You really can't ask for better conditions for early August. Overall all of our fish, but specifically trout have had a great summer. Higher flows and cooler temperatures mean that trout have been less stressed than in a usual summer. Extreme heat and low flows that we see in many summers can really take a toll on them. Usually most stocked fish do not make it through the summer and some of the wild fish may even die. This happened on the Winooski around 4 or 5 years ago when many wild fish perished. Luckily we have rebounded and I believe we are in better shape than we were before. This fall I anticipate outstanding fishing starting now, as we will have a lot of fish in our rivers and they should be in great shape.
The big rivers are under 70 degrees in the AM but may hit 70 by the afternoon so take temps often. This morning the Winooski was 67 at 8 AM and still 67 at 11 AM. The water is off color in many big rivers due to the storms we had in the eastern part of the state, though flows are great. Fish were eating golden stones, and a variety of other nymphs including small #20 flash back PT's. The key today mid morning with the sun on the water was getting the nymphs on the bottom. Very few fish were moving through the middle of the water column to eat this morning, though I did get a few on the swing. Fishing should be good on the large rivers in the morning and mid sized streams most of the day for the next week. Fish will be holding in faster moving riffles and pocket water.
The hatches should be the same from the previous post, though be on the lookout for flying ants in the next couple weeks, which can be a good opportunity to fish dries if you can catch a hatch, which are sporadic but dense. Additionally you should also start throwing some Isonychia nymphs like a #14 zug bug. The Iso hatch is probably my favorite hatch in VT. We start to see them on the bigger rivers toward the middle of August. The nymphs are unique in that they are great swimmers and crawl out of the water onto rocks much like a stonefly to emerge and hatch. I dead drift the nymph to get it toward the bottom and then let it swing. After the swing hold it in the water downstream from you for a few seconds or more, and then strip it back to you. This is an easy nymph to fish as just about any presentation will get a look, that is until the fish key in on the dries. I have found this to be one of the few hatches in VT where fish will favor dries over nymphs. A standard parachute adams, or irresistible in size #14 will work well. They duns are grayish.
Bottom line is we have a lot going for us going into late summer and a lot to look forward to. I am booked through monday and have some availability either very early in the AM or evenings next week.
Ben Wilcox Owner/Guide Maple Country Anglers