Now that spring is rolling around, which it has been for a while it’s time to start thinking about some early opportunities at fishing if you haven’t already been hitting the water. We’re lucky to live in a state with year round fishing and there are some great opportunities at trout and steelhead fishing. One of the most popular early season rivers to fish is the Lewis Creek located in North Ferrisburgh. This is a relatively small stream that flows into Lake Champlain. After heavy Steelhead parr stocking anglers started to catch Steelhead in the spring from the mouth of the Lewis Creek upstream to the falls in North Ferrisburgh. In high water, fish can even make it above the falls which are also open year round. Anglers can target these fish with both fly and spin gear. For the fly anglers nymphing and streamer fishing are the most productive ways at hooking fish. We’ve had more success nymphing but swinging a white wooly bugger can often to the trick as well.
Most of you could guess our favorite way to nymph for these fish… A 2.2 raven float in moderate flows or a 3.8 raven in higher flows always seems to get the job done for us. As far as flies go, Pink San Juan worms, Black Beadhead Kaufman Stoneflies, Egg patterns and Red Copper Johns all seem to get the job done. Some anglers will even fish a trout bead above one of the above patterns to give the fish a couple of different options. In the past, we’ve generally used 4 and 5wts for nymphing but over the past two years the average size of fish have gotten a bit bigger and using a 5-7wt may be more adequate. If streamer fishing it going to be something you’re going to do as well, bring a second rod is a good idea so you don’t have to switch set ups at all since that can be quite time consuming, especially when fishing a raven float set up. When using streamers, a five or seven foot sink-tip leader will help get your fly down a little bit deeper and in front of more fish.
As far as river access goes, you can park along route 7 and you can also go up Old Hollow Road and park at the falls. Either of these accesses will allow you to fish the entire river between the Route 7 bridge and the falls in North Ferrisburgh. Above the Route 7 Bridge you will find yourself in a large meadow with undercut banks, shallow riffles and some deeper holes. When fishing in the spring focus on the deeper slower moving water to find steelhead. You will also find them in some of the deeper turbulent pockets as you get closer to the falls but as you head down stream you will find less turbulent pockets and more slower pools. Later on in April and into the month of May you will also start to run into Smallmouth bass as they migrate up from Lake Champlain to spawn as well. These fish are also a ton of fun to catch and can make for some awesome multi species days on the water!
Pictured is a small Male Lewis Creek Steelhead from a couple years ago.