Water Clarity: Clear
Water Temperatures: 35-40
Suggested Patterns: Girdle Bugs, Eggs, Kaufman Stone Flies, Copper Johns, Squirmy Worms, San Juans, Wooly Buggers in White or Olive, Hot Head Bugger in Black, Zonkers
Finally feels like winter outside again!! We hope everyone has been able to get out on the water-whether it’s on the ice or standing in a river!! A few of the guides here and a few of our friends have been hitting the water pretty consistently throughout the month with pretty good success. The majority of the fish have still been eating nymphs, a few people caught some fish on some of the small mountain streams on little wooly buggers as well during the last warm up we had. Seems like the most common theme right now has been lots of weight and focusing on the deep spots. There were a few days when it was a lot warmer when the fish seemed a more willing to chase flies but for the most part it’s been all about the dead drift.
With the cooler temps we’ll be having over the next week some of the smaller streams and slower sections of the big rivers may start to freezer up. Focus on water below dams or pools below faster riffles/runs that will have current. Those will be spots where you’ll be able to effectively fish and not have to worry about shelf ice. Focus your efforts mid day into the afternoon while the water may be a degree or two warmer from some sunshine (hopefully). Eggs and worms have gotten a handful of fish over the last few weeks along with jig girdle bugs, black montana prince nymphs and small, heavy streamers. We just got in a handful of new flies from MFC including some awesome, heavy jig streamers. Great for bouncing along the bottom this time of the year under a bobber or high sticking. As we get closer to spring be on the lookout for big pushes of water-usually related to both snow melt and rain. These will help clear out left over ice but on certain bodies of water it will also get fish moving around. There are some great opportunities on tribs of Lake Champlain to catch migratory fish coming up out of the lake as well as some tribs going into Magog. We always like to see a big push of water then 2-3 days after it starts to drop is when we try to go fish them. Ideally the water is still high and has some color to it.
Good luck to everyone getting out! Regardless of if you’re hitting the ice or a river make sure to be safe and try not to fish alone!! A slip in an icy river this time of the year isn’t something you want to deal with, especially if you’re alone!!
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