This has been a rough stretch of weather the past three weeks. Water levels are at almost historic lows and temps have been way too warm. I am worried, yet excited to see how our trout have faired over this summer. I have been doing a bit of guiding, but if possible I have pushed people back later in the year. I did get up to Northern NH, where there are some cold tailwaters, and found lots of willing fish. I'll be heading there tomorrow as well to fish with my oldest fishing buddy who is up from NYC.
Things will be changing soon around here. First off the weekend looks wet and they are calling for some heavy rain. We need it in the worst way. Temps look to trend cooler next week and will continue to slide backwards with longer nights we are getting into.
For the time being, high mountain brook trout streams, and cold tailwaters are our only trout options. Once things cool off and the rain moves through we should see a lot more open up and increased flows to make the fish happy. Best bets are going to be AM after the rivers have had all night to cool. If we get a real cool down, it usually offers some fantastic fishing on the big rivers with dries and nymphs. The ISO's have been spotted and the trout key in on these large grey mayflies on the surface more than any hatch in the area. This is by far my favorite hatch in VT. When water temps are right this is an easy hatch to fish. The nymphs, which swim very well, will swim to the edge of the rivers and emerge on rocks similar to stoneflies. This means that you don't need to present the fly with an incredible dead drift to hook fish subsurface. Basically, just get your fly in the water, and let it swing below you before stripping it in. When fish stop eating your nymphs switch to a parachute adams or irresistible, and fish it the same way. Let it dead drift then swing the fly below you before stripping it back. Also be on the lookout for flying ants and have some patterns ready, as well as hoppers and beetles. I also start having more success as fall moves in with smaller PT and red copper john nymphs in #20 or smaller.
As for bass, it has even been slow for smallmouth. Try nymphing them like trout if you are not having any action on small streamers or top water. Best bet in the immediate future, would be to get on a pond or lake with largemouth at first and last light and target weedy bays. Its pretty damn fun too. Once things cool off the bass fishing for smallmouth will pick up as well. Hang in there!
Ben Wilcox Owner/Guide Maple Country Anglers