What a weekend on the water. We had partly sunny skies and temps in the mid to upper 70's Water levels on all but the largest rivers was great as was clarity. The small and mid sized rivers were clear, though not gin clear. I focused most of my time the past week on Steelhead as we only get to fish for them for a short period and they are larger than your average trout. My wife and I did get out mid day Saturday on a trout stream and mostly picked up trash since it was green up day.
The steelhead fishing was good all week and I caught one of my personal best VT steelhead on saturday morning. It is one of a few pictured on the right. I found great success tight line nymphing. It is an awesome feeling setting the hook on a 20+" fish on a short, tight line and immediately having your drag scream. Flies that consistently produced for me were brown, green, and grey stones and Pheasant Tails with an orange bead. Fish were spread throughout the river as were stockies which were around 7". The water was rapidly dropping all week, and combined with the warm temps got the rivers into the 50's. I believe the steelhead began dropping rapidly back into the lake as a result. I do believe the Champlain Steelhead season is about over, but there are some to be had up in the NEK.
Both Saturday and Sunday I saw a fair amount of brown stones hatching around 1PM for not much more than an hour or two. There was also a good midge hatch mid morning on saturday. The huge variety of Mayflies will be showing up soon.
Sunday I guided Kevin and Keith, a father and son from NJ on their first ever day of fly fishing. After a fair amount of casting instruction on the grass we moved to the river. It took Keith only 20 minutes to land his first ever fish on a fly rod. A pretty 13" wild brown trout pictured to the right. Both ended up landing around 5 fish each.
The weather looks great all week and the trout should really be happy with the temps in the 50's. The Lamoille is at a very fishable level though I have not been up there and the Winooski coming around now. When the Little River is at high flow, around 650 CFS, it really affects the Winooski below it and can make a decent fishing flow a marginal one this time of year.
Hope you have a chance to get out on the water this week.
Ben Wilcox Owner/Guide Maple Country Anglers