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.
My dad recently bought some property and built a cabin in the western Adirondacks. I finally got up here to enjoy some quality time with the family. My dad’s property back’s up to a remote stream, so yesterday I decided to give it a go and see if there were any wild trout. We hiked through the property to get to the water. This creek is nice and remote, and the only other way to access this section besides my dad’s property is a 3-mile hike in. I rigged up with my favorite way for prospecting small streams: a size 16 mini muddler. This fly is like a small Turk’s Tarantula. You can fish the mini muddler as a dry fly up stream and then swing it through a run downstream at the end of your drift. It’s a great way to cover a lot of water. On some of the slower pools, I switched to a Hendrickson Comparadun.
I hooked up with a lot of wild brookies, and they were spread out pretty evenly in different kinds of water. The creek had the classic Adirondack tea color with lots of structure, runs, pools, and pockets. Lots of midge activity on the surface with the occasional Hendrickson. It was an amazing time just exploring and catching these small but aggressive trout.
My time in Colorado is almost done. Jess and I are starting our drive back east tomorrow, so I decided to get back into the Stagecoach Tailwaters one last time. With the access road still closed, I borrowed my neighbors bike to cut down the travel time.
The fishing started slow with temps around 15 degrees when I first arrived. Nymphing zebra midges was the way to go until about 11 o’clock when more trout heads started to look up towards the surface. Black and olive size 20 RS2’s were the next flies that took trout. At about noon, aggressive surface activity picked up and I switched over to Charlie Craven’s size 20 mole fly. This fly did the most damage and was consistently nailing the fish until about 1:30 when the trout began sipping in more of a rhythm. When this started, I still got some on the mole fly, but when I tied on a snowshoe spinner it was instant success until I left. 21 trout in total, 4 on nymphs, 17 on dries. The size range was 8-20″, great colors on the rainbows! Now back to the New Jersey for a week, some fishing with fellow bloggers Chris, Dave, and Zach, then off to the Bahamas in pursuit of bonefish! Thanks Steamboat Springs for everything these past 6 weeks, it has been amazing.
So after last time into the Stagecoach tailwaters, I tied up half a dozen size 18 comparaduns. Well guess what, when I got to the tailwaters today, the fished wanted nothing to do with that fly. Luckily, I also tied up half a dozen RS2’s in size 20 black and olive. I fished only dries and the RS2’s accounted for all of my hookups. A dozen rainbows and one brookie, nice day on the river!
Over the last two weeks, it has snowed almost every other day out here. This has made for great skiing conditions. I have skied at least 4 days with over a foot of fresh powder during those two weeks. With all this skiing, I have not fished too much. However, I finally got back into the tailwater section of the Yampa today. The forecast was calling for low 40’s and sunny, so I decided to make the 2 mile trek to the tailwater.
I got to the river around 10:30 and nymphed up stream through several pools landing 5 and hooking into another 4. I was using a size 20 frenchie nymph that I had picked up in Paris last Thanksgiving. It has great detail but is covered entirely in epoxy so it sinks like a stone. This fly accounted for all of the fish I picked up nymphing.
As the temperature increased, a few noses started to poke through the surface, but nothing too consistent. I needed to adjust for the changing feeding behavior. I continued to cast my nymphs upstream; however, once the flies reached my position, I stopped tracking the flies with my rod. My flies continued downstream from position, but this subtle change allowed my nymphs to rise through the water column like an emerger. It was immediate and continued success until the adult baetis were fully on the water.
Once the surface activity was in full swing, it was size 18 traditional comparaduns in olive and black that continued to produce fish. For the really picky ones, size 20 cdc comparaduns did the trick.
Once 3 o’clock came around, the adult comparaduns were not catching as consistently. To account for another feeding behaviour change, I tied on a size 20 cdc rusty spinner and continued to hook up more fish. This fly has a low profile against the water surface. It was tough to track it throughout its entire drift. To compensate, I would gently set the hook any time a fish rose in the general vicinity of my fly.
It was an amazing day. I got to fish the entire life cycle of the baetis mayflies that were hatching today. Landed over 20, hooked into another 10, and over 15 were on dry flies. Mostly rainbows, with about 3 nice browns, and one brookie. The sizes ranged from 12″ to 19″.