Last weekend was the 10th annual Orvis Game Fair at Sandannona in Millbrook, NY. Orvis Sandonona Shooting Grounds is the oldest permitted shooting preserve in the United States. These grounds have a lot of history on them and it is a special treat to visit every year. The last two years have witnessed warm beginnings to the autumn, as you would expect this delay of cool weather and rain adversely impacts the fall Trout fishing season.
This year a group of us grabbed a few campsites at the Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park off of the Taconic State Parkway. The park is over fourteen thousand acres and features two bodies of water, Canopus Lake and Pelton Pond. The location was perfectly situated between the West Branch of the Croton and Dutchess County rivers. Our logic was that we needed to focus on the tail waters of the Croton watershed due to the low level drought.
The West Branch of the Croton below Boyd’s Corner was fishable, however mostly warm water species were hitting and flows were low. Mark had a swing and a miss out of the reservoir by a Brown Trout. The freestone streams of Dutchess County were all the lowest I have seen them over the past five years. They are still fishable for Smallmouth Bass when they are very low. I even managed to find a few Trout in one deep and cool pool.
Jess and I got back over to Vermont for the Stowe Food & Wine Festival this past weekend. We had an amazing time trying local cuisine, wine, and beers from the area. The Stowe Valley is home to Stowe Ski Resort and Smugglers Notch. There is also some solid trout fishing.
I got up one morning to hit up a local river, the Lamoille, before the heat and humidity put the fish down. The Lamoille meanders through the valley like a giant spring creek with long runs and not many pools. I landed a dozen in about an hour. A team of wet flies, a Picket Pinn and a Mini-Muddler, working down stream and a 16 high-vis Adams back upstream did trick. All the fish were rainbows in the 10-14”.
After that it was time for the festival hosted at the Von Trapp Family Lodge. Great cooks and local brew masters provided amazing food and beverage the entire afternoon. To wrap up the day, I took Jess back for an evening session on the Lamoille. Since my 4wt is in the rod shop, we split time on my 6wt landing around another dozen between us; however, I didn’t mind one bit. Jess doesn’t get out fishing with me too much, but she did an amazing job fixing her cast, working the flies, and landing half a dozen fish. I think she will start coming out on the river more often now. It was great to see her light up and yell that she had a fish on. I find it more enjoyable to help someone catch a fish on the fly then catch one myself.
The next day we hiked a remote mountain stream called Stevenson Brook. It is a small tributary of the Waterbury Reservoir. The stream is tucked away in the woods, and has many broken pockets and plunge pools. There were small brookies behind almost every pocket. The real surprise was the decent size rainbow that fought through several pools. We finished the day off with trips to the Fiddlehead and Alchemist breweries on our way back to the Adirondacks. Another great trip to Vermont.
Jess and I got over to southern Vermont in the Green Mountain National Forest for the past two days. We love the area and especially visiting the town of Manchester; the town has a lot of colonial history, quaint shops and restaurants, and beautiful scenery. For the fly-fishing enthusiasts, there is a plethora of attractions. The famous Battenkill River and its picky large browns are in the immediate vicinity. The Orvis Company was founded and is still headquartered in Manchester; its flagship showroom is awesome as well as their trout pond with hordes of 30” rainbows. The American Museum of Fly Fishing is located here too; it has some amazing exhibits. This is truly great place to visit.
I was really excited to fish the Battenkill; however, it has been raining for the past two weeks and the river is at flood stage flowing 4x its normal flow at 3600 cfs. I decided to blue line some tributaries of the Battenkill, and it paid off.
The flow in the tributaries was still high but I found some nice wild trout in a remote setting among the pockets. It was nice to be forced to fish these tributaries because I would have never done it if the Battenkill was at normal levels. The fish were beautiful and small and colorful and wild. I had an amazing time blue lining. Some samples below.