Its been a busy week with non related fishing stuff but have still managed to get out a bit, unfortunately I don't have time to get pics uploaded for this report and I wanted to check in after todays rain. On my last guided trip a few days back river levels on even the bigger rivers were quite low and clear for the time of year, and we are around 5+" below our average rainfall for the date. This combined with bright sun made fishing during the middle part of the day a bit challenging. We fished the tail end of a long riffle that holds a lot of fish, and were 2 for 5 in a couple hours. A few hours later we hit the same run for about 15 minutes at the very end of the trip. The sun angle was a little lower and a few high clouds had moved in. We went 2 for 6 or 7 in that short time period.
I am hoping with the rain we received in the last couple of days the fish will be more active and feel more comfortable with some higher flows and stained water. Yesterday was a bit of a disappointment as we got very little rain from the line of storms moving through. The flows in the Winooski watershed did not budge, while Lamoille came up only a little, the White received the most rain, though it is still fishable. Today however exceeded my expectations and we got a couple round of a nice soaking rain where I was in Underhill. I don't think levels will rise much, but it will hopefully go a long ways into keeping water temps below 70 on the big rivers and maintain good fishing through the weekend until the next cold front comes through on Saturday. I am hoping again for a good amount of rain out of that system as I have 3 Drift boat trips toward the end of the week and the higher the flows the more options we will have on where to float. The other god news is that behind that cold front on Saturday our temps return to seasonal and even below seasonal averages. I expect fishing to remain excellent for at least the next week or so.
I have seen fish rising sporadically in the last week, but I had the most success with brown and grey soft hackle nymphs in #12 and #14, and fish have been taking them dead drifted though some have been on the swing as well. Zug Bugs, PT nymphs, Caddis pupa, golden stones (especially if the water is off color) and hares ears have been good as well.
I have been using a foam indicator fly with success and the past week or so. I have had fish take the dry fly dead drifted, swung and stripped back upstream. I really like to emphasize swinging and stripping in your nymphs as the fish are feeding throughout the water column and will take the nymphs thinking that they are emerging insects.
My wife and I will be fishing the White River Open Fly Fishing Tournament this Saturday. I think river levels and temps will be perfect for putting a lot of fish in the nets! The White is not my home river and usually only fish it from a drift boat. As this is a wade only event, I am hoping we can find some productive and uncrowded water. I have a few places we will hit and see what happens.
Ben Wilcox Owner/Guide Maple Country Anglers