A mere five miles from Manchester, this freestone, spring-fed river, like the Battenkill, begins, near Dorset in Vermont’s Green Mountains. A tributary of Lake Champlain, the 28-mile long Mettawee is among Vermont’s most highly regarded trout streams, boasting 500 fish per mile. The landscape along the 16-mile stretch of river that runs through Vermont, is dotted with rolling hills and charming farm houses, providing a postcard view of New England.
To access the upper part of the stream follow Lower Hollow Road out of Dorset. At its headwaters, you can expect to find native brook and rainbow trout. Following state highway #30 offers river access as do its several bridges. The mid-section of the river is made up largely of long rifles and pools. Pocket water here is scarce and the currents are mild. Continuing down, the landscape changes from farm to forest. In the lower section of the river you will find both browns and rainbows, some of which were stocked by the state in prior years.
The best time to fish is late May and June. The summer months can be difficult so if you fish at this time, most guides recommend moving into some of the Mettawee’s many tributaries where the water is likely to be cooler. By the middle of September the weather begins to cool down and its possible to return to the main course of the river. Motivated by the impetus to spawn, the fish tend to be hungrier and less particular, making them easier to catch. Given the narrow width of the river, at some points a mere 20 feet across, it is easily waded and can be fished with relatively short rods.
Before booking a trip on the Mettawee, inquire about variations in seasonal water temperatures and remember that you must return all fish between 10-14 inches.