Free Fishing Day
This stretch of cool rainy weather we are experiencing is as good as it gets as far as trout fishing goes. It was a perfect day to get out for Free Fishing Day, though there was no one else on the river. River temps are perfect in the upper 50's and low 60's. The trout are extremely happy after the abnormally high temps we experienced last week, the stocked fish are spread out throughout the rivers and fish are eating dries!
I had not guided in a little bit as I was fishing in the US National Fly Fishing Championships in Lake Placid, NY. It was an awesome experience and I will make a full post about the tourney soon. There is too much to talk about right now regarding conditions.
I took Greg out Thursday for a guided trip on the big rivers, it was a raw damp and windy day and the water was off color. I hit a spot first thing in the morning that I never guide at but I usually can find rising fish in a long deep flat and had a hunch there would be plenty of activity there. As we walked up onto the flat from below sure enough we could see fish working the surface. We casted at two fish we could reach at the tail out of the run but did not hook any so we moved to the top and hooked two subsurface. The river had changed a little since last year and the majority of fish were not holding as close to where we could wade. The rises only lasted about 30 minutes. After working that area we went down river to some riffles and hook a good many rainbows on worms, soft hackle PT's and Caddis Larvae. The fish switched up from caddis to soft hackles right at the end of the trip when some small #18 grey mayflies with brown wing began hatching. I was not able to identify them in the few minutes they began hatching before we left. Greg actually offered to call it quits but I tied on the soft hackle and he landed a good rainbow on his first drift which was also his last. A great way to end the trip.
On Saturday was Free Fishing Day in Vermont. I had the inlaws in town, but convinced my sister in law and wife to fish being that she did not have to pay for a license. I had the baby on my back. Conditions were right to really get into fish, and we did. Getting on the water at around 4 we saw a lot of different bug hatching. I saw #16 tan caddis, #20 BWO's in good numbers, March browns, #18 sulphurs, and #14-16 Pale evening duns, and even a spring isonichia of about a size 10. I don't see that often at all, the majority hatch in the early fall. Apparently it is a deferent species of Iso. With all the activity the question was where to start. My wife loves dry fly fishing so she started with a tan caddis and did not move a fish, my sister in law, new to fly fishing, had on a squirmy wormy, and I had on nymphs. The worm was the first to get eaten on the swing, then I took a fish on a golden stone. There after the fish stopped eating near the bottom and began looking up. Being that I had the baby on my back and did not have a pack I didn't have the luxury of switching flies often so had to play around with different presentations and casts which turned out to be pretty fun and challenging. I only had my tight line rod, so I began swinging my flies down and across and took a number of rainbows. Meanwhile my wife threw on a small yellow stimulator and began hooking fish as well. We had doubles twice which was pretty fun. To end the night I made my way over to the pack and threw on a march brown dry and immediately had five takes. The largest wild rainbow of the day ate that dry confidently.
As you can see the fishing is good right now. I have some openings this week, and may have an opening saturday. Things will warm toward the end of the week and slow things down a little but it should still be good. We will have to start watching water temps again next week in the afternoons.
The other thing to take from this report is the variety of ways to catch a fish and more importantly the benefits of being flexible and letting the fish tell you what and how to fish.
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Ben Wilcox Owner/Guide Maple Country Anglers