I got a call from a discouraged local angler last spring, looking to spend an afternoon on the water. It was mid May and Bob had just explained he had fished every single day of the month and had yet to catch a trout. This was the type of trip I jumped on, as it presented an interesting challenge. Could I help turn things around for him before he gives up fly fishing in VT all together?
I met Bob a few afternoon’s later on a mid sized stream that held both wild and stocked fish. It was a gorgeous afternoon and the river looked great, running just a touch off color and a bit on the high side. The water temps were cooler than average for mid May, but the trout had been very willing to eat a nymph the whole week. I knew it would be a good day to get Bob back on track. Dawning waders, and getting to know each other, I Identified what I believed to be his issue before ever seeing him cast a fly. Bob explained he fished Montana once a year and always did well, but when he got back here he just had no confidence that a fish would eat his fly, or if there were even trout in the river to eat his offering. After a short amount of coaching the problem was remarkably clear, Bob was getting bites, his confidence was so low that he talked himself out of setting the hook. At first, even when I told him to set he would half set and not hook or feel the fish.
Standing over my client Rogers left shoulder as he roll cast his dry fly toward a slow undercut bank, I had been happy with his progression throughout the morning. A trio of wild rainbows in the net and a steady progression to consistently accurate and delicate presentations was rewarding for the both of us, but I had sensed a change in the last few minutes. An errant cast, followed by a tangle and a bit of small talk. I knew Roger’s focus was waning and I needed to get him locked back in if we wanted to continue to fool wild fish under increasing bright skies…
Focus, Confidence, and Persistence, terms usually reserved for successful athletes and business persons rather than anglers standing in a river or boat looking to un plug. I will argue however, that you can still unplug while at the same time upping your fishing success by elevating your mental approach. This will be the first in three articles covering each.
We’ve all heard or read something along the lines of “If you are not losing flies, you are not fishing heavy enough”, it’s a common saying fly fishermen have had drilled in our heads. It makes sense, trout spend a lot of time near the bottom of the river. However, when it comes to Euro Nymphing, more times than not, that mind set isn’t going to be your most effective strategy if you want to maximize fish caught and minimize frustration.
Dry Dropper on a Euro Rig
I've been spending a lot of time fishing dry dropper both in VT and on a recent trip to Maine and NH with guide Andy and have not only been very successful, but have continued to learn some valuable tactics so I thought I'd share some tips on dry dropper fishing with a tight line or Euro rig.
What makes one angler consistently more successful than another? Why does that one buddy always seem to catch the most at the end of a day of fishing? Maybe he is good at telling fish tales but probably his technique, knowledge, approach, or decision making on the water are superior. More easily believed, why do the same people finish at the top in competitive fly fishing? I've asked myself and other fishermen much better than me the same questions. I can tell you one thing unequivocally, it’s not luck. I’ve put together 10 tips for upping your trout game. I could write entire articles on each one, and you’ll probably see some of those down the road.
I wanted to take a moment to talk about trophy trout in Northern VT's rivers, and my concern with VT's "trophy" trout program. Here in Northern VT we are lucky to have wild populations of Brook, Brown, and Rainbow trout, with rainbows being most plentiful. Pictured is a Wild Trophy Brown Trout.
I headed down to Central Pennsylvania at the end of April to fish the Team USA regional. I was super excited because I had not touched a fly rod since last October, and Central PA is becoming one of my favorite places to fish. Obviously, I was feeling a bit rusty and knowing most other competitors fish year round, I headed down with Stackmend teammate and fellow Vermonter Matt Stedina very early three days ahead of the comp the get some practice in. The Comp was slated to be on Big Fishing Creek, Spring Creek, KIshaloquoas Creek (probably not spelled correctly) and Little Pine Lake. We had only fished Spring Creek so we wanted to learn these other rivers as well.
I Just got back from a vacation in Wyoming and Idaho with my family. Part of the reason we headed out on our trip to Jackson Hole, was to fish in the Team USA Regional Comp over in Idaho. which was the last three days of my vacation. It was also pretty warm out there with seemingly everywhere around the country seeing above average temps. Water temps were fishable in most places, though warmer than normal out there. I got a little fishing in with the family prior to the comp and the highlight was definitely a nice 17" brown from the green river with my three year old in the backpack. I didn't have my net so there was no pic but it was a good memory.
I competed in the Fly Fishing Team USA Regional Comp over in Lake Placid, NY, a week and a half ago. To say fishing over there was difficult was an understatement. Despite the tough conditions I had a great time fishing with my Stackmend Teammates Jesse Haller and Matt Stedina and we managed a gold medal as a team. Matt took 2nd overall and I managed 6th while Jesse got 12th. We all caught the same amount of fish throughout the comp however. A staggering 3 fish each! The comp venues were the Ausable River, Lake Colby North and South, and a bank session on Whey Pond. Going into this comp ranked 4th in Fly Fishing Team USA standings, I was hoping to continue that momentum, luckily after two bad sessions to start the comp, I was able to stay focused salvage a good result by winning the last two sessions.
I fished in the 2018 Fly Fishing Team USA Northeast Regional Tournament in PA this past weekend. The comp was a little different from most in that it was an all lake comp. We fished both Lake Perez and Canoe Creek Lake. Things went very well for our team taking silver and for me personally with a 3rd place.