We've got 10 days left of regular trout season here in VT. Most streams will close the last day of October but there will still be open stretches of the Lamoille, Winooski, Otter, and Lake Champlain tribs, to name a few. Check the VT rule book to ensure that the stretch of water you are interested in is open. For instance the Winooski is open year round up to the Bolton Dam.
I'll Start with trout fishing, which began slowing mid week last week when we had some nights in the 30's and the rivers dropped below 50 degrees. Last weekends snow and down right cold temps cooled things off even more, meaning that the trout are not going to be feeding heavily all day. What you may find out there is that things will be slow and then all of the sudden you may have a stretch of decent to good fishing. Likely what is happening is that a BWO hatch has begun and the fish are keying into the hatch. This may last just a little while and only on a small stretch of river but you may have the opportunity to put a few trout in the net quickly. Fish the deeper pools working the head, middle and tail out thoroughly, and fish midday and afternoon when the water will be warmest. The other option for the rest of the year is the fish streamers, which is going to be a good way to land a nice trophy trout. Fish slow and deep with sink tip leaders to get your fly down where the fish are. Remember, the fish are sitting on the bottom of the river. With cold water their metabolism is slower and they are less likely to move for a fly. While you may get an aggressive pre-spawn brown, or a mean rainbow to chase your fly, you are going to increase your odds greatly by getting the fly into the fishes face. I think many people fail to properly get their streamers or nymphs to the depth the fish are at and it lowers catch rates considerably, not just in the fall but year round.
As far as guiding for trout goes, I am only going to guide anglers who are looking to chase larger fish, and are aware that it will not be a numbers game the rest of the year. If you are looking to try to land a large trout then please get in touch with me.
Now on to Landlocked Salmon. Fishing should remain good through the end of trout season and into November. We have had success both swinging streamers and nymphing, with nymphing being the most productive. I have been teaching clients to tight line nymph and it has been out producing indicator fishing by a wide margin. I have been running a mid sized split shot about 8 inches above my first nymph either a heavily weighted dark stonefly or caddis larvae, and then dropping another nymph off the back of the first around 8 inches below, again either a dark stone or caddis larvae. I have been running 2x fluorocarbon tippet, which many people may laugh and tell you its too big, then tie on their 4x hook a fish in some fast water and watch it break them off after the first leap. We have been catching a lot of fish with this set up, and have been able to aggressively fish all types of water including very fast pocket water and keep the salmon on the line. Moral of the story is we have been putting more fish in the net than most with larger tippet. Let me know if you want to chase some of these awesome fish.
We had an incredible day Landlocked Atlantic Salmon fishing mid week this week. 4 of us landed 12 adult salmon and tangled with more, and caught countless juvenile fish in the 8-12" range. These fish are truly awesome to fish for. They will take streamers and nymphs readily as they enter the river in preparation for spawning. I found the first few hours of the day the salmon will chase a streamer, but as things get brighter nymphing becomes the most successful method. Please drop me a line if you want to chase some of these fish. I only do full day salmon trips so keep that in mind if you are interested in getting out. I just booked my entire weekend with half day trout fishing trips, but have availability next week to chase these beasts.
As for trout, the fishing has been very good. I have seen many fish rising as I drive over the rivers, but to be honest have been focusing on salmon. The rain we are getting today may impact the fishing on the big rivers, but hopefully they will remain fishable for the weekend. The fish are still on the same program of BWO's, October Caddis, smaller tan caddis, and will still take Iso imitations. Streamers are a great option right now as the browns prepare to spawn and are aggressive and territorial. The Rainbows are feeding heavily in preparation for winter and will be interested in a larger meal as well. I expect trout fishing to be phenomenal next week as we will have above average air temps which will have river temps in prime time range.
Ben Wilcox Owner/Guide Maple Country Anglers