Fall began yesterday, but Summer is holding in for another week. Actually we are going to see some of the warmest temps of the year. Trout fishing is going to be poor, and it had not been good the previous week. Water temps are high, 68-72+ on the big rivers and the levels are low. Honestly, the best bet it to wait until next week to fish for trout, or head into the smaller streams to find cold water. Those small streams are very low right now and spooky so you need to take on a hunters mentality if you are fishing smaller and mid sized streams. It can be challenging, but rewarding.
I took this weekend off from guiding long ago as I had some other commitments and have been guiding a lot this month. I am really glad I did since the conditions are poor. We are actually going to see the worst week of trout fishing we've seen the whole summer. The clients I have coming in earlier on next for float trips will be going for bass instead of trout, though I am looking forward to a change to bass after chasing trout all spring and summer.
The fishing this past week had been tough as well. Warm days with bright sun and mild over night temps are to blame. I had a full day float that I had to change to a half day thursday as the temps were 67 to start and rose to 70 when we got off the water at midday. The fishing was slow and even fall fish were reluctant to eat. We got a few trout including a decent wild brown and a brookie in the main stem of a big river which is rare.
I would recommend staying off all big rivers until it cools down, especially the Winooski below waterbury and the little river below the dam. After stopping to take a temp on the little, which always runs cold from the bottom release dam, I was shocked to find that the water was 72 Wednesday night. I went up to the dam to find that water was spilling over the top and they were doing construction on the dam. I emailed VT Fish and Wildlife and got a response the next day. The turbine is being replaced in the dam to allow a wider range of generating flows in order to more naturally maintain a "run of river" flow instead of the huge releases we see now. This will be complete by April 2018 hopefully. In the short term its not good for our trout in the Little River or the Winooski below. That cool water helped cool the entire lower Winooski. Our wild trout are going to have a tough time in this warm spell. Especially the ones who reside in the Little itself as they are not used to warm water temps at all. Hopefully not too much damage is done and the fish will be better off in the future once the turbine is replaced and the water is once again cold.
Good luck out there and please use your stream thermometers this week.
Sorry for the delays in repots the past three weeks. I've just been out straight and finally have a minute after this mornings drift boat trip. Fishing has been good this week, yesterday I had two clients each hook browns on the last cast. I'm not sue I've had lost cast doubles before.
Aside from two weeks ago's high water and cold temps, which slowed the fishing down for my clients, fishing has been consistently good for a while. There have been plenty of dry fly opportunities mostly early and late, but have had fish taking dries sporadically throughout the day as well. There was an insane flying ant hatch last Friday and it seemed just about every fish was eating on top at dark. Fish have been eating a variety of dries including ants, hoppers, caddis, and grey adams among other things. The fish have not been extremely picky either. during the any hatch we had a large hopper and a small ant off the back and each fly got about the same number of eats. If you're fishing a small fly thats hard to see or its getting dark, try dropping the smaller fly off the bend of the hook of a bigger fly like a hopper or stimulator.
When fish are not rising consistently I've been running a dry dropper with clients and had the most takes on size 14-18 dark or red colored mayfly imitations as well as caddis larvae. I find that fish key in more to smaller flies as fall progresses so don't be afraid to throw small #20 PT and copper johns. Ive also seen a few October caddis. a large orange caddisfly that hatches in the fall. A larger orange larvae or orange wet fly will get takes. The fish are very spread out on the bigger rivers and can be found from pocket water, to fast riffles, to long flats. I like to hit those long flats for rising fish in the evenings. There are still a ton of stocked fish in the rivers thanks to the cool summer. Typically in this area most die by mid summer leaving only wild fish in the fall, so there are definitely plenty of fish around.
I've heard a few reports of salmon being caught though I haven't been after any yet. I imagine the next bigger rain event will bring a lot of fish up the rivers. Ill wait until after this warm spell ends next week to try my luck. Early on the fish are more likely to take swung streamers, with my favorite being a black ghost.
You'll need to watch water temps from this afternoon through next week. The big rivers were 68 yesterday afternoon and 66 this morning and I imagine they will push over 70 in the afternoons they next few days.
I'm almost completely booked through October but have plenty of dates once September ends. You could try me regarding september, as I may be able to get a short evening or morning trip in.
Ben Wilcox Owner/Guide Maple Country Anglers