Water Clarity: Muddy-Clear
Water Temperatures: 35-42
Hatches: Winter Stones, Midge
Suggested Patterns: Girdle Bugs (Jig #8-12) Squrimy Worms, Egg Patterns, Kaufman Stoneflies, Montana Prince Nymphs-Black (#12-16) Zebra Midges (#18-20) Zonkers, Wooly Buggers, Sculpins, Sex Dungeons, Muddlers.
“Opening Weekend” is finally here! Although that has far less significance for most of those reading this since we can fly fish year-round (catch and release) on just about every stream in Vermont! The conditions should be pretty good for the weekend. With the rain we got earlier this week, along with snow melt some of the streams are running a bit higher than we’d like but it’s that time of the year. The 7 day forecast is looking pretty sweet right now, warmer weather and not much precip which should allow just about everything to be fishable by early to mid this coming week. Rivers like the Winooski and Lamoille may still be a bit on the high side with snow melt but most of the other streams will be in good shape. We’ve spent some time on the rivers with some success this week. Not a lot of fish but a few nice ones. Jake got a nice 20″ wild brown the other day while nymphing with a girdle bug. The afternoon prior I got a 17″ish wild brown while nymphing with a stoneflyish looking fly that I tie.
For those getting out this weekend you’ve got a few options. Some of the Mid Sized tribs will be in good shape, the mid sized tribs would be a great spot to start. The dog is at a great spring flow, and that’s one of the few rivers in the state that was not open to year-round fishing. Higher, clear, cold water on the dog will often get some of those bigger “ghost-like” browns that seem to vanish to be out and exposed during the course of the day. We’ve gotten some really nice fish out of the river in the tailouts of the big deep pools on nymphs. Not often can you sight fish to 18 plus in wild browns in VT. The Gihon and the Northbranch and the Huntington would be other good options with similar conditions and good chances at seeing some big fish. Alternatively, a lot of the tribs off Champlain are seeing pretty good numbers of lake run fish, the Lewis may be a bit dirty for tomorrow but will likely be in pretty good shape by Sunday PM. Some of the rivers up north should have a handful of fish showing up as well, haven’t heard any great reports from those rivers yet but there will be some fish around. The smaller mountain streams will be in pretty good shape as well, some of them will be running high with snow melt but if you hit them mid morning before the snow melt picks up you’ll be in good shape. Be prepared to nymph and/or streamer fish. As mentioned many times before, this time of the year is a good time to have a couple of rods with you. If the water is super clear we opt to run nymphs but there will likely be some color in the rivers this weekend so a mid sized white or olive streamer could be the ticket. Having a nymph rod and a streamer rod ready to go is the best option. Nymph the pool first, then go back through with a streamer. Some streams and even some pools will have fish that respond differently to each set up, so being able to quickly present both kinds of flies will definitely help out. When nymphing, either an indicator or euro set up will work-deciding how to rig up will likely be dictated by the kind of water you’re fishing. If you’re fishing big, deep pools, often an indicator setup will allow you to cover water and carry drifts through water you may not be able to fish by euro nymphing. If you’re fishing smaller pools on a smaller stream, or in an area where you can wade and get closer to the “zone” opt to go with a euro set up. With streamers, plan on running a sink-tip leader or sink tip line, a short, heavy leader and some sort of baitfish/leech/crayfish looking fly. When the waters on the colder side we usually downsize a little and fish more flies in the 2″-4″ size instead of the big articulated flies. If the waters muddy we usually run black flies, if it’s just a touch off colored white or olive and if it’s clear usually olive or another less intrusive, more natural looking color/pattern.
Good luck to everyone getting out on the water this weekend!! Enjoy the sunshine. We will be closed for Easter so make sure you get what you need tomorrow! 10-6pm
The Fly Rod Shop is Northern Vermont’s finest fly fishing guide service and fly fishing gear retailer. Visit our shop on Route 100 in Stowe, VT or shop our online store to find gear from Simms Fishing Products, Redington, Loon Products, Montana Fly Company, Lamson Waterworks, Winston, Sage, Rio, Scientific Angler, Thomas and Thomas and more!