caddis Flies will be hatching. These are a large caddis around size 10-12. The adult female swims underwater to lay her eggs on the rocks, so a small orange wet fly or streamer is a top choice to swing through each run and pool. Additionally BWO's are present, especially on cloudy wet days. As for nymphs, a zug bug, orange caddis pupa, and small baetis nymphs are the top choice. I generally fish one of the former and then a small #18-22 flash back PT or red copper john off the bend of the larger hook. One more thing, learn to Identify a redd and please don't walk on them.
We have had a rough stretch of weather since my last report, nearly zero rain and hot sunny days have made it tough on our local trout. Water levels are very low and temps are up. If you are a die hard trout fisherman there is always an option, though right now they are very limited to small mountain steams. If you do get out on a small stream make sure you are moving slowly and stealthily, wearing drab colors and make your first cast count.
With that being said, I still found it rough going with my clients Saturday morning. We were on the water at daylight and had a nice amount of fog. We missed a handful of fish on dries with ant patterns, and landed a few wild rainbows on parachute adams and prince nymphs. Overall it was a rough day as my both of my anglers were good fishermen. Things are just stale on the water as we have had the same weather day after day after day. Throwing dries, nymphs and small streamers in every hole that holds fish just didn't produce many takes.
THE GOOD NEWS
1. This heat wave came at the end of August and we had favorable conditions all summer, meaning that the trout were in pretty good shape heading into it and river levels were above average going into this dry spell. Additionally, the days are shorter and nights longer allowing rivers to cool off more overnight than in midsummer.
2. There are plenty of options to fish for other species. In fact, Saturday evening after guiding I checked out a new stretch of river low in the watershed with my wife and new baby. In around 45 minutes right before dark I landed 2 walleye, a bass, a rock bass, a fall fish, and missed a big take on a top water popper. There were rises, big swirls, splashes, and baitfish being chased into the shallows everywhere. It was really exciting on the river.
For the next week or so, or until the weather changes, I will only be guiding warm water species. We can fish small ponds out of a canoe or the drift boat for bass and pickerel, or we can fish the lower rivers and experience what I just described above. If that sounds interesting give me a shout and we can get out, either early morning or late evening.
3. It is september, the weather will begin cooling off mid week. September is my favorite month to fish in VT. As soon as we cool off and get a push of rain trout fishing will turn on. Brown trout and Brook trout will be on the move and feeding in prep for fall spewing, and rainbows as well will be feeding in preparation for winter. We also will have a new player in the game. LL Atlantic Salmon will being moving into a few of our rivers to spawn. These fish run from around 3 pounds to over 10 and they fight like crazy. Fishing for salmon is likely not a huge numbers game but it is as exciting as it gets to hook a big Salmon. Steelhead will also be around in smaller numbers.
Here are a few VT salmon and a colored up brown from last year.
Ben Wilcox Owner/Guide Maple Country Anglers