(Fishing right now is on fire! We have had cool damp weather that has kept river temps perfect in the upper 50's to low 60's and enough, but not too much, rain to keep flow high but perfect for floating, though still very wadable. We've also got a lot of new bugs joining the party. Large #12 March Browns, Eastern Sulphers #14-16, Cream Cahills #16, and I found my first Golden Stone shuck on the rocks stream side yesterday (which do really well for me in June). Tan Caddis are everywhere, a few small BWO's and I've seen more lime and yellow sally stoneflies, I am sure there are some bugs I haven't identified as well. I don't spend a lot of time trying to identify each bug, as long as you know what species are hatching, and are familiar with their life cycles, sizes and how to fish them you will be ok.
Swinging your flies at the end of the drift is the name of the game right now as fish are feeding throughout the water column and willing to move to your flies. The fish are also spread out throughout shallow riffles, pockets, pools, runs, and deep slow water. By swinging your flies you can cover much more water and you don't need to get the perfect drift to get an eat. When you do swing your nymphs remember to break your habit of tugging up stream when you feel a take, instead sweep your rod low and to the side. Tugging straight back pulls the fly out of the fishes mouth, while the latter will drive the fly into the corner of the mouth and you will hook many more fish. My client on Friday did a good job of making the adjustment. We netted 16 rainbows out of about 40 eats. Probably 2/3 of the fish were on the swing, and many took right at the surface as he was about to pick up the fly. Nearly every time his muscle memory kicked in and he jerked the rod back we didn't hook the fish, but when he consciously made the sweeping low set to the side we had fish on much more consistently.
I had a cancellation on Saturday and unfortunately didn't fill the spot. I went out for a couple hours on my own to continue scouting a new area I had mentioned in the last post. I hit a stretch of heavy pocket water and my intention was to fish really quickly at the prime spots to learn more water and what fish inhabited the area. Well a bit under 2 hours later I had covered about 100 yards and brought 28 fish to the net, a mix of stocked browns and wild rainbows. To say the fishing was on fire was an understatement. As soon as I had caught a couple I decided to really start picking the area apart, which is what I like to do anyway when I fish. Its fun to try to catch every fish in an area. This spot was loaded with boulders and pockets with a fairly long, deep run down the middle. I found fish everywhere, in fact, less fish were in the prime looking run, then the tailout, edges, bank, and riffle above the pool. I guess if you take anything away from this is that don't just run up to the nice pool and start fishing. Start at the tailout and pick your way through the water to cover it all. You will end up with many more fish at the end of the day.
The fish really wanted a #16 tan fly I tied on a czech nymph hook with a Coyote Mask body, red collar and silver tinsel rib. I tied this to imitate a scud when i was in PA, but it looks generally buggy and the fish could take it as an emerging mayfly nymph or caddis pupa I think.
A word on river etiquette, or what not to do, from an out of state fly angler yesterday. As I was landing a fish yesterday, a guy pulled up along the opposite side of the river on the edge of a very busy highway, got out and watched me for a while. I netted a few more fish and then he disappeared. About 10 minutes later he re appeared with his gear on and walked directly down and began to fish about 10 yards up river from me. There was not another sole on the river. I simply told him that he was not going to make many friends high holeing people but I didn't mind if he kept fishing, though other guys might and I would if I had clients. He was good about it and moved down about 100 yards. Generally, my rule of thumb in VT is if there is a car or person fishing, I will continue driving, or if I'm in the river go out of sight of the other person. With so much water and such little fishing pressure, I rarely see another angler on the water anyway.
I've got some availability this week so give me a shout. This week looks really good weather wise, and fishing should be phenomenal.
Ben Wilcox Owner/Guide Maple Country Anglers