Opening day of Vermont's trout season was definitely one to remember! The weather was fantastic, river flows were low and clear and water temps were 10 degrees above normal. Brown stoneflies size 12-14 were hatching and fish were paying attention. It felt more like June and fished more like early May out there.
I was able to get out on Saturday morning for a bit. Trout fishing rivers on opening day is generally very difficult. Our typical opening day is in the 40's and river flows are high and dirty. Catching a fish is a big bonus and not something you expect. I knew this year would be different considering the weather has been in the 60's and 70's all week and the flows were down. I had high hopes of getting into a few fish and thankfully only 5 casts in I landed a nice looking wild rainbow in a a back eddy of a large pool, I then missed a fish and was broken off on the hook set by a seemingly nice fish. Taking a temp the water was 48 degrees which is crazy warm for opening day. I expected fish in the deep pools but also thought they may be in some faster water given the temps. Moving down the river I then landed a nice sized wild brown deep in a pool under some heavy current, but moving into some pocket water I did not find any fish yet. Next I took a drive further down the river and fished a deep bend pool and run. There I was able to hook another very nice wild brown on the inside bend in slow sandy water, before I called it a morning and spent some long overdue family time. As I was heading out a hatch of brown stoneflies began and I remember thinking someone would catch a fish on a dry fly on opening day, little did I know, at about that same time our guide Andy hooked and lost two fish on the dry fly that he saw rise to eat brown stones, it was a bummer he lost them as he was fishing in the Otter Creek Classic. I would have loved to fish it but I just came off of a long maple sugaring season and hadn't seen my family much. I just wanted to get out, test some new equipment, and hopefully catch a fish or two. Thankfully I was able to accomplish all of the above!
Going forward, if the weather stays warm things should remain pretty good, for April. I am not saying that the fishing will produce big numbers and even consistent action, but it should be much easier to get into fish for the time of year and you may find some windows of good fishing. They key will be the water temps. If they remain warm then expect fish to begin spreading out and munching on nymphs in some faster water but if they cool back off then the deeper slower pools and runs will be the areas to target. We are jumping right into guiding thanks to the weather as well. Many years we don't take any trips until May but we have got a few trips here and there booked throughout the month. There are still some openings this month so feel free to reach out if you'd like to give it a go. April is a great time of the year to catch big trout if you put the time in. Whether with us or on your own get out there and take advantage of the prime early season conditions.
Ben Wilcox Owner/Guide Maple Country Anglers