Feels like late July out there right now. I just got off the water with clients from Georgia. Water temp was 65 at 6:30 and 66 when we got off at 10:45. The Winooski was 69 last night at 8 PM and likely hit 70 lower on the river. We will likely get over 70 degree water temps this afternoon, but we get a nice cool down starting tomorrow, and the fishing should remain great through that timeframe. Hopefully people will give the fish a break this afternoon. Thankfully the flows have been on the high side so the rivers are not heating up too bad.
Fish have been keying into golden stones more in the last week and almost all of the wild rainbows caught have been on stonefly nymphs like the one in the first pic. Soft hackle caddis emergers have taken a fair amount of fish as well. Fishing was good the past few mornings. We have mostly been targeting riffles, runs, and pocket water. As the temps get nearer the mid 60's more and more fish will be found in well oxygenated water found in these areas since the warmer the water the less amount of dissolved oxygen the water can hold. This is why we stop fishing for trout at 70 degrees because the fish are stressed to the point that many die after being released.
Fishing bouldery brawling pocket water generally will hold a lot of trout but can be difficult for many anglers as there are different currents moving at high speeds, and inevitably, moving in all different directions including upstream. On top of that are huge changes in in depth as water moves over shelves and boulders. Nymphing is usually the most productive method though it requires precise fly placement and depth control in order to get the fly down to where the fish are, while keeping the fly from hanging up. You also need to battle those different currents by keeping your fly and line in the same current or you won't get your fly to the fish. Using and indicator rig has some serious short comings in this water as it often lands in a different current than your fly, greatly lowering your chances of hooking a fish because your fly is not being presented at the correct depth or speed. My method is to use a tight line nymphing technique with no indicator, and varyingly weighted flies. I keep my fly line off the water and control depth with my rod tip allowing me to keep my fly in the strike zone and moving at the speed of the current the fly is in. If you'd like to learn more get in touch with me and I can show you how to land a lot more fish in pocket water. I have specialized tight line nymphing rods and leaders set ups for my guests to use.
Good luck on the water, and again, don't forget to get in the habit of taking river temps.
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Ben Wilcox Owner/Guide Maple Country Anglers