Its "Spring Forward Day" with the clock change this morning. Longer days, stronger sun, and thoughts and plans for the upcoming season are on my mind this morning. Usually at this time I am busy finishing my winter job in the ski industry and madly getting ready to head to Michigan for the spring Steelhead season. This will be the second year I will not be going west and concentrating my guiding on the local waters of southern VT and nearby NY.
What a winter!! Or should I say a "non-winter"!!! Virtually no snow, wide temperature swings, and many days above freezing all culminating in the warmest winter on record for my home state of Vermont!!! As I write this report there is no snow cover and our temps have been averaging 15-20 F above normal Usually when the fishing season opens (early April) ours streams are high and cold from snow melt so our hatches and spring fishing doesn't get going till early May. NOT THIS YEAR, IT WILL BE UNUSUALLY EARLY DUE TO THESE RECENT CLIMATIC CONDITIONS. The local ski areas will close soon and I will have plenty of time to prep, tie flies, and work on my small water targets, walking/scouting and pruning that critical branch to get a good cast in a tight spot.
What is Included:
Drinks & Snacks
Rod & Reel
Waders and Boots
1 - 1 anglers
1 - 2 anglers
1 - 1 anglers
1 - 2 anglers
1 - 3 anglers
1 - 1 anglers
1 - 2 anglers
1 - 3 anglers
Considered one of the finest and most challenging trout fisheries in the country, the 28-mile Vermont, spring-fed stretch starts in the Green Mountains near the East Dorset town of ... moreBennington. From the border of New York, the river continues for another 31 miles in a southerly direction until it reaches Easton, NY and empties into the Hudson River. It is one of several rivers that form the 400+ mile Hudson River drainage basin. It’s also where the smart fish live.
When fishing the Vermont portion of this river, assume the trout have earned PhD’s in evasion techniques and are there to test your mettle. Before 1975, Vermont stocked the Battenkill (NY State still does) but now it’s gone native and all the trout are wild. Since this is a catch and release river, by the time a fish is two or three years old, it’s probably been caught more than once and when it comes to flies, the fish have seen them all. As one observer summed it up, there are lots of sizeable browns in the Battenkill but they didn’t get big by being dumb.
Near Manchester the river is scenic, narrow and characterized by soft bottoms, small pools and a few deep runs and rifles with mostly smaller brook and browns. The river widens as you approach Arlington, where the trout tend to lurk in slow moving pools. By the time you approach the state line the fish are typically 12 -16 inches long and more plentiful, but rarely easier to catch. This freestone river is a terrific choice for experts and for anglers ready to up their game.
Before booking your Battenkill trip there are a few things to keep in mind:
The New York season is year round while Vermont is limited from April - October.
There is good public access but sections of the river are private access only
It’s catch and release
Famous for its dramatic fall foliage, cheddar cheese and maple syrup, anglers should know that Vermont also has great fly fishing. As the second least populated state in the nation, ... morewhat Vermont lacks in people it makes up for in fish. Lurking under many of those quaint, covered bridges are big, beautiful trout – lots of them.
When fishing in Vermont, consider staying in Manchester, an old-style, New England town of 4,400, with all the amenities of a modern, weekend getaway. Alongside the town runs the Battenkill River, still home to the famous tackle manufacturer, CF Orvis Company, first founded in 1856.
A short distance away, are two additional jewels, the Mettawee River, 5 miles away, and the Walloomsac, approximately 15 miles from Manchester. Pick up any guide book and you’ll find everyone agrees these pristine rivers flow through gorgeous scenery – flowered meadows, virgin hemlocks and tall stands of native hardwood trees – the prettiest angling in the East.
For friends and family not inclined to fish, the area has much to offer.
Fine artisanal shops and restaurants as well as commercial outlet-stores
Emerald Lake State Park - year round wild life and outdoor recreation
Golf Club at Equinox, a highly rated course and spa
American Museum of Fly Fishing, rich in history and fishing lore
The Vermont season opens the 2nd Saturday in April and ends late October. Late spring and late fall tend to the most favored times to fish.
The options for traveling to Manchester include:
Fly into the Albany International Airport and drive for about 1 ½ hour.
Fly into the Burlington International Airport and drive for about 2 hours.
We are a month into the season since the trout opener in April. What started out as an early spring following a mild winter, the later part of April and early May were cool and below ... morenormal temps. Spring definately slowed down till just the last few days. Our water conditions have been excellent for this time of year due to the below normal precipitation this spring. Median flows in most streams have been 60 % of normal till just lately. Rain events on 4/24,5,2,and 5/6 have brought water levels up but only unfishable for a day after the rain. All good !
While I have done some trips since the opener I have had some time to fish and scout myself. Also I have been getting caught up on projects at home which once the season gets going I will not have any time to do. I did have a great afternoon in the lower NY Kill 3rd week in April where I was fishing an area that was one of my primary haunts as a kid. Hendricksons and Blue Quils were coming off sporadically and only the rare splashy rise. I decided to first go through swinging a Hendrickson nymph and olive caddis trailer. Several good pulls and a nice hook up with a 16-17 Brown, however he shook off after a minute. This was repeated again further down and this fish I landed, a beautiful 19 inch female. This stetch is far away from stock points and rarely holds stockies. This was true 50 years ago and is the same today. Took a break and just sat waiting for the surface to get more active but the three fish I saw earlier I hooked 2. Decided to make one more pass, this time fishing a streamer. No pulls or hits till I got almost half way down (this is a big pool). I knew immediately that this was a big fish by the Kill standards. A couple of head shakes deep and then off to the races down the pool once into the backing. I was sure glad I ws fishing 1X tippet. Aftr 10-15 minutes he was begining to tire but still a botttom hugger. Finally I got him on top on his side and sliding toward the net, only to have the hook pull within a foot of the net. A beautiful Hooked Jaw male, definately in the 26 "+ range. It was great !!!!
Back to the report. Stream stocking really picked up the last week of April and first week of May. In VT the Wallomsac got its first stocking in the trophy stretch on the 25th April and yearlings on the May 6th. The Black got 500 Rainbows in the Trophy Stretch the first week of May. As othe 10th of May the Kill and Mettawee in NY have been both been stocked. We are pretty much done with Hendricksons and I am just starting to see Cahills and more and more caddis.This evening I was fishing small water near home and around 7:00 p.m there wer tons of spinners mostly from Blue Quills and a few Hendricksons. It was so neat just to observe. I was successful on the only rising fish where this was happening.
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