Heat and hot weather have arrived, and with that means potentially lethal temps for trout, so please take river temps, and if over 69 degrees head to a smaller river. I guided a father and son who were staying at Jay Peak this morning, they were beginners not only to fly fishing, but fishing of any kind. After some casting instruction we hit the Lamoille. Water temps were 67 degrees at 6:15 AM. We missed two fish on the main stem, one on an olive bugger and one on a golden stone nymph. There was not much happening on the river. I saw a few Light Cahill's and a couple small tan caddis and a single yellow sally. After around an hour and a half I took another temp as the air temp was rising rapidly, and found that my digital stream thermometer was broken, giving me readings between 76 and 81. Not being sure if the water was approaching 70 degrees, the temp at which catching and releasing a trout can be fatal to the fish, I decided to move up to the lower stretch of a mid sized trib where the water was definitely cooler. We dropped in and as soon as we started fishing two guys came around the corner fly fishing towards us. They dropped quickly right to our area, and rather than fish with them, we moved on. It was a bit of a tricky situation in term of fishing etiquette, as when we dropped in there were no cars, nor people in sight, but they clearly had fished from somewhere up above and were on the river sooner. With the light amount of fishing pressure on the rivers, I just decided it was better to move on and fish alone. Unfortunately we lost a bit of time, but in our next spot we found the fish much more willing to eat a fly, and in short order hooked 5 rainbows on a golden stone, bringing one to the net before we had to hit the road. There were a ton of Golden Stone shucks on the rocks, something I did not see on the Lamoille.
This evening we have some T-storms coming through the area today, with a bit cooler temps behind the front. The rain should be a good thing to cool the rivers, and unless there is a huge localized downpour, I would expect all rivers to remain at fishable levels, but again, check those temps before fishing.
The still water Hex hatch has been really strong when conditions are right. Thursday through Saturday I was at our families camp up north and the fishing was great on Thursday and Friday night. As you can see in the photo gallery, we landed some big Rainbows and Browns. We hit the water around 7:30 and initially fished Hex nymphs on a sink tip line. Letting the fly sink and slowly stripping it back in produced a few fish before the bugs really started emerging in any numbers, or the fish began eating on top. Around 8:30 the fish were keying in on duns and with so many flies on the water, you could accurately predict which direction the fish were moving. The lower than normal surface temp on the pond also helped, as the fish were staying at the surface. Fish were confidently eating our flies when we could get them within range. My wife landed her largest ever VT Trout right at dark, and it was quite a struggle to get it in the net with no light. Saturday was a different story, as some rain and wind really killed the hatch and there were only a few fish eating emergers and mostly ignoring the duns. We had one break us off and my uncle missed a couple. That is usually how the hex hatch goes, hit or a big miss, but when you hit it right, it's so fun.
I'll be in Oregon and Idaho on a fly fishing road trip with my brother for a week. Hopefully we will get into some good fishing, though they have had a huge heat wave with temps in the 100's. Ill get a report up on my trip when I return.
Good luck on the water!
Ben Wilcox Owner/Guide Maple Country Anglers