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Water Clarity: Clear

Water Temperatures: 40s-50s

Hatches: Black Stonesflies, Caddis, Eggs

Suggested Patterns:  Kaufman Stones #8-12, Montana Prince #12-16, Girdle Bugs #6-10, Red Copper Johns #14-16, Egg Patterns, Sucker Spawn, San Juan Worms, Montana Mouthwash, Olive and White Wooly Buggers, Bunny Muddler-White, Complex Twist Buggers, Zonkers, Mongrel Meat-White, Headbanger Sculpin-Olive

It’s finally here!! There’s something about opening day of trout season that never gets old!! This is going to be quite an interesting opening day!! The conditions are pretty darn good. Not sure what that’ll mean for June given how low everything already is but that’s a worry for another day.

Water temps and levels on the bigger rivers are pretty good, Spencer temped the Lamoille yesterday afternoon in Johnson at 51 degrees! Clarity was good and the water level is very manageable. The Winooski temped at 48 in Waterbury yesterday morning. Clarity was great and the level down there was pretty good as well. Most of the larger tribs of the Winooski and Lamoille are in similar shape. Relatively good clarity and very reasonable levels. The only spots that may be tough to fish are the smaller mountain streams that still have snow up high as there will be lots of snow melting tomorrow with the warm temps.

There are steelhead in some of the Champlain tribs right now although the water levels are starting to get a little low for them, haven’t talked to anyone that’s seen fish trying to jump the falls on the Willoughby yet but I’d imagine if they’re not yet, they will be real soon. The conditions will be good up there tomorrow, the water might be on the clearer side so don’t be afraid to fish early as it seems often the steelhead bite well in low water early but by 9am when the suns above the trees they’ll turn off. Fishing smaller, more traditional trout nymphs wouldn’t be a horrible idea either, smaller pheasant tails, hare’s ears and caddis larva all work really well on steelhead, especially when everyone around you is fishing a spawn sack or an egg pattern. Lighter fluoro tippet will also be helpful for the steelhead in the NEK.

For everyone getting out to focus on trout tomorrow, the mid sized tribs will probably be where it’s at. Although, swinging streamers on the Winooski or Lamoille in a section you know holds big fish wouldn’t be a bad idea either… It surely wouldn’t be a numbers game but you could stumble into something big. On the mid sized stuff it’d be a good idea to bring both a nymphing rod and a streamer rod. If the waters super clear scale back on the streamer size. In stained or cloudy water you can still definitely throw the bigger flies. When the early season conditions warrant it, we like to nymph through a pool first, then walk back to the top of the pool and re fish it with a streamer. If the water temp is below 50 it’s important to slow your retrieve considerably. Be much more thorough and really make sure your flies getting down deep. If temps are over 50, often the fish will be a bit more aggressive. We like to make a few casts and retrieve the fly relatively quick to start, if there’s a super aggressive fish in the pool they’ll chase a fly down without any hesitation. If that doesn’t drum up any action we’ll allow our streamers to sink more and work them much more thoroughly. Some days you’ll be able to see a pattern pretty quickly as to how the fish are eating. Other days one could be super aggressive and the fish in the next pool up will be sluggish. If you’re throwing streamers make sure to use heavier tippet. I’d leave the 3x in the pack and bust out some 12-15lb fluoro or Maxima as the streamer eaters will not be fussy and it’s nice to be able to count on your tippet not breaking.

Good luck to everyone getting out this weekend!! Be safe and save a few fish for everyone else!!

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, Buff, Lamson Waterworks, Sage, Rio, Scientific Angler and more!

River: Winooski

Water Temp: 46am
Water Clarity: Clear-a touch green
Last Update: 4/9/21
USGS FI: 612

River: Dog
Water Temp: 47
Water Clarity: Clear
Last Update: 4/9/21
USGS FI: 135

River: Lamoille
Water Temp: 51
Water Clarity: Clear-a touch green
Last Update: 4/9/20
USGS FI: 583