Are you thinking about picking up fly fishing, or has it just been a few years since your last cast? Either way, the FREE casting clinics offered here at The Fly Rod Shop will prepare you to get out on the river this fishing season. The class will start off inside the shop where you will learn about the different equipment, the flies, and the basic anatomy of a stream. Before long we will step outside onto The Fly Rod Shop pond and learn both the false cast, and the roll cast. As you are learning the needed techniques our experienced staff will be walking around the pond to help you learn to make the perfect cast.
The class will also cover things such as shooting line, and how to still make great casts in tight spaces and even when there is wind. All gear is provided by The Fly Rod Shop or you are welcome to bring your own if you have it. The pond only fits about 10 people so call now to reserve your spot!
May to October 13th, 2012*
4:00pm – 5:30pm
9:00am – 10:30am
*The last free casting clinic is on Saturday, October 13, 2012.
Can’t make it to one of our free casting clinics? Try our 2 Hour Private Casting Clinic, available all season round by appointment only.
If you are looking for a fun fishing excursion for the whole family then you will love our Family Gone Fishing Program. On this 3.5 hour group fishing adventure our experienced guides will take you to our “Secret Fishin’ Hole” using The Fly Rod Shop transport van. Once we are at the secret spot it is a small walk along the river to get to our fishing location. On the walk out there is a good chance of seeing White-tailed Deer, Moose, and even the local Bald Eagle!
Before the fishing begins the guide will spend time going over the basics of spin fishing such as parts of the hook and rod, the equipment and bait being used, and how to stay safe while fishing. Then each person will be given their own rod provided by The Fly Rod Shop and everyone will spread out along the riverbank and start fishing! The fish that could be caught include: Smallmouth Bass, Yellow Perch, Pumpkinseeds, Brown Bullhead and Rainbow Trout. Our guides will be there with you every step of the way to teach you what exactly needs to be done in order to catch fish. Space is limited; advance registration required, so call now to reserve your spot!
Jun. 14th – Labor Day
Monday, Thursday & Saturdays
2:30pm – 6pm
Tuesday, Wednesday & Fridays
9:30am – 1pm & 2:30pm – 6pm
Sept. 4th – Oct. 14th
Monday, Wednesday & Fridays
1:30pm – 5pm
$40.00* / Person**
*Vermont fishing license available but not included in the price. Guide/Instructor gratuity not included in price.
** An adult must accompany children under 14 years of age.
Mount Norris Boy Scout Camp
One of the programs we conducted out of The Fly Rod Shop this summer was the Fishing and Fly Fishing Merit Badge classes at the Mount Norris Scout Reservation in Eden, Vermont. This was the first year The Fly Rod Shop taught these Merit Badge Programs and the first time in recent years these Merit Badges had been offered at the Mount Norris Reservation. We ran this program for 4 weeks this summer, and had a total of 34 participants, 17 for each program.
The basic Fishing Merit Badge class was conducted on Mondays for those 4 weeks this summer. Some of the requirements that were necessary to receive the badge were; knowing the equipment and how to set it up, tying certain knots, knowing different fish species and regulations, fisherman safety and several others. After spending the morning raising their fishing IQ, we also got to spend some time out on the lawn doing some practice casting for distance and accuracy. Then, before we hit the water to fish and put our new skills and knowledge to the test we stopped by the small stream near the reservation to check out the aquatic life. On the small stream we collected some bug samples, talked about a fishes diet, when and where they like to eat, and where the fish can be found in a river. Once we got to the lake to fish the kids set up their own rods, baited their hooks, and even caught fish!
The Fly Fishing Merit Badge class was taught on Tuesdays this summer, many students who participated in the Fishing Merit Badge also earned their Fly Fishing Merit Badge. This program had a similar outline to the Fishing Merit Badge, with a few differences. The kids were still required to learn about all the equipment, fish identification, fishing laws, and fisherman safety. In addition to these the kids also had to tie several more knots, including the clinch, surgeons, perfection loop, arbor, and nail knot. We also spent time discussing the different types of flies such as streamers, nymphs, dries, terrestrials, and poppers. In addition to learning about these flies the kids even got to tie their own Wooly Buggers! After learning about all the equipment and how it differs from that used for spin fishing, we spent time practicing both the roll cast and false cast in a nearby field. Just like the Fishing Merit Badge class, at the end we spent time studying a small stream and then hit the lake where we still caught fish on the fly!
This was the first year we taught the Merit Badge programs at the Mount Norris Scout Reservation, however we teach a similar Junior Fishing Program here at the shop every week throughout the summer. If you have kids or know some that attends the Mount Norris Scout Reservation in the summer make sure to tell them about the Fishing and Fly Fishing Merit Badge programs, or if you know kids that want to learn more about fishing call the shop to sign them up for our Junior Fishing Program!
The following sponsors helped to make the Boy Scouts possible for this summer:
Hunters Anglers and Trappers Association of Vermont (HATAV)Central Vermont Chapter of Trout UnlimitedLake Champlain International (LCI)
August is a month when trout fishing can become very difficult. If you’re not out at the crack of dawn chances are you’re going to get skunked unless you head up a small mountain stream for wild brook trout. Now is a good time to target Smallmouth bass. These fish are some of the most willing to bite fish around and are some of the best fighting fish around. There is nothing better than hooking up with a 3-pound Smallmouth bass on either a fly rod or spinning rod. These acrobatic fish are sure to put on an aerial show for you, flying out of the water many times trying to spit your hook.
Bass prefer gravel bottoms and water with lots of cover. They will stay around steep drop offs as well waiting for a school of bait fish to swim by. This time of the year they will also be seeking out cooler water so the fish are going to be in deeper water as well, sometimes over forty feet. This time of the year the most productive spots are going to be near steep shale drop offs and shelves. Other good spots include cold water streams, deep water structures such as submerged logs and trees and even underwater gravel bars and humps. One of our most productive spots on a local lake is on a gravel hump that is forty feet deep where the surrounding water is well of 60 feet deep.
For those of you targeting bass with a fly rod, this time of the year can be the most difficult but most productive. The most important thing to do is get in the same column of water as the bass are in. Lots of bass fly fishermen mainly stick to bass fishing on the surface with poppers and other dry flies. This is good for when you are in an area that has cooler water such as the upper part of a reservoir where the water will still be cooler from the inlet. However, this is only good in the early morning and late evening throughout the night. If you’re in a different area where the water is much warmer you will need to go sub-surface. You will need heady weighted flies such as bead head wooly buggers and other flies with weight wrapped up the shank of the hook. On top of this you need at the least a 5 foot sink tip leader. You would be better off with a full-sinking line though. This is the most important part of fly fishing for bass: if you’re not at the right depth for the bass forget it; you may catch some small ones but you won’t get many over 12 inches.
Next is fly selection. Smallmouth bass are not very picky about what types of flies you throw because they are very opportunistic feeders. The most productive flies are flies that imitate leeches and minnows. Bead head olive wooly buggers in size 4 or size 6 work very well, fished with a very slow steady retrieve. Montana Mouthwash Streamers are the most productive bass streamer in this area. It is similar to a wooly bugger but has rubber legs, barred marabou and red eyes. This is also great fished with a slow steady retrieve. Other flies that are good are Zonkers, Clousers and Crayfish.
For those looking to catch bass on spin tackle your best bet this time of the year it to fish soft plastics. Texas rigged Curly Tails and Yamamoto Senkos work very well if they are fished very slowly across a gravel bottom or along a steep shelf or any major difference in the bottom of the lake. Jigs work well too, both deer hair and curly tails bounced along the bottom can be stellar at times.
The most important thing about bass fishing this time of the year is putting your bait, lure or fly in front of the bass. They are very aggressive and will bite just about anything provided it is in the same water column as they are. A lot of the time this will go against many bass fishermen’s first instinct, which is to cast to shore. We always stay the normal distance from shore but instead of casting towards shore we cast away and fish it back into the shallower water until we find the depth that the fish are at.
Vermont Trout Stocking
Every year in the state of Vermont thousands of Rainbow, Brown, and Brook Trout are stocked in the local rivers and streams. These trout are raised in 5 different fish hatcheries located around the state, which now produce about 1 million trout annually. In 1993 the state came up with a management plan to help decide which bodies of water should be stocked in order to rebuild the trout population throughout the state. The two larger rivers around The Fly Rod Shop that are annually stocked are the Winooski River and the Lamoille River.
The section of the Lamoille River that is a short drive from the shop and if often used for our instructional fly fishing tours stretches from Wolcott to Johnson. This past year the Lamoille River in this section was stocked with approximately 5,200 year-old Rainbow trout ranging from about 10.5 inches to 11.2 inches. These fish were not all released in one area, the were spread out over the 4 towns and released in 6 different locations.
The Winooski River is the other large stream close to The Fly Rod Shop that also produces trout and is used for our stream guided trips. The section of the Winooski that we most often fish is between the towns of Waterbury and Duxbury. This year that section of river was stocked with 2,000 2 year-old Rainbow Trout, all about 15 inches in length. In addition to the Rainbow Trout there was also 700 2 year- old Brown Trout stocked this year, all about 18.5 inches in length. This particular section of the Winooski River is considered to be a “Trophy Section” because of the size of the fish that are stocked there every year, which means it’s great for catching big fish!
When the Fish and Wildlife Department stock these fish they use a 3-year cycle of fin clips to mark the trout in certain areas. The Winooski River is one of the bodies of water that follows the clipped fin cycle. In 2010 the left ventral fin was clipped on all trout, in 2011 it was the adipose fin, and in 2012 it was the right ventral fin. The fins on the trout stocked in the Lamoille River are no longer clipped.
Currently about 45% of all the fish in Vermont have been stocked, however the state does still have a healthy population of native Brook Trout in many of its small lakes and streams. Here at The Fly Rod Shop our guides all carry a “Voluntary Fishing Diary” provided by the state of Vermont. In this diary we record the information about all the fish we catch on the Winooski and Lamoille Rivers, such as the location, time of day, fish species, length, and which (if any) fins were clipped. The data that we collect is then sent back to the state at the end of the season and used to help gain insight on the effects of the trout stocking.
June Fly Fishing & Mystery Rainbows
These first couple weeks this June have proved to be really great fly fishing for trout. The Lamoille River has been holding trout in very good numbers; while the catch rate in the Winooski follows in second place, possibly due to the slightly higher flow levels–not fully conducive to fishing with floating line in all sections.
Both nymphing and dry fly action were equally as good. My client’s successes were primarily on nymphs in the dead drift and on the swing. The fly that seemed to work best for us was a simple reddish brown caddis with a tungsten bead head and hot pink tag. The rainbows appear to find trigger colors like hot pink and fluorescent orange more than irresistible. However there were reports of epic evenings where anglers were skittering Elk Hair caddis across the current seams.
The one interesting aspect to all of this was the trout themselves. We were catching a combination of both wild and stockie rainbows. But it is the stockies that hold the fascination in this instance. And in fact I ran across similar fish in the Winooski down stream of the Mad River. They were plump, brightly colored with a deep red strip running into the gill plate, exhibited large dark as night black dots, had no clipped fins and measured around an average of 12 to13.5 inches. The things that gave them away were the more rounded head shape and tiny dots along the leading edges of the pectoral fins. But where did VT F&W get these specimens with Irene’s destruction of the Roxbury hatchery? They’re not the usual Vermont raised rainbow. I’ll try to find out and let you know in the next newsletter.
Fly of the Month: Soft Hackle Bead Thorax Pheasant Tail
Here is one of my favorite flies for the summer months. It performs especially well on the Lamoille and the Upper Connecticut. I’ll use it as a dropper in a tandem rig or as a dead drifting nymph under a yarn indicator or float. After the dead drift, always allow this fly to swing across and up in the current to directly downstream of you. In this method it may appear to be an emerger and thus gets hit just below the surface.
Hook: Mustad 3906B, Tiemco 3761; size: 14-18
Thread: Brown Uni 8/0
Bead: Copper, Regular or Tungsten
Tail: Fibers Center Pheasant Tail
Body: Fibers Center Pheasant Tail
Rib: Copper Wire
Summer is finally here! Kids are finishing up with the school year and the family vacations are starting, and if you are coming to Vermont for your vacation you better leave a day open for fishing! Starting in June our family fishing programs are up and running, and you wouldn’t want to miss out on these great family fishing adventures. We provide all programs with a guide and any necessary fishing gear, all you need to bring is weather appropriate clothing, snacks, water, or anything else you might need for a day outdoors. Pre-registration is required for all programs so call The Fly Rod Shop and book your trip today!
Starting June 10th we will be running our “Family Gone Fishing” program Monday-Saturday so there is plenty of availability to work around your schedule. This program provides a half-day instructional spin fishing tour for $40.00 per person at one of our secret fishing holes. On the river you will be targeting warm-water fish such as Smallmouth Bass, Yellow Perch, Pumpkinseeds, Brown Bullheads and others! We meet here at The Fly Rod Shop and you can join us in our transportation van or follow behind in your own vehicle to our fishing spot. It is about a 5 minute walk along the riverbank from the parking area so you will also get the chance to possibly see some wildlife along the way!
If you are interested in one of our more scenic programs then check out our Kayak Fishing Tours starting on June 25th on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. This 3 hour program is done in cooperation with Umiak Outfitters who provide the kayaks for these trips. Join us for a float down one of our local rivers to see some great scenery and also to chase after Rainbow, Brown, and Brook Trout! This trip is $129.00 per person; a guide and spin fishing gear is all provided. There must be a minimum of 4 people total for this trip to go out and participants must be 14 years of age or older.
Parents, if your kids are showing an interest in fishing but you aren’t sure what to teach them, bring them by The Fly Rod Shop for one of our Junior Fishing Programs. This programs runs every Thursday starting June 21st from 9:00am-12:00pm. This class focuses on teaching the fundamentals of “Having Fun Fishing”. We will teach them the basics of spin fishing such as knot tying, fish identification, parts of the rod & hook, the types of bait & lures, and how to cast! At the end of the class the kids can put their new skills to the test as they are brought out to the stocked pond here at The Fly Rod Shop to try and catch a Rainbow or Brook Trout!
June Fly Fishing & Tactics
Without a doubt June is one of the best times for fly fishing in Vermont. As a norm, river flows and temperatures are optimum, and hatches are more prolific. By the end of this May, dry fly action in the evening picked up in a big way on the Lamoille and to a lesser extent on the Winooski. Caddis flies, yellow sallies and March Brown spinners filled out the late day menu. So now with June well under way, we should be seeing Sulphur fly action, various Caddis species, some March Brown/Gray Foxes and Light Cahills, etc. Also with the ushering in of warmer weather, terrestrials will become an important food source for trout. Anglers often ignore these morsels, which is unfortunate because drifting an ant pattern along grassy banks can pay off big time.
Come this time of the year when I hit the medium size rivers or moderate stretches of the larger ones, I’ll often rig a tandem rig comprised of a dry fly and nymph. Since I’m getting up there in years and my eyesight is not what it use to be, the dry fly/indicator is usually a Wulff style pattern, Stimulator or Hopper with red or yellow wings or with added hi-vis material. Sizes 14 to 8. Below the indicator fly, I like to use pheasant tails, zebra midges, prince nymph or the thorax bead pheasant tail (see below) for the dropper placed about 12 to 18 inches below the dry. Sizes 20 to 14. Generally I fish the rig with a directly upstream presentation or angled to the quarter upstream and drift in a classical dry fly method. I’d say the nymph gets hit more often than not, except when I’m drifting along banks and under trees, where the dry appears to be the morsel of choice. Now if any of you are interested in learning about tandem rigs of all stripes, you can increase your skills and knowledge at one of our special seminars or with an on-river instructional half day trip specific to using tandem set-ups. Hope to see you on the water.
Learn more about our Fly Fishing Instructional Tours on our website.
Alexander Float NymphingAlexander Float Nymphing
Want to catch more and bigger fish? Then enroll in our first event of the season. Learn the basics of nymphing as well as advanced techniques. You’ll learn how to rig and drift the most effective way to nymph, by using various indicator and float systems. View this video to see Alexander landing a rainbow using one of these great techniques.
Raven Float System
Originally for steelheading with centerpin reels and rods. But over the last few seasons we have successfully adopted the system for use with a standard fly rod and floating line setup. It has been “killer” on the Salmon River and now here in Vermont. Clients who have used these and the shotting patterns are hooked! For all around fishing in Vermont we recommend the 1.0 g to 3.8g sizes.
Two Days of Spey Casting & Tactics W/ Michael Mauri
Date: Saturday, July 6th-7th
Time: 7:30am to 3:00pm
Location: Fly Rod Shop, Stowe, VT
Instructor: Michael Mauri
Seminar Size: 10
Cost: $200 per day or $350 for both days
Evolving from its roots in the British Isles, spey casting has caught on in a big way in the US: from sea run steelheading in the North West to urban shad fishing in the Potomac. Joining us is international guide and spey casting guru Michael Mauri. Michael will be teaching both single hand and double hand spey techniques like the spey cast, switch cast and double spey, etc. Incorporated in his teaching is his easy to learn style of natural movement casting, which he has developed over his career: Effective Fly Casting Technique, (EFCT).
Date: Saturday, July 13th
Time: 6:30am to 10:30am
Location: The Fly Rod Shop, Stowe, VT
Instructor: Josh Adams
Seminar Size: 10
Dry fly fishing: always fun and often frustrating. How many times have you drifted fly after different fly to rising trout and never got a take? In this 4 hour instructional for all levels, Lead Guide Josh Adams will give you the fundamentals and much more, to increase your dry fly proficiency. In the classroom and on the river, you will experience instruction on the forms of aquatic insect emergence, adult life span and how to imitate and fish them; utilizing the many types of dry fly patterns ranging from the classic Catskill fly to CDC’s. He’ll also cover the nuances of drag free drift, effective mending techniques, the dynamics of feeding lanes and tandem rigs.
Seminar: Nymphing 101 w/Bob Shannon & Josh Adams
Date: Saturday, August 3rd
Time: 6:30am to 10:30am
Location: Fly Rod Shop, Stowe, VT
Instructors: Bob Shannon, Josh Adams
Seminar Size: 10
The most effective way to consistently catch trout is . Over the years, new and innovative techniques, tactics and flies have been created and improved upon to bring subsurface fly fishing into the realms of both art and science. Master instructor Bob Shannon and Josh Adams of the Fly Rod Shop will be conducting an intensive 4 hour program introducing and demonstrating many of these innovations, as well as the traditional and classic methods. In the classroom and on the river, participants will become acquainted with the use of strike indicators, the various types of split shot configurations, the use of tandem fly rigs and leader formulas. Students will gain a greater understanding of these techniques in the on-river portion of the day, where they will learn how to read and search the water while putting into practice effective drifting tactics. And a great bonus will be the opportunity to take part in learning Czech/European nymphing and Bob’s adaptation of the Raven float system to use with a floating line in trout and steelhead fishing. This has developed into THE system for increasing your catch rate!
Event: Atlantic Salmon fishing on the Sand Hill River in Labrador
Date: June 24th-July 2nd 2013, July 29th-August 5th
Location: Sandhill River in Labrador Canada
Sea run Atlantic Salmon fishing adventure of a lifetime. You’ll be flying in to the remote location on the Sand Hill River in southeastern Labrador. And there, you’ll not only be drifting Blue Charms on a riffle hitch to salmon, but there’s also the native Brook Trout to consider. In addition, you will have the opportunity to travel up-river to the Lodge’s wilderness cabin below Ricketts Pool on the NW Branch of the Sand Hill River. This is the ideal place where you can hook into hard fighting Sea Trout, coming in at four to seven pounds.
The beauty of this trip is its flexibility due, in part, to the great location of the lodge and the numerous fishing options in the area. Basically, the meal times are set but the fishing is up to you. There is an 8 rod maximum for this trip and there will be a guide for every 2. A typical day could include:
If you are and early riser, you might fish before breakfast in one of the best late season pools- which happens to be right in front of the lodge
Meet for breakfast at 7.30am
Get on the river for a morning of fishing
Meet at the lodge for a Noon lunch (or choose to stay out on the river by arranging for a packed lunch)
Fish the afternoon
Meet back at the lodge for dinner
Obviously the target species is Atlantic Salmon but keep in mind that there are plenty of Brook Trout ranging from 1.5 to 5 pounds in the area. You may even choose to stay one night at an outpost (which is on another local river) and fish for these beefy sea-run slabs~
This trip runs from Monday, June 24th 2013 through Monday, July 2nd 2013. Stay tuned or call the shop for more information on specicfic dates.
Our goal, for trips such as this one, is to keep the cost low and to make everything as convenient as possible for our customers. The cost for this trip is $4,500 Checks can be made out to Sand Hill River Lodge and are due here at The Fly Rod Shop by Friday, June 15th.
7 nights of lodging at Sand Hill River Lodge
Meals at Sand Hill Lodge
Float Plane expense to and from Goose Bay
What’s not included:
Transportation to Montreal (Carpool from Stowe, VT available)
**Roundtrip airfare from Montreal to Goose Bay (has been fluctuating between $795 and $1025 USD). Participants are required to make their own flight reservations from Montreal to Goose Bay. We recommend using Provincial Air for a 7am departure time.
Any associated lodging (Outside of Sand Hill such as Montreal and Goose Bay)
Meals outside of Sand Hill Lodge
Guide Gratuities ($300)
Alcohol (must be brought in)
Gear (Waders, Boots, Rod, Reel…)
What to Bring
Anglers on this trip need to provide their own equipment. (Some equipment is available first come first serve through The Fly Rod Shop) Some recommendations are below and a more specific gear list will be provided once your deposit is received.
Rod (9’ 7-9wt)
Plenty of Leader & Tippet
Clothing and accessories for sun, rain and temperatures ranging from 30-90 degrees Fahrenheit.