I got out a fair amount last week and through the weekend with clients and by myself. Fishing was great from around 11 AM through the middle of the afternoon, and very slow early. I saw the same pattern 4 times last week. There was not a lot hatching, when I was on the water, but the fish were keying into PT and Hares Ear variations in size 14-16 mostly and size 20 red copper johns to a lesser extent.
I fished with Steve from VT Thursday hitting the water just after daylight. Water temp was 66 to start. We saw a few sporadic rises early and missed one fish on a caddis emerger pattern. We then moved in to some pocket water and picked up a stocked brown that was on the verge of death. It was the sorriest looking fish I have ever seen. Its head was by far the thickest part of its body and it narrowed down from there almost as skinny as a smelt. The fish literally didn't even pull or flop. Summer really took a toll on the stocked fish. The wild fish were in great shape as you can see from the pics above. The water was warming rapidly in the sun and hit 68 by about 10. Around that same time a cloud moved over and Steve landed two really nice rainbows pictured above. The half day trip was supposed to go until around 11, but the water hit 69 and I called it at 10:30. As we were leaving we met another guide from a local fly shop with his client walking to the river where we were fishing. I watched them walk to the river but didn't see them take a river temp, and they clearly fished for a while as Steve and I hung out at my truck for a bit, by which they had parked. It was a little disappointing as I hear this particular outfit talk about river temps, but it didn't seem as though they were practicing what they preach.
Friday some rain came though and the air and water temps cooled off. We should be through having to deal with water temps at this point I hope. On the weekend I got out with Tom and his 11 year old son Tommy from MA. We were originally scheduled to float, but the rain had not bumped up river flows and things were far too low to float. We were wading on the river by 8:30 but again things were dead until around 10:30 when Tommy had his first take on a nymph. Tommy quickly learned exactly how to properly mend and present the nymph. Things picked up from there and Tommy hooked and fought around 10 fish though we struggled keeping the pressure on the fish and many came unbuttoned, while the elder Tom landed one Rainbow. The difference was the mending and presentation ability,
I got out on sunday for about and hour and 15 minutes at about 11 and went 9/12 on wild bows landing a fish of around 17" and another around 15" as well as losing a good fish in a side channel. I landed smaller fish in the tail outs and fast shallow riffles while the bigger fish were in the prime areas at the head of the pools and in pools themselves. All fish ate the same flies I listed above.
The week ahead looks great and there is so much to fish for. Trout will be good and the bigger fish have started to come out of hibernation. LL salmon are thinking about spawning, and though they are not here in earnest, will be soon. Bass and pike have been good as well on lakes and ponds.
We have some unsettled weather ahead and I am hoping that we get some measurable rain. If that happens it should push Salmon into the rivers, but I'm not optimistic we will get enough. Archery deer season also starts Saturday and I will surely be out. I have a few good bucks that I will be after. Have fun out there and I hope you have success on either trout or deer.
Ben Wilcox Owner/Guide Maple Country Anglers