Well, its pretty ironic that my last report from June was titled keep the rain coming. The rain surely came, and for those of you who are not in VT, we endured some of the worst flooding the state has ever seen a few weeks back. To make matters worse it has rained almost every other day since then, and when it rains it seems to pour.
The condition of many of our rivers are still to be determined but some have certainly taken a hit in the most flooded areas. The big rivers are still running chocolate milk as landslides and massive amounts of sediment that has eroded from the banks is moved downstream. The smaller rivers I have been on have been in good shape but I've not been on the ones that were hit the worst. Many placed just east of the spine of the green mountains such as Barre and Hardwick are really destroyed and I hope that everyone impacted recovers.
Thankfully all of the rivers we have fished or guided on have produced fish and many stocked fish even survived the floods. The wild fish populations in these particular streams do not seem to be affected. Since the rivers are running higher and cooler than typical, the fishing has actually been fairly good when you can find clear water. Dries, nymphs and streamers all are taking trout consistently. With more water and higher flows there hav been times that fish have been holding in places they usually wouldn't have been found. On my last outing almost every wild rainbow was laying out in the sand and small gravel riffles as opposed to the deeper holes and pockets, but on a different river a few days prior they were in the most likely holding lies. Additionally, they have been somewhat picky as to what nymph they eat. I suppose because so much food and debris has been floating by them for almost a month.
The next week hopefully looks drier and cool with highs in the low 70's. The fishing should be good, and for mid July, great. Id stay away from the big rivers, but everything else should be good for a little while anyway.
This years Ditch Pickle Classic also happened last month and for the second time in three years, we were able to take the win. I was fishing with a new partner as my long time partner was in Europe so my fly fishing team USA teammate Matt Stedina filled in. As a team we took first and each took the top two spots individually. The weather conditions couldn't have been better, overcast skies and nearly flat calm water. The big bass were tuned into the surface and if you got the right fly and fished it subtly, the giants would eat on the first few strips. Thankfully Matt and I picked up on the pattern after a couple of hours and caught more bass than we've ever caught on the lake. Many other teams talked of big bass swirling under the flies, but not taking it. Our success was due to slight color preference and very long casts with a subtle presentation. The big fish did not take near the boat, and there could not be any bright colors on the fly. We were able to take home some great Orris rods and reels. Thanks to all the sponsors and organizers of such a fun event.
Ben Wilcox Owner/Guide Maple Country Anglers