Man it has been a weird May for fly fishing. Every time it appears that the weather will improve it gets cold and wet again. Certainly a slow start to the Vermont fishing season this year with the funky spring weather. Oh well, I am still on the water guiding and mixing it up between my boat and river fishing. Our rivers have been on a roller coaster. The water comes up and down significantly on a weekly basis. Water temperatures have been all over the board. I have water temps. between 48 to 59 degrees on tributary streams. I have been unable to fish the Lamoille or Winooski due to high dirty water. I think it is important that the water temps. rise into the mid to high fifties and hold there for a bit. Consistent flows and water temps. would make a world of difference in the river fishing for trout.
I have been spending a bit of time guiding up north on the river of big fish. The salmon fishing has been okay. We are working hard for fish. Lots of casting has yielded a few decent salmon, but nothing over the top gigantic. With the big river flows landing a large salmon would not be easy. Swinging streamers has been the most productive method. A #6 Black “Lil” Kim streamer has worked. Focusing on tail outs of pools that have good rock cover and big side eddies seem to hold a percentage of the salmon. They like resting areas as they move up stream.
Guided my first smallmouth of the year the other day. The bass are beginning their annual spawning migration. They are good fun on a fly, but just not a salmon! Hatching activity has been limited. I have seen a few days of #14-#16 Hendricksons but not any fish responding to the bugs, Decent numbers of #14 dark bodied caddis and #14-#16 apple caddis hatching on sunny mornings with egg laying activity at dusk.
Still I have not seen a rising fish yet on a Vermont trout stream. All nymphing with #14-#16 pheasant tail nymphs and a #12 red thread tungsten Prince nymph. A #14 double tungsten black stone fly has worked well also.
Lake fishing has not been fast and furious. I have been running my boat for pike on the fly. Water temperatures in the still waters I guide are between 54- to 60 degrees. Seems like it has been windy as well lake fly fishing.
I have not seen many smallmouth or large mouth in shallow water. The pre spawn period can be very good bass fishing as they beef up in preparation for spawning. That bite should only improve on a daily basis. We have been making lots of casts to draw the interest of a handful of pike. We did see a huge female northern on Sunday in less than 5′ of water. Never got her to eat. I have been trying lots of different fly patterns. Dark colored bunny buggers tied on 1/0 to 3/0 hooks have drawn the most consistent action. I think with the water being a little cooler and higher thus far, moving the fly more slowly with long strips is a good idea. Also a sinking tip or line is nice for holding the fly down in the strike zone longer.
The best is yet to come and I think June will be the month. I am trout fishing for the rest of the week. Hopefully we do not get too much rain today and tonight. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.
Have Fun, Willy