Fishing is mixed depending on what you are targeting and when. I wrapped up my maple sugaring season last week and by the beginning of next week will be able to devote more time to being on the water. I was able to get out three times last week for a few hours or less and was able to get into a fish each outing, highlight being a nice brown lost after about 30 seconds.
The trout fishing has remained good for the time of the year with the water temps in the upper 40's last night. I expect this week ahead will be slower as the temps are cool and nights are below freezing, but warming up for the weekend which will help get fish feeding again. I have hooked most of the trout on nymphs including small brown stones, caddis larvae, and soft hackle PT's. Again, I cannot stress the importance of getting your flies down. If you are fishing with an indicator that means adjusting the indicator not just for each stretch of water but for each individual drift. For instance last night on the Winooski I was fishing a large pool below a river wide riffle and after taking about 10 drifts through the same piece extended my cast another 5 feet or so and found my flies were not getting to the bottom as the water was deeper. I brought my indicator up my leader about 18" and on the first drift hooked an 11" wild rainbow. Had I not adjusted the depth I could have taken 100 casts and not hooked a fish. Clearly that indicates the fish have not wanted to move off the bottom nor have I had any really chase down a streamer. This will change as the river temps rise and we see our mayflies start hatching, then you will get away with your flies not being on the bottom.
I have heard reports of Hendrickson's south of us but have not personally seen any. What I have seen most is brown stoneflies. While trout fishing has been above average fort the time of the year, you can expect things to get much better as we get into May.
Steelhead fishing on the champlain tribs has been another story. Right now river levels are low and clear, not what I like for steelhead. There are not many fish in the river and the fishing pressure has been fairly high. I am hoping for a good rain or snow to bump up levels and hopefully push some fish up from the lake. There is still time and the water is plenty cold for them to make a run. I had spoken first hand last week with three reliable and very good fishermen, one of whom lives on the river, and I only know of two adult steelhead caught between them. I had to check it out myself Friday morning and I didn't do any better. I did have non stop action on stocked steelhead and large lake run suckers up to around 22" so it was a good time. The suckers can get a little boring as they don't put up a good fight, but it can be good practice getting them to eat and playing them. It is especially helpful in practicing turning a big fish and learning how much pressure to put on them. I had a bit of fun sight fishing to them in the skinny pocket water and horsing them through the current on 4x and my 10' 4 weight Orvis. The sucker pictured above had two lamprey marks so its pretty clear he lived in Champlain.
Reports second hand are that small mouth fishing on the lakes and ponds has picked up and was fairly good the last few days.
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Ben Wilcox Owner/Guide Maple Country Anglers