Friday, September 30, 2011

10 Tips for Fall Streamer Fishing for Big Brown Trout

Now is the time to get into your biggest brown of the year and here is some advice on how to do it right!  I am guiding weekends for these bruisers if anyone is interested! The next month can be some of the best fishing for these guys. Shoot me an email and lets get you a beast!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Orvis Days Presentation and Pat Cohen's New Website

I am going to be tying flies and giving a presentation at the Fall Orvis Days event at the Orvis Flagship Store in Manchester, Vermont on Saturday October 8, 2011. Since it is that time of year, I will be tying a variety of streamers and my talk is all about streamer fishing. I am going to explain the tactics I use throughout the year to target multiple species. I think it will really help a lot of people to better understand how to use streamers more effectively.

I will be at the store when it opens at 9 AM and will start tying shortly after that. My presentation is at 4pm.  Look forward to seeing you there! 

Pat Cohen, warm water bug tosser, blogger and fly tyer extrordinaire (and fishing buddy of mine) has a new website up that you should check out: I can tell you from personal experience that his flies are nothing short of exquisite. I don't think I have ever seen deer hair packed that tightly!  Definitely check Pat out when you can!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Working a streamer
One of the species I had remaining to target for the Vermont Master Angler Program was an old friend of mine- the landlocked Atlantic salmon. I was very fortunate to have started fly fishing when the sea lamprey control program was first making inroads on Lake Champlain. The mid to late '90's were an amazing time to be fishing Champlain tribs and going to college in Plattsburgh I had one of the best quite literally right out my door. I spent a lot of time swinging streamers in the fall and drifting nymphs during the winter. I caught a lot of fish and my love of landlocked salmon has stayed with me.

I jumped at the chance of heading to a spot I had yet to fish for landlocks. Kurt Budliger had fished there many times and invited me to head up with him. Its a place I had heard about many times but had not yet had the opportunity to visit. Sorry, not putting down the name, but most guys in Vermont will probably know where I am talking about. I was a bit surprised when I got to the river. It is much more like brook trout water than what I am used to for salmon. The river was relatively small, but certainly had plenty of water in it. The very high gradient made for a lot of pocket water and there were some deeper holes to work, especially lower.

Changing tactics paid off- 26" buck salmon in hand!
Kurt and I worked the river pretty hard. It was a very warm day despite being late September. Wearing waders and walking around when it is in the low 80's isn't always fun but the cool water made it much more pleasant. We tossed nymphs mostly- a bugger with a nymph dropper is the norm for this river and can be quite effective but what Kurt and I mostly accomplished was to deplete our fly boxes.

I was at a really nice deep hole- one of the deepest- and I thought that I would try out a smaller smelt pattern of my own creation. I put it on a long leader with a single Dinsmore shot. I dropped that into the current and let it sink into the pool behind a rock. I then started working it back slowly. Sure enough I had a tug and then a fish exploded out of the water!  It was a salmon and a nice one at that. It made a number of runs and a few jumps but fortunately it stayed within the pool. Once it came to net I measured it to 26". I needed 24" for the Master Angler Program.  We got a bunch of pictures and released the fish. I can't wait to see what Kurt's camera got- especially the close up shots. Definitely check out his web site if you haven't seen his work before.
Gorgeous fish in a gorgeous location- I'll be back!

The rest of the day was relatively fruitless. We saw a few fish, caught some small bass. Kurt managed a small brown too. All in all a great day on the water. Just what I needed.

That fish puts me at 19 different species entered into the program so far (out of a total of 33), my 6th new species this year and gives me a total of 37 entries into the Master Angler Program so far. I still have more fishing to do... A few species are on the list to catch... including a few I have never fished for before. Stay tuned... the adventure continues...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fall Fishing- Small Pond Edition

I have to apologize that I have not been keeping up with the blog as much as I would like to. A lot has happened recently that has kept my mind elsewhere and since this isn't the "listen to Drew whine blog", I won't bore you with that. I haven't had a lot of time for fishing, but the time I have spent on the water has been very productive!
15 1/8" brook trout. It's a wild one too! A rare beast in VT.

I did my homework on where to find big brook trout and headed out for them a bit over a  week ago. I did something I don't do a lot of, but enjoy now and then- I trolled from my canoe. Best way to work a pond sometimes. I used a clear intermediate line on my 6 wt. I had a few false alarms and lost some flies to the brush. Then I switched the rod from the shore side of the canoe to the outside and brought the canoe closer to shore. Then the rod bent and started throbbing. I had a feeling it was a nice fish from the start. I got it close to the boat and it made two good runs before I netted it. It was just a bit over 15 inches which is exactly what I needed for the Master Angler program. I continued to troll the edges but once a powerboat started to zip around it was time for me to head out.
Nice big pickerel! Gotta love chainsides!

So I headed to a spot I like to fish pickerel at. Fall is big pickerel time and this is the place to be!  I headed to a weedbed I know of and started working the edges. It is pretty deep so the key element was to use a sinking fly and I went to an old favorite- the Clouser Half and Half. Such a great fly!  Apparently the pickerel think so too. I thought my first take was actually me getting caught in the weeds, but it showed me that it wasn't quickly. It was an awesome fish of 23". That is no joke for a pickerel, but it isn't Master Class until it is over 24.  

Esox niger- a big fella!
The next fish took right next to the boat. I got to watch it pounce the fly. Man did it hammer that thing!  I could tell this was a really nice fish too!  Once I got it on board I knew I had what I needed there- 24 1/2".  Another MC fish for me! I finished up the day with another 23" fish. I love getting those big pickerel. 

The other thing that was really cool was watching a mother loon teach her youngster to chase fish. I got to watch that for quite some time and they came very close to me several times. Both ponds I was on had loons and I got to see them in both locations. Loons are such cool birds and when you are on a lake or pond in Vermont in autumn when the leaves are just starting to change, a loon is one of those final details that just makes things picture perfect. I really love living in Vermont.

I did some fishing this past weekend too... but that is a story for tomorrow! Stay tuned (only if you want big fish stories).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Post Flood Fishing

Sorry I am not writing quite as much... been busy with a new job! I promise to get more prolific as I get into the swing of things...
Passable, but just barely... Rt 12A

Anyway, I did have an article posted up on the Orvis News Blog about the impacts of floods on fish. Check it out here:
You might be surprised what you find out! 

Fishing has been pretty good recently. The trout populations definitely survived the storm in my neck of the woods. Kurt Budliger and I got out on Sunday for what we agreed was the stupidest day of trout fishing either of us had ever had. And a true driving adventure on top of that... The folks at the Roxbury hatchery are encouraging people to get out after the massive number of fish that were flushed out of their facility during the floods. These include some 2 year old brook trout. They are all in the upper part of the Third Branch of the White River. 
I was pleased at the composition of this one!

Kurt's remark "This is like fishing at a hatchery, oh wait..." really holds true. We worked pods of 100s of fish. Yes, it was cheating, but no question it was fun. The biggest challenge was getting your fly down through the dozens of smaller fish to get to the larger ones underneath. It was a blast. Conservatively I would say that each of us caught 100 fish and if we were just going for numbers we could have caught more on smaller flies. The biggest brookie of the day was 14" and there were numerous 12" and 13" fish. They looked great- Roxbury produced some amazing pond raised brook trout.
Gorgeous brookie Kurt.. catch any more?

I am not one to go out after hatchery fish frequently or to tell folks to do that, but this fishery cannot handle the influx of 70,000 fish. Go up there with some kids and catch fish. That is what it is, not fishing, its catching. Email me if you want directions. There is no simple route and you will need some help. But bring a couple of kids. They will have fun.

Last night I went out with the intention of getting into some trout, but I found another one of my favorite species and could not pass it up. White suckers were on the feed and I was on that like white on rice!  I got into two- sight fished no less. I watched ever second of 
Hey whitey!
the take and those things bolted like they were on fire! Each one of them had the reel spinning on my 5 wt. I certainly can't complain about that and both of them were over 19" so two more Master Class fish for me. I did see some nice trout too... maybe in the next day or two I will head back out and see about those...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Musky On the Fly Article at Fishing Headquarters

So I put together a pretty detailed two part article about the basics of chasing muskellunge with a fly. Check it out on page 73 of Fishing Headquarters magazine online!

These aren't easy fish to tangle with... you can get lucky and get one or two now and then but to catch them routinely. The article gives you a good overview of what to do and some great insights from musky master Brad Bohen.

Check it out!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Devestation on the Dog

 I don't typically mention names of rivers or other locations I spend time, but I am going to in this case. I live in the Dog River valley and we just got hit by Tropical Storm Irene. Things are trashed along the river. It is a very different place now. Some good, some bad. I have a lot of photos that I can and will put up over the coming days.

5:30pm Sunday night. Note the abandoned building to the left. 18000cfs.
My biggest concern right now is fuel oil. When I was taking photos and looking around last night I found the overwhelming odor of fuel oil coming from the river and a sheen of it on there too. I headed upstream to try to find the source but I couldn't. I ended up calling the Vermont Hazmat emergency number. They are on it today. Hopefully they can find the source.

Here are a few shots:

Same shot Tuesday morning. Note building. 500 cfs.

Downstream from Riverton trestle Sunday 5:30 pm. 18000 cfs

Downstream from Riverton trestle 6pm Thursday. 250cfs.