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Fishing the Mettowee Big River, Labrador
Vermont & New York Labrador

Dorset, VT
September 26th, 2016

September can be characterized as similar to August's warm and dry weather. And yes! even much lower than normal precipitation for this part of New England and eastern NY. Since I started fishing and guiding upon my return from vacation I  have focused most on the Batten Kill watershed and only fishing the Walloomsac after rain events. The positive is water temps have cooled off to the lower to mid 60's which puts the fish out of a stress situation temperature wise.  We still have very low water levels and as far as I can remember, I haven't fished in conditions such as this. Fishing has been only fair to very poor given these conditions. The fish are just too spooky and in the heavily fished Trophy area of the Walloomsac are "Jaded" from lots of pressure. Still there were some good days, again after rain events during the month.

I always focus on the Kill in September and October and this is no exception this year with the low flows.  Some days we catch and some days we don't.  Success is definitely  better when it's 1 angler and he has very good skill, definitely tougher for beginners.

I started to shift to fishing afternoons from mornings  back in August. This shift relates with the hatching activity during this month.  For bugs I am seeing Isonychia, the smaller fall caddis and a few of the Autumn Sedge our October caddis. Hatches have been sporadic overall but where I have found rising fish, in most cases, (if there is a correct presentation), there will be a take.

It's been so long since I have fished small water due to conditions.  Forget the whole Mettawee watershed. Most of the Kill' upper basin is out due to the extremely low water. The exception is the Roaring branch which actually fishes well in low water. That has been productive fishing a caddis during the warmest part of day.

That's all I have at this time from here. Tight Lines and yes pray for some rain!!!

Peter Basta

Roaring Branch Walloomsac, Woodford, VT
August 29th, 2016

Just finished a morning fish here and lower down on the main stem with only little results overall. Since my July report the fishing has been getting tougher due to low and warm water conditions.  While the weather has been great if you are at the beach, not so for trout fishing this summer. While we did have rain events on the 3rd,11th,14th,and 22nd of the month water levels only raised to near normal levels for a day or two before returning to very low levels (40-50% of normal!!!!).With these water conditions it has eliminated some target streams namely the Mettawee which I never fished but for 1-2 days in early August.  The water was too low and warm.  I did not want to stress the fish under those conditions.

I have been focusing on the Batten Kill and the Walloomsac watersheds for my guiding.  As mentioned in the previous paragraph, there were some rain events spread through out the month and at those times the fishing did improve for a few days after the rain events, it seamed to "perk" the fish up.  Hatches are principally limited to the morning Trico spinner falls and I also saw at times some small blue wing olives and tan caddis.  With the exception of some places on the Kill, the hatch on the Sac has almost disappeared post "Irene" and has not recovered.  I did have a couple of excellent spinner falls on the Hill Farm stretch. I use a 20-22 size spinner in early August and now at the end of the month 24"s are all they will take !!!

As I look forward to September things should improve as nights get longer and temps. start to cool down. Usually we see an up tick in rain events and amounts per storm.  We need both now.

Lastly I will be taking a break from my guiding starting September 2nd till the 10th of the month. I'm heading to the beach for our annual week on LBI on the Jersey shore. It is a much needed rest and relax with my wife, a great place to recharge the batteries. Talk to you later in September.

Tight lines,
Peter Basta

Upper Batten Kill "Jungle stretch", Sunderland, VT
July 22nd, 2016

Fished  on the Kill in a.m. today and was surprised to find quite a few Trico's about on the upper river. The hatch has started and appears to be a couple of weeks early like so many of our hatches this year.  I also found some "tric's" on the Walloomsac yesterday near the park in the Henry stretch.

Since my last report we have seen conditions become more and more difficult due to continued low water and 'blue bird" beautiful sunny days that have made the hatches tail off in evenings and things are just getting going for our morning hatches. Area rivers are still running 40-50 % of normal flows which has limited my targets to the bigger waters in our area, namely the Batten Kill, and sections of the Walloomsac.  I haven't fished small water since the end of June, conditions are such with the low water that it is fruitless due to the spookiness of the trout.

We have had some rain events, and for several days after the rain, conditions improve significantly with the temporary higher flows. Rain on the 2nd, 10th, and 15th brought streams to median  levels or above but only for a short time. Water temps. on the Kill have been fine up till now staying in the upper 60's in the heat of day.  The Walloomsac has been fine except I am not fishing the trophy stretch (Henry Bridge area) because water temps. were getting into the low-mid 70's at around noon. The river above the Papermill dam is staying cooler and the Roaring Branch ( upper Sac) is fine.

I am exclusively fishing mornings now, the few evening trips I did  were not productive at all save for those times right after a rain event or at about dusk for a short window of bug/trout activity. As I stated at the beginning of the report,I am finding Tricos, and in addition I am seeing Blue Wing Olives (size18-20's) and tan caddis (size 16) all early and by 11:00 a.m. its over and the fishing turns off.

Thats all I have now and keep praying for rain!

Tight Lines,
Peter Basta

Roaring Branch, Kelly Stand Rd, Arlington, VT
June 29th, 2016

Today we fished  a section of the Roaring Branch for wild Brook trout and did "just  o.K."  We did get a 12-13 " Brown trout that was real cool in  such small water !!!  I like to fish "the branch" when many of my other small stream targets are to low to fish.  And, yes, this stream was low, especially for late June.  Since my last report in earlier June, we had a good soaking rain event and good fishing from the 8th to around the 12th. Then the bright sun and warm/hot days made conditions harder and harder as the month progressed.  We had no rain from the 6th, till just the other day the 27th., and not much at that. Flows in early month were near median levels for this time of year but continued to drop to very low summer levels. Using the  Walloomsac as an example, median flow should be from 150  CFS trending to 100 CFS at months end.  Actual flows have been in the 90 CFS trending to 50 CFS. That is summer time low!!!!!

I have shifted to morning trips almost exclusively and the best fishing action is from 7:00 a.m.to around 11-12;00 noon. Mid month I did some evening trips to dusk on NY side of  the Batten Kill.  Right at dusk we had some hatching of Caddis and the "White Fly", a large cream to white may fly.  I saw nothing for spinners.  In the mornings there is not much for hatches save for some small Caddis  (size 16) and the odd Blue Wing Olive (size 18). This is the transition time for hatches.  The evening hatches are tailing off and our premier morning hatch,  "Tricos" is still 2-3 weeks away.    But it is the season to start fishing terrestrials !

Pray for some significant rain events in July, there are fish around, our best luck has been 2-3 days after it rains .

Tight Lines,
Peter Basta

Silk Road Bridge, Walloomsac River
June 6th, 2016

Fishing was excellent today due to a rain event yesterday (June 5th)  and water dropping and clearing to a good fishable flow.The "Sac" is a both wild and stocked fishery and the recent stocking produced very cooperative fish. Wolly Buggers and wet fly swing worked very well. It was a good day.

Since my last report conditions have improved especially after rain events which raised waters to more near normal levels. Rain on  May 24th, and June 6th resulted in good fishing a few day after these events. Flows have been:  The Walloomsac flows of a high of 400 CFS, to a low just a few days ago of 80 CFS. That low flow is  what we have in mid-August! The Mettawee and the Batten Kill have had similiar ranges and overall levels have been better than earlier in the year but still are way below the median. 

For the stocked fisheries, both in NY and VT, all stocking is pretty much done. The fish are bigger than usual (both yearling and 2 year olds) and greater fights as well. This is an excellent time of the season for beginners to learn and improve their hooking and playing "fish" skills.  These same fish in a couple of weeks will be very hard to catch after being "educated".

In our wild trout streams both small water and the Batten Kill are fishing better than last year.  There was a period when small water was "on-fire" when flows were optimal.  Good numbers of 1-2-3 year olds is a very good sign for the health of our wild fish.

For Bugs, we are all done with Hendricksons, and the Light Cahills are waning as well.  Plenty of Caddis hatches in the morning around 10:00 a.m. and on cloudy rainy days bugs are definitely more plentiful.  

That's all I have at this time and enjoy the nice weather of late.  However pray for rain to keep conditions in the good category.

Tight Lines,
Peter Basta

Dorset, VT
May 12th, 2016

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 normal temps. Spring definitely 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 Quills 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 stretch 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.  After 10-15 minutes he was beginning to tire but still a bottom 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, definitely 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 of 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 pm 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.

Thats all I have at this time.  See you a-stream!

Dorset, VT
April 20th, 2016

Our fishing season opened on the 9th and while water levels were excellent we got some cold weather and snow flurries which started the week before the opener. I was scouting and taking temps. at the
end of March and they were in the mid to upper forties and dropped to high thirties for the opener.  Rain events on the 8th and 11th raised water levels on area streams to unfishable levels. The Batten Kill  rose to over 2000+ CFS, the Walloomsac to over 1000 CFS and the Mettawee in NY to over 750 CFS.  Water levels have dropped significantly to excellent levels as I write this report. Temps. are in the upper forties to over 50' F at the warmest part of the day.

Bug hatches are just beginning. I am seeing Hendrickson, Blue Quills and small black stone flies. The bright sun shiny days are helping and this next week to two, the hatch should be in full swing.

Stocking of area streams both in NY and VT are still yet to be started. Otter Creek in danby recieved the first stocking of Trophy trout today which I will check out tomorrow.  The Black will get the first stocking, the week of may 1st, the Walloomsac has not listed stock dates (which is probably a good thing).

I have done a few trips to date, mostly Instructional with limited fish catching. That should improve as we get closer to May 1st.

Tight Lines,
Peter Basta

Pre-Season report
March 13th, 2016

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.

Our NY Trout season opens April 1st and VT opens on the 10th of the month. Looking at the 30-60 Temperature and Precipitation forecast/Prediction, it looks like temps will be above normal and precipitation normal or slightly above normal. Given this and my instincts, I WILL BE ACTIVELY TRYING TO BOOK TRIPS FROM THE 15TH OF APRIL ON!!!!!  Three weeks earlier than usual.  I don't predict higher spring flows so we should see good Hendrickson/Red Quill hatches in the NY Kill  much earlier than usual. I feel my early season fishing will be much better than in years past.  If interested in that later part of April contact me to get on the calendar for that time frame.  Its not often we get this (I can think of only once or twice) early season opportunity.

I will start actively walking my small water streams this week and keep you posted as to what I am finding from the stream and conditions.

Tight Lines,


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