Its finally here, and since I havent been out I posted some pics from the last day of 2016 regular trout season. That day was the last day I was on the water, and it was a good one. A big rain storm a day prior had pushed a ton of Landlocks that had been waiting all fall to run, up into the river and it was a special day. We caught a pile of large salmon including one on my very first drift.
Now onto 2017. The very good news is that our drought is over. The bad news is that fishing will be tough this weekend but should help us out as we get into late spring and summer. We have over 100" of snow still on Mount Mansfield, and we were greeted on this opening day with another 4" here at my house. Rivers are running very high, dirty, and cold right now as we also had a ton of rain last week. The 9th annual Otter Creek Classic is happening this weekend, and while I have registered, I dont think ill be able to make it out as my other business of Maple Sugaring is still going for another week or so, I may be able to hit the water first thing tomorrow morning for a couple hours.
By tomorrow some smaller streams will likely be clear. I'd try to find some lower elevation streams that may be a little warmer when the sun comes out tomorrow. Around the Champlain Valley there was no snow, so they may be running a few degrees warmer. Tactics should be fishing deep holding pools and with high water target areas that are out of the swift current like eddies, inside bends, behind structure, and along the bank. These areas do not need to be huge to hold a fish in high water. Fish low and slow with larger stoneflies, worms, and attractor nymphs as well as brighter streamers.
Ill have more to report in the coming weeks as the water recedes and warms and I am able to get out. We should be seeing steelhead now through the beginning of May and with the good flows I anticipate a decent run. I prefer high off colored water when fishing for steelhead and Id say we have that! Good luck out there and wade safe.
Ben Wilcox Owner/Guide Maple Country Anglers