Water Clarity: High and Dirty, should clear up Mid Week as Temps drop and slow snow melt

Water Temperatures:  30’s

Hatches:

Suggested Patterns: White Wooly Buggers, Zonkers, Montana Mouth Wash, Sculpin Patterns, Black Stone Flies, Black Montana Prince, Red Copper Johns, Pheasant Tails, San Juan Worms, Eggs

Spring has definitely been in the air over the past week and it looks like it may be here to stay. The ice fishing season looks like it may be ending here pretty quickly. There’s still ice around but depending on what happens over the next week or so we may be doing more open water fishing than ice fishing. As far as the rivers go, the Winooski came up quite a bit last night and the trophy stretch through Waterbury is now ice free but is a bit too high to fish. Once things cool back down after the weekend it should slow the snow melt and the level of the Winooski should drop back down to a fishable level. Water temps are super cold right now and the fishing is tough but if you put your time in on the sections of rivers that are open you should be able to find a fish. Make sure if you’re getting out right now that you’re fishing areas that are open to fish. Even if your a fly fishermen that’s letting every fish go that doesn’t mean you can fish where ever you want! I’ve had quite a few people come in this year who were unaware of the regs and had been or were planning on fishing waters that weren’t open to fish. Be sure to check the Regs!!! The Winooski is open year round to fishing with artificial flies and lures from the Route 2 bridge on the east side of Waterbury downstream to lake Champlain. But, from the last dam downstream to Champlain or what’s considered the Salmon Hole downstream does close mid March for walleye to spawn.

If you’re going to be hitting the river in the next week or so the first thing you want to consider is that the water is cold. The fish are not going to be super active so you’re going to have to get your fly deep and get it right in front of the fish most of the time. Work the deeper pools and runs hard, be thorough in your fishing and throw a combo of streamers and nymphs. White is often a good color for early in the season but black and olive definitely produce when it comes to streamers. As far as nymphs go, black stoneflies would be a good fly to fish as well as copper johns, pheasant tails and San Juans and Eggs. Fish two or three nymphs at a time and be sure to cover both ends of fly patterns. Run a natural looking stonefly and then either a red copper john or a san juan worm. Often fish will key in on one pattern over the other and having two different flies in the water at once will help make it easier to identify what the fish are going for. If you’re fishing streamers fish heavier patterns with a sink tip leader or sink tip line. You want that to be deep! When nymphing I would use some sort of indicator with a split shot or two to help get the flies in the zone a bit quicker.

We should start to see some Steelhead showing up in some of the Champlain tribs over the next few weeks if this weather continues. The Steelhead fishing over in NY on the SR has been pretty good lately. Guys are getting into fish most days and they’re seeing some fresh fish too. Hopefully the spring over there will be good this year. They’ve gotten a ton of snow this year so there shouldn’t be a lack of water! Good luck to the anglers getting out on the soft water over the next week, we’ll try to post once a week or so between now and the opening day of trout season. Our spring hours are now in effect as well. 9-6 Monday through Saturday and 10-5 on Sunday!

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River Water Temp Water Clarity Last Update  USGS Fl
Winooski  Dirty 2/24/17  1590CFS @ Montpelier
Lewis Gauge has ICE
Lamoille  Dirty 2/24/17 1530CFS @ Johnson