First off, I will start by re-capping what I saw over the weekend at the White River Open. I had the opportunity to fish the Tourney with my wife and it was a great day and a half where we met a bunch of new friends and fished some new water. One of my favorite part of doing these tournaments are getting to know new people who love to fly fish as much as myself. We shared a few beers and swapped a lot of fishing and hunting stories with some great people the night before the tournament. I would like to thank Matt Stedina for putting a couple strangers up in his home and for giving us some tips for the days tournament as he knows the White like the back of his hand and its not a river I know particularly well.
We began fishing at 5:30 on the main stem of the White and were greeted with low, gin clear water. We had never fished this area but we immediately got into fish on foam dries and nymphs. We were using foam dries and two droppers made up of a heavy double bead stonefly and soft hackle pheasant tails. I like to use the foam dry as an indicator and because it will take fish drifted and stripped back to you at the end of the drift. I think that Thingamabobbers tend to spook fish when swung and stripped back. The fish were feeding aggressively in the middle of the water column until around 9:30 or so. The sun soon poked out and the fish were hanging closer to the bottom for the rest of the day. I started using my 10' Orvis recon 4 WT and tight line nymphed up a bunch of fish on the same nymphs. Later in the day caddis larvae in green began producing some fish as well.
In the end Marie landed 5 score-able fish and a few wild bows too small to score and she lost another 6 or so fish. She ended up 1 fish shy of the amateur class winner. If only we could have landed her a couple more!! I ended up with 23 score-able trout a few too small to score, and probably lost around 15 or 20. At the end of the day I ended up Pro Division Tournament Champion.
Since then thing have changed dramatically. We desperately needed rain and cool weather as rivers were very low and temps were getting into the 70's. The reality is this is exactly what we needed, though a little less rain would have been nice. It has screwed up the beginning of the week, but in the long run is great. We received some huge thunderstorms Saturday night and a lot of rain Sunday, and today. Water levels have come up to minor flood stage on the Winooski and some fields have flooded. The River has crested in Montpelier as have the tribs, though in Essex it is still on the rise. The Lamoille has not been hit with as much rain around 2"+ and is faring better, though still is running very high and dirty. It has leveled off in Johnson and should begin dropping soon. I expect the lamoille to be somewhat fishable by Thursday and the Winooski to be a few days behind that. There should be some small streams fishable by tomorrow and hopefully some midsized rivers on Wednesday. I have trips Wednesday, Thursday, two Friday, and Saturday morning. We will likely have to change the game plan for at least Wednesday's float trip, but I expect fishing to be great by Friday.
This is a great few days to get on some still water. I was able to get out for a couple hours Sunday night with and friend and we landed the bass and Pike pictured above. As for rivers the remainder of the week, I would recommend throwing streamers in any stained and high water and nymphing with larger, heavily weighted nymphs. Golden Stoneflies have began hatching and that should be your number one pattern this week.
Saturday I saw Golden Stones, little green stones, yellow sallies, tan caddis, March browns, and sulphurs. Saturday I observed a March Brown hatching out of its nymph exoskeleton on a stream side rock in the same way a stonefly does.