Pre-Season Report April 7th,2014
Muskegon River, MI
Greetings from Michigan ! Arrived here yestrday for the start of 2014 guiding season. In most years I am already guiding by the last week of March but this is not like past years. An abnormaly cold and snowy winter for the mid-west and east has resulted in a late spring. My first trip for the season is tomorrow, April 9th. Snow melt is still occuring and water levels are high, 6000 CFS and river temps are 35-36'F. Thats cold for the first week of April! I have been told that there are fish in the river and are holding in the traditional winter lies. Big deep slow moving pools are the best bet. There has been only a fair amount of pressure on the river as of this time, very little winter fishing due to the extreme cold. Alot of spin and fly anglers have focused on egg patterns for offerings, but i am hearing better patterns are more toward the naturals rather than eggs. Best fishing times have been in the early afternoons. We will give you a better report once I have been on the river a few days.
As for what to expect for our season in Vermont, again the hard winter gave us a lot of snow and very cold temperatures. Our snow melt is occuring now and luckily its going slow with temps. in the 50's during day and just dipping below freezing at night. So far its going slowly and thats good. I will be arriving from MI to start guiding on the 10th of May, later than normal but keeping with the start of this later season. I do think it should be a good with the snow melt and plenty of water to carry us into June. I think we will find the traditional Hendricksons to be later this year and the hatch might occur during high water which will limit angler chances. Its too early to tell at this point.
From the Vermont Fish & Wildlfe Dept, new this year is the expansion of the Trophy Trout program to include the Walloomsac River in Bennington,VT. It, like the Black River in Cavendish and other streams will be stocked with larger 2 year old fish, have a 2 fish limit and will have the regulation in affect for the regular Trout Season. I have mixed feelings about it. On the positive side it offers more opportunity to catch larger stocked fish. On the negative side I feel the increased angling pressure, and the fact that many anglers who historically fish here have a big "Harvest mentality" and limited stocking points and some areas with limited access can spell some real angler conflicts upcoming. Don't know if this is going to happen, it will be a "wait and see what happens" kind of answer.In addition this section does have large wild trout as well and I feel they will be impacted more now than in the past, again wait and see....
Thats all I have at this time . Will update this report in a few days when I have been on the River for a while.
August 24th, 2013
Since my last report in early July the weather has changed from the record precipitation of June to hot and dry as we got into the remander of July and August. We saw a heat spell from the 6th of July till around the 15th, daily temps. were in the 90's and it only cooled to high 60's at night. This could have been disasterous for our wild trout fisheries except we had high cool flows on alot of our watersheds during that time. Even in the height of the heat, I was getting water temps in upper fifties and low 60's. Fished stayed spread out in both small water streams and on our bigger flowages. Where it seemed we were getting rain every day in June, rain events were spread out in 2-3 week intervals for July and August. This resulted in waters getting lower and lower till we are at very low levels as I write this.
In July our bug hatches were in that mid-summer transition from evenings to mornings. While I mentioned in other reports, I thought the hatches in June and early July were down, I still feel that way but it is based on my own observations. Please remember as a guide, I don't often guide till near dark due to logistics and consideration of my guests time constraints. I'm sure I missed some great evening hatches and spinner falls, but it is hard to guide for such a small window of good fishing time. Bugs I have been seeing include several species of Caddis in 14-16 range, a few of the larger BWO's (size 16) and some smaller Sulfurs (size 18-20). As we got to the end of July I was anxious when and how strong the Trico hatch would be this year. Last year I thought it was very weak on the Kill and fair to good on the Mettawee drainage. I saw the first spinners on the Walloomsac on the 31st of July and finally good numbers as we got to mid-August for the Batten Kill and the Mettawee. The Trico's are almost non-existant on the Walloomsac again this year. While there are a few places were there are some, the changed habitat post-Irene has negatively impacted this hatch on this watershed. This year I thought the spinner #s were very good on the Mettawee and still not what it should be on the Batten Kill. I feel after fishing this river for many years the Trico hatch on the Kill is getting smaller and steadily moving upriver. 15-20 years ago we had great spinner falls in the trophy stretch in NY and all up along rte 313 upstream through Arlington to Manchester. Now you have to go upriver of Arlington to find significant #'s. Again, time will tell how this plays out.
That about it for this time. Look forward to seeing you a-stream and till the next report,
July 10th, 2013
Just finished a string of trips through and after the July 4th Holiday. I have a couple of days off, time to catch up on the mowing and the small garden. What a month since the beginning of June. At the time of my last report, water levels were finally droping to good levels with the wet spring. But on June 11th and again on the 14th, the skies let loose and all my watersheds were "blown out" save for some uppper watershed small water targets. Water levels were just short of flood stage. From that point we had great weather and excellent fishing as area streams lowered and became fishable. First small water and then the bigger rivers like the Mettawee and Kill in NY. Water temps have been excellent, and both of my stocked and wild trout fisheries are fishing well. The Black, for instance, was fishing well, long into June, usually to low and too hot at this time of year. And in the case of the Walloomsac, the combination of high water and a delay in the stocking of some fish, resulted in excellent fishing in late June and continues as I write this today.
Insect hatches have been only fair. Quite sporadic and I think this is a lingering effect of Irene,August 2011 . This is not to say there arn't bugs, yes there are, just not the numbers as seen in the past. On the positive side, I am seeing more this year than the spring following Irene. Early July is the "transition time" for our hatches. Our evening hatches are fading out, and the mid-summer morning hatches are just getting started. I am seeing, Blue Wing Olives, small tan Caddis, and our large Stone Fly. Tricos have not started yet,we shuld see them start toward the end of July.
Last year from early spring through early fall we had low water conditions so opportunities to fish small water were few and far between. I love to fish and explore small water myself, so last year was not a good one. This year, plenty of water, sometimes too much. Because of conditions I have been fishing small targets because they are the first to come into fishable conditions after a rain event. As my last report stated and continues now,small water is fishing very well. Depending on the watershed, We are catching 3 yr. class of fish, in particular the 1 yr. olds are very abundant! Remember they are the fish from eggs laid down in the fall right after Tropical storm Irene. That is very good news for the future.
I just wanted to relate a story of a personal experience I had on Friday while fishing and exploring some small water I had never fished before.This stream will remain nameless, suffice to say it is not too far from my home. Conditions were good but it was expected to rain during the day. Sure enough just as I was suiting up the rain came. I fished up through this section and where I found good habitat that you could fish, there were fish. Also there was some great habitat that you couldn't get at due to debris and downed trees that would provide what I call "sanctuary" spots for the fish. The rain really started coming down and within minutes I could tell the water was getting dirtied from water coming off a nearby road. Casting from a low on one knee position, I was working a pool with a pair of nymphs and suprised I had not had a hit. The water was really showing color so I changed to a black bugger to fish the same pool. As I was tying the fly I looked at the part of the pool next to me on my left and thought I saw for a moment the partial outline of a fish sitting just downstream from a rock. But it was too big, way too big. Then I saw it again and this time it stayed in position. It was 10 feet right out from me, if I moved he would be gone! I estimated he was 16 + inches! So I slowly sat down and got ready to cross shoulder cast and drift that fly right by him. I waited 2-3 minutes before I made that first cast. On the first drift it came down right on his lie and when the indicator was downstream from the fishes position, there was the quiver-pull as he took the fly. A good hookset, a head shake and then all hell broke loose. It moved up the pool quickly, stopped and turned and then went racing past me into skinny water. I chased him like I would a Steelhead!! 30 yds. downstream is where I landed her, a 19" beautiful female Rainbow. Wow, what a big fish for small water! It was great!
Stream conditions deteriorated quickly and while the stream didn't rise much it turned to a chocalate milk color in minutes and of course the fishing turned off. But still what a fun time and a great fish. i walked up further checking spots and determining this would be worth further exploring when conditions are favorable. I will be back, I said to myself when I got back to the truck.
May 29th, 2013 Dorset Hollow
The low water conditions that I reported in my last report are all but gone now. Significant rain on the 21st and further on the 24-25th raised many of our main rivers to near flood conditions for a short period of time. When I have high water conditions I often target my small water opportunities as those are the quickest to drop and be fishable. I found these areas are fishing fairly good, especially upstream nymphing in the faster runs and when the pool/run is the right speed, the fish eagerly grap a Caddis or Yellow Sallie dry fly.
When water levels dropped between recent rain events, the Black continued to fish well and the crowds were not bad at all. Most anglers that were fishing around us were releasing fish which bodes well for the fishing there in June. In many years the Black is about done now due to warm low water. This year the fishing will continue to be good well into June if the cool weather is the pattern.
For Hatches, we have Light Cahils, March Browns, Yellow Sallies and a couple of caddis species. Hatches are sporadic during day and now the evening fishing is really picking up as it will continue for the month of June.
May 10th, 2012, Black River,VT
I arrived back in Vermont on May 1st. It is great to be back home!! What a change in weather and water conditions. While I left the flood conditions and cold weather in Michigan, here in Vermont the weather is warm and water conditions are excellent. While scouting for my trips around the 2nd-3rd. I found hatches of Hendricksons, Blue Quills, and Brachycentrus caddis. Because of the lower water conditions I found dry fly action especially n the lower Kill in NY. Since I have started my trips on the 5th, fishing in the trophy section of the Black has been very good. After the first stocking of Rainbows, we found fish spread out in all the likely spots and this years fish were very nice in size and great fighters for stocked fish. Clearly so far, the Black has been the best target that I have fished. The Kill has had good hatches, but the few trips I have done there, nymphing and wet fly swing have produced better results than dry fly fishing. Thats not unusual for these early hatches on the Kill.
Water conditions today are getting low as I write this. Mettawee, Walloomsac, and the Kill are all on the low side, almost mid-summer water levels. We expect rain in the next day or so and should improve water levels.
Stocking in NY and Vermont of my target streams should be in full swing in the next several weeks.Will keep you apraised of the fishing in the next week or two.
April 28th, 2013,Thornapple boat launch, Muskegon MI
I am taking my boat out after guiding for the last 4 days. Since my last report we had 11 days where the river remained above flood stage and no boats were allowed to be on the river. However, when levels dropped and the river was opened, the fishing was very good, I mean very very good!! The high water brought in a lot of fish and once waters dropped to around 6,000 CFS the fish showed up on the gravel and all my parties had excellent fishing. Unfortunately for me, I need to get back to VT to start my season there, otherwise for the next 2 weeks the fishing should be quite good if not excellent. Unlike earlier in April, the fish now are quite a bit bigger with a fair number of fish in the 10-15 lb. They are still very bright and are giving a great fight in the heavy flows we are fishing.
What a strange spring this has been for my Michigan part of the season. Like a farmer, mother nature often dictates my success or like this year , with the floods, does affect my business and it is out of my hand. Oh, well, time to move on to the next part of my season, the spring fishing in Vermont and New York. I so look forward to going home and I should be back in Vermont on the 2nd of May.
April 14th, 2013, Newaygo MI
What a crazy couple of weeks its been since I arrived here on the 25th of March. All the local lakes and ponds had solid ice. There was 2 ft. of snow on the ground and it was cold. Water levels (2000 to 2500 CFS) were normal but river temps were cold, mid-winter cold at 35-36'F. Brr!! Fishing was slow and due to conditions we were doing our trips to favor the warmest time of the day, most fish being caught were between 3-5 p.m.. My average was 1 fish per day to the net. Easter was a good day, not that we caught alot of fish, but my 2 guests, longtime clients from back east, each caught their first Steelhead! The first week of April saw temps still cold but sunny so the sun felt good. Fishing started to improve later in the week and my average was improving a little. Water levels were excellent at 3200 CFS but water temperatures still remained cold in the 36'F range. Flies that had been productive have been more of the ususal, Nuc eggs, Peacock/copper buggers, and Black Stone flies. Most fish have been fresh from lake, though we also were catching some spent females that had already spawned. Those fish were the winter run that usually spawn in early March, they were spawning late due to the late winter conditions.
As we got into the second full week of the month, fishing continued to improve as warmer weather graced us. It was beginning to look like the run was just arriving and on the 9th, we saw for the first time fish on or near gravel. Again, I had guests from my guiding Service back east fish with me. They hooked 4 fish first day, 2 on the second day, and then..... It started to rain, and I mean rain.The river rose quickly and on the 11th were were just short of flood stage and the river was running mud. The few trips I had from the 11th on, were either cancelled or drew a goose egg. Now as I write this on the 14th, we are still at flood stage and the Weather Service is predicting more rain and projecting river flows to go 2-3 ft. above flood stage. When I finish this report I am going to take my boat out of the river for safety reasons as I did in the spring of 2011.
Will keep you posted as to how this plays out. I may have to come back to Vermont early, if these conditions do not improve.
Pre-season report March 20th, 2013, Dorset, VT
What a difference a year makes. Last year we had no winter to speak of, little snow, warm temps, 70's in February and March, and all the signs of the season 3-5 weeks early. This winter is what I would say a much more "an old normal winter". Respectable snow pack,cold temperatures, and it looks like winter will hang on. I think it is going to be a late spring, both here in VT/NY and also in MI where I guide for Steelhead.
I just finished work at the ski shop and am busy preping for my Michigan Steelhead season. The report I am getting is they are in winter conditions, flows typical for Febuary (1800 CFS) and river temps. 33-34'F., Brrr! I will pack all my cold weather gear, very different from last year when I arrived it was 80'F!!!
Back to talking about what I think will be the Vermont Season upcoming. The snow pack and cold temps are not a bad thing. If snow melt is slow, it will percolate into the ground and recharge our waters from the near drought conditions of last summer. In looking at the 30-90 day forcast for the East, NOAA is predicting a slightly warmer temperature and near normal precipitation beginning in mid-April. Thats good and bodes well for our fishing to begin with the spring hatches starting in early May when I return from Michigan. Time will tell, boy our weather is tipsy turvey!
If looking to book for our spring fishing time, contact me ASAP as prime dates (especially weekends) are filling fast for May and June. July, August, and September are wide open, but weekends will start to fill once guests make their summer plans.
I will give you an update of the fishing in Michigan, once I get a couple of weeks of guiding under my belt. I look forward to spending time a-stream together for us this fishing season
February 19th, 2013
SPECIAL FISHING TRIP, LABRADOR ATLANTIC SALMON, AUGUST 2nd-9TH,2013
Join me and my close friend Alan Erdossy of Broadside while we host a party of anglers to the BIG RIVER in northeastern Labrador Canada for Atlantic Salmon and Trophy Sea run Brook Trout. This is a very special and remote location to fish for Salmon and while Salmon numbers have flucuated from year to year in other parts of Canada, Labrador stocks are very healthy and numbers are growing due to the almost total ban on high seas netting in and around Labrador. I went to the Big River for many years back in the mid-late Nineties. The fishing was good and I am told that now the fishing is much better according to the Outfitter.
We are limiting the party size to 8 anglers and four spots are taken as of this date. The cost of the trip from Goose Bay Canada is $5250.00 US. For further details you can visit my Labrador page on this website or call / e-mail me regarding details, and specifics of transportation to and from Goose Bay.
This is a rare and special place and we have booked one of the best weeks for the upcoming season.I look forward to hearing from you regarding this opportunity.
November 8th,2012 End of Season report
Its been over a week since our 2012 season ended here in VT and I am a little sad to see it end. I wish I had more time to fish myself this year when conditions were good for small water targets, my true love. As I mentioned in my last report fall rains and cooling temperatures improved the fishing somewhat as we got into October. For the last three weeks of the season we had rain events on the 4th,6th and bigger events on the 15th,20th and then on the 31st of October we were greeted by Super storm Sandy. Located on the northern edge of the storm, We got just over 2 inches of rain but not near enough to cause flooding. Rivers went to bank full but dropped quickly after the storm.
My best fishing was several days after each bigger rain event and my small water targets are what produced the best, until stream temperatures dropped into the low to mid forties. As far as insect hatches, like in the last report, the numbers and variety of species was down, with maybe the exception of our fall caddis. The BWO hatch continued to be almost non-existent, and that is one of our feature fall hatches. I am not worry about the future as I have seen insect populations knocked down by flood and high water events before only to rebound 2-3-4 years later. Time will tell!.
Best techniques during this period were tried and true dead drift nymph fishing with small olive and black nymphs (size 16-18) and a small yarn indicator. Takes were very light and sometimes almost unnoticable. The guests who fished with me who were good nymph fisherman did very well. Others found it challenging, some days I'm sure we missed quite a few fish due to these light takes.
Too all who I fished with last season ,thank you again for all the experiences we were able to share together. Have a nice Holiday season and look forward to the spring and another season together with our feet in the water and our flies tempting and outsmarting the fish we pursue in this sport.
Fall rains have improved the water levels and the fishing conditions since my last report of early August. Rain events on the 6th,11th,and 26th of August and rains in this month have brought water levels closer to normal though still a little on the low side. I have found the fishing to be best a day or two after these events. Some small water targets are fishing well again when water levels in these streams are toward normal. Caddis or puffy dry flies have worked and now with water temps. starting to drop from summer highs, small nymphs have worked well when water is still cloudy after a rain event. Hatches have still been on the light side ,a trend we have seen all summer and fall. The small Blue Wing Olives which are so important at this time of year have been almost non-existent. Isonychia and fall Caddis have been present but again in only sporadic hatches as best. One note however, I am seeing lots of Brachycentrus caddis larvae. This is the case maker Caddis that has a pyramid like house. It is a spring (May) hatcher and the olive puppae is a great fly during Hendrickson time.The numbers I am seeing on th Batten Kill and the Mettawee are something to pay attention to in early May.
I will be guiding this up-coming week and then I am off on a busmans holiday myself, fishing for Atlantic Salmon in Nova Scotia, Canada. I can't wait. I will be using "Spey Rods" and learning this old and yet for me a new style of fly casting. I will keep you posted as to how my week went.
August 4th, 2012
Since my last report our weather has continued in full summer mode. Beautiful warm to hot days, great for the beach but not great for trout fishing. This is summer time fishing. Early morning trips and fish activity ending for the day between 10-11 a.m..Its the time we see the shift of hatches to mornings only, and very little activity in the evenings. Overall from the later part of June till now the fishing has been fair to good, especially after the few rain events (6/25,7/15,7/29) that ticked up water levels. On a whole for July our levels have been on the low side. Examples would include 150-225 CFS for the Kill, 30-75 CFS for the Walloomsac and 25-40 CFS range for the Mettawee in VT. While under low water conditions some targets are not fishable, there are some places I fish, only fish well under these conditions.
As for hatches,small cream Caddis, BWO's and tricos are the main fair. The "trics" started 2 weeks early and right now are in full swing! This hatch should continue well into the month as we head towards Labor Day. To be successful under our present conditions you must do several things. Fish early in the a.m., fish long leaders and 6-7x tippets, and go slow on your approach or in fishing to a rising fish. Make the cast good, drag free, and if he doesn't take, rest the fish between casts.
From this time in August on we should see cooler and longer nghts and better water levels later in the month. From mid-August on we should be able to shift to evening fishing as well as the good morning fishing we have presently. See you all on the river!
June 23rd.2012, upper Mettawee River,Dorset.
I am just finishing my notes for the month after todays trip. It has been a busy period, trip wise, and the fishing overall was excellent. I wish I had some free time to fish myself! Since Memorial day weekend, water conditions have remained good through the middle of the month, however we sure could use some rain now. Small rain events on the 3rd, 6th, 8th and 14th kept our water levels in the optimal range (Walloomsac 150-200CFS,Kill 500-700 CFS,Mettawee 175-250 CFS in NY). June is our prime month and this year was no exception. Small water fished very good and in most places we caught 3 year classes and some nice sized fish as well. Stocked fisheries on the NY side of the Batten Kill and Mettawee continue to fish well, especially during or after rain events. As for bugs the progression of hatches continue its earlier than normal cycle times. Hatches do continue to be on the sporadic side, however when I look at the rocks, I am finding many caddis especially Glossoma and "Brac" (American Grammon). The "Brac" is next years May olive caddis and there are enormous numbers both on the Kill and the Mettawee!
I am taking a much needed break starting tomorrow and going with the family to the Jersey shore for a week at the beach.Be back on July 1st rested and ready to go again! The forecast is for an excellent sunny week and warmer than normal ocean temperatures! Body and boggie boarding- here I come!!!
May 28th, 2012
This is the first day off in a while and wanted to bring you up on our spring fishing. I would characterize our fishing to date very good and with recent rains has brought our water levels back to normal from the low flows of winter/early spring. The mild winter and early spring pushed up our hatches in some cases by 2-3 weeks. Right now it is mix of late May and some June bugs we don't usually see for 2-3 weeks. Hatches are sporadic in most locations save for the Batten Kill which is reporting plenty of bugs, and I too agree.
As I write this water levles are in the normal to slightly low range. The Mettawee is 120-50 CFS range, The Wallomsac is 150-175 CFS, and the Batten Kill 700-800 CFS range. All good levels. Rain events on the 8th and 14th-15th, made small water targets fish excellent ,and the recently stocked fisheries in the Black and the NY side of the Batten Kill are fishing well too.It is interesting how much some of the areas I fish and guide on have changed post Irene. In some ways I am relearning water, its like I have never been here in some places, even though I may have fished that spot for over 30+ years! Its kinda neat, I am liking the new challenge. Overall I am finding the changes to water courses untouched after Irene to be different but in many in cases better. Hatches are definately down on some watersheds (Black, Wallomsac) but on others the bugs are fine and plentiful! Right now there are alot of bug species around but not many of one particular kind. Caddis brown and tan (14-16) March Browns (12-14), Light Cahills (14-16), Yellow and Lime Sallies. Oh Yes, there are Sulfurs around too. (18-20).
In summary fishing is quite good now and bodes well for going into June our prime spring/early summer month. Get out and do a little fishing and I hope to see you streamside!
May 13th, Upper Mettawee, Dorset,VT
As I write this I have been back in VT since last Sunday. I'm so glad to be back home, be with my family, and fishng my local haunts.
I finished up my Steelhead season at the beginning of May with fishing about the same as last reported. A few fresh fish here and there, but nothing to write home about. In some ways I was glad to see it end, only because we were running out of fish. All in all not a bad season, some nice large fish, good numbers of fish, but a very screwed up timing for the run. I should of went to MI the first of March this year!!!! Hey lets have a normal winter with some snow, and some cold temps. and a slow easy spring. That is good for Steelhead fishing in MI.
When I arrived home (May 6th), local water conditions were excellent and afforded good scouting before my first trip later that week. Small water was fishing well. With good water levels on the NY side of the Mettawee ( 250 CFS), I found stocked Browns taking dry flies at several locations on May 7th. It was a beautiful 70+ day and Caddis and Light Cahills were hatching sporadically. I scouted the Black on the 8th, if only to re-learn the water, again a result of Tropical Irene. The trophy reach of the Black and the highway (Rte 103) were very much impacted by Irene. The road was closed till just before Christmas! The stretch in many was has changed. Some of the places are a little harder to get to in accessing from the road. The actual fishing water and habitat appears, from my observation, for the better!!! We now have small pools, deeper runs and a more concentrated water channel that under low water conditions should be of benefit. I will let you know how it fishes when I am there guiding in the next few weeks. I am very encouraged!!!!!
As I finish up my notes for this report, I am sitting streamside in one of my favorite small water haunts. I just guided a good client and friend on a beautiful small water target that host mostly Rainbow Trout. The water was marginally high, so our fishable zones were limited. However, where the flows were right, he caught fish, three year classes!!! Its a great start to the season is all I can say!
April 24th, 2012 Hess Lake, MI
I have a day off (sitting on the dock) guide lingo for not guiding. The very hot fishing that was going on when I arrived in March is definately on the wane. It seemed that the peak of the run was 2-3 weeks earlier than normal or most years. Water levels were in the 2000-2200 CFS range till the 15th when we recieved rain and again on the 23rd. Water levels then rose to near 4000 and dropped into the 2200-2400 range. Those 2 rain events did bring in fresh fish so all was not lost. In addition, fishing for drop backs (Steelhead heading to the lake)in the holes was productive.
The successful patterns have been the same as reported in early April and when you find the fish they do cooperate and take the fly! We are hoping for our May fish to arrive early and the few fresh fish caught yesterday brings hope.I will be here in MI till the 4-5th of May and then back to my haunts in VT and eastern NY . Speaking of the reports I am getting from back east, Because of the lack of snow pack, and the resulting low water conditions of the streams I target, flyfishing has been very good to excellent for this time of year. Thats unusual as compared to most years when its snow run-off and very cold temperatures. I am told Hendricksons are almost done, when this is when it just gets started!!!! What a strange year.
April 6th,2012, Muskegon River,MI
I arrived here on the 23rd. of March on the tail end of some record breaking warm days of 80+F temperatures for west MI. Water levels were high (4500-5000 CFS) and already in the mid forties. Lots of fish were in, and spawning was already beginning! Thats early in comparison to other years. The average size of the fish this year is bigger than the last several years. That fact and the number of fish indicates this year class had good survival and plenty of food in their ocean, Lake Michigan.
All the standard flies, Nuc and Otter Eggs, Copper Buggers, Stone flies, and Chinook fry patterns have all worked well. As we got into April our weather changed to more normal with frosty mornings and temps. during the days in the high 30 to mid 40's F. Water levels have dropped to the low 2000'S CFS and river temps. have dropped to the low forties which should have the effect of spreading the run out for the month of April.
My read on the run is is its a good one with pulses of fish arriving a couple of weeks early overall. Since the Muskegon gets runs well into May, I am very confident we will have good fishing till the first Of May when our late April and May fish begin to arrive.
I will be in Michigan till the 5th of May when I travel home to Vermont for our trout season there. As I write this, conditions in Vermont are early as well and water levels are at late June levels! Water temps. are already in the upper Forties and there have been reports of Hendricksons and Caddis on the NY side of the Batten Kill! Vermonts season opens next week and NY is already open (April 1st.). Again with the screwy weather it is anybodies guess how the early season will play out. More on the Michigan season and how things are in Vermont on the next report.
March 14,2012, my office, Pre-season report.
Hi, every one! Hope you had a good winter with what little we had! What a strange one but not unprecedented in New England. This will still go down as the 4th warmest on record and virtually no snow save for 1 early March storm and several dustings, thats it. As I write this all the snow is gone, even in high elevations. We are on the back side of mud-season. Usually it is just starting now! It is an early spring.
I am busy preparing gear for my up-coming spring Steelhead season. I leave around the 20th of March and there till first week in May, when I return back to Vermont. Like here, Michigan is having an early spring and I think I will be into some good fishing when I first arrive. Water conditions on the Muskegon right now are excellent with levlels recently rising to 4500 CFS, which is optimum for thefishing on the river. I will give you an update once I get there, get the boat in the water and do some scouting!Spring Steelhead on the Muskegon is a hoot!
As for present stream and water conditions for Vermont and nearby NY. Due to a combination of lack of snow,l ittle precipitation and warmer temps. our area streams are for the most part at excellent levels save for the lower Batten Kill which is over 1200 CFS. Other area streams are at excellent levels, Walloomsac (250 CFS), Mettawee (277 CFS) and Black (500 CFS). Remember our season does not get going till April both in VT and NY I will be taking some scouting walks in the next days along some of my small water to see how things look from the fall. I will let you know what I observed.
My bookings for the spring fishing time (May June) are filling but I do have some weekday and a few weekend times. If interesested in fishing please contact me ASAP to see what is still available.
I hope you are spending time geting gear together for the soon to be here season.
October 15th,2011 Mettawee mainstem, Pawlet VT
I am sitting in my truck making some notes for this report after driving and scouting to see if I have fishable places after another high water event last evening. It seems that once we get good water levels for a few days (and I should say good fishing), mother nature throws us some more rain, Oh well. I am thinking and remembering some of the recent good fishing, yesterday was a perfect example. I was fishing with a new guest from Pennsylvania on the mainstem of the Mettawee River. We had fishable water levels (slightly high) so I targeted pools that have been fishing well in these higher conditions. Everywhere we went we hit a fish or two. Rainbows mostly, some small 6-10 inchers and a couple that were hooked and lost, one fish ws clearly in the 14-16 inch range. Dead drift nymphing and wet fly swing were the ticket, just get it "low and slow". It was a beautiful afternoon, air temps in the low 60's and water temps still 52-52 F. Our colors were nice in some places and with no wind, leaves were not a problem hanging up on the fly. I said to Joe, my guest that day, "lets hit this one last place before we call it quits." We fished upstream with a dead drift in the deepest part of the pool, nothing. I went through my ususal "tinkering", change flies, adjust weight, adjust the distance from fly to the strike indicator, still nothing. "Joe lets get up on the bank and slowly walk around toward the head of the pool and fish down and across, be quiet and walk slowly getting out" He did as directed and we started down and across from the top once I took off the "bobber". Third cast he had a pull from a small fish at the end of the swing,"there you go", I said, but he didn't connect."take your time and lets continue down staying right on the edge of the bank" After a few minutes, I noticed he was moving the drift too fast and picking up too early."Joe, I said, don't rush it and let me show you how to slow it down" He handed me the rod, I made the cast and verbally instructed what I was doing. I handed him the rod at mid drift and across it came to a straight down position next to our shore. He began to pick up and he got a slight pull in less than 12" of water. He didn't strike back hard, which was a good thing. "There you go I Said, you got a fish!" He tightened, the fish moved off into deeper water. It was a much bigger fish than we have connected earlier. A bull dog fight and I knew it was clearly in the 18 inch category. We landed it and it measured 20 inches on the mark, a beautifully colored up male and it took the small soft hackle wet fly behind a dark Hares Ear Nymph. The only negative was that in preparing to take the picture it slipped out of Joes hand right when I was framing the shot, too bad, but we still had the memory of it, GREAT!
Overall, I must say, the fall fishing has been pretty darn good, even after the damage of Tropical storm Irene. Even some of my small water targets that looked like they were"destroyed "or had "catastrophic" damage, the fish were still there. I'm sure some were lost, pushed downstream or up over the banks. I was still finding 3 year classes of fish and in fishable numbers! I'm convinced they will bounce back quickly because, though the habitat has moved around, it still is there and as I have said before much of the habitat looks to me to be improved!
Only 2 weeks left in the season and only several trips left for me. On a personal note I will be having long needed surgery on the 25th of October. I have had arthritis in my right hip that has been getting worse , especially in the last year. It finally is time and I am having hip rplacement surgery to make me fully mobile once I have rcovered. I will definately be guiding next spring and should be back at my winter job in December, if all things go well. Thanks again to all who have fished with me this season and look forward to next year! You probably will find it will be a little harder to keep up with me as I will be moving alot quicker!