7/21/14 -Taking into account that fact this is just my 6th summer here in Vermont, I do not remember one summer previous here that has been this cool, with multiple nights in the high 40's. This has kept our Otter Creek Tributaries cool then I can recall. Usually from Mid-July to Mid-August we are lucky to be able to find brook trout water that is under 70 degrees, but that hasn't been a problem this year. The Otter still continues to be far too warm to safely fish, but at 73 degrees, I am impressed its not in the high 70's. While continuing one of the more impressive guiding streaks this last week, I was able to fish Dog Team in the morning and found a 64 degree water temp, the Midd was 63 that afternoon. That being said it looks like we are about to have 3 of the warmest days we have had in awhile, however the temps by mid-week will have dropped again. I'm not sure what is causing this cool weather, but we should all be very thankful.
With that being said the trout have responded quite well. The cooler water temps were putting the trout in that sweet low to mid 60 degree range that gets them eating and happy. I was very nice getting the push of rain we got on last Tuesday, but now the rivers are very low. So despite having the options of fishing a few spots on the lower New Haven and Middlebury, I continue to have success fishing in the pocket water upstream. Its an obvious advantage to be there with the broken water. The levels are so low that its can be challenging to fish the lower stuff and not spook fish. Working pocket water will give you the advantage of being able to move around without as much affect of the fishing. The pockets also offer an considerable higher oxygen content, which fish will migrate to to be able to deal with the hot summer days. Plus, the areas of higher gradient have good macroinvertebrate populations. Given that the golden stones are hatching, the pocket water is full og stoneflies for the fish to enjoy.
Further up the hill, the brook trout fishing will be in full swing. This is the time of the year where the brookies are all over the dry flies. The higher elevation fishing offers the angler a slightly cooler water temperature, beautiful scenery, and solitude. Who can argue with that. This is a great time to get out and explore some small water I have a few favorite places with small waterfalls and hidden pools, that have plenty of willing brook trout but are rarely visited by other anglers. Vermonts wealth of Brook trout fishing is impressive.
Here in mid-July, the bug hatches have slowed some, but we are still seeing some Small Green Stones, Yellow sallies, Blue Quills, Baetis, and plenty of Caddis. I watched a fish eat Caddis aggressively on Otter Creek the other day while I was playing by the river with my family. I am also expecting some Tricos very soon. We will also start seeing the "upward snowing" soon, a mix of White Caddis(white miller) and the Euphoron(coffin fly. This is an impressive event for those who see it. The combination of the the two different species of flies hatching can make for a dizzying blur of white bugs pouring offf the water. This happens most strongly on the Otter, which in never quite cool enough to fish for trout this time of the year. However, these hatches are a sight to behold, and you can also catch them as the sneak up into the lower portions of the Otter Creek tributaries. These two species mean more to me as a sign that my favorite time of the year is almost here. Chasing the "summer snow" hatches come our drake hatch. Yes the Isonychia is closer then we realize. I have started seeing a number of Iso nymphs on the lower trib rivers. I think in the back of my mind, I am so excited about the cooler summer, because it makes me hope that we may be able to have cool enough water on the Otter to fish the Iso's. One the iso's start they are around on and off until Mid- September. So we always get sometime to fish them, but the strongest hatches are mid-August, so keep thinking cool weather! Fishing a drake hatch is heaven, and I hope we all get a chance soon. Last on the docket for bugs, are the increasing abundance of terrestrials. I've seen bees, ants, crickets, grasshoppers, spiders and plenty of other things near the river or on the water. Yesterday, I found a spot that had a few dead houseflies on the water. So having a few terrestrials in your box can beneficial this time of the year.
Pike and Bass fishing is inits full swing with carp and Gar also being a target as well. The Otter is still a bit over its average flow for this time of the year, and we typically have a harder time producing consistent action this time of the year, the fishing for pike has remained semi-consistent. With the increased pressure on the fish this year, we are hearing more from people of fish chasing but not committing, which is to be expected. Sometimes a change in color or size can be the solutions. More natural fly patterns start to be a better choice as the water levels continue to drop. The top-water has also been effective. Reports of Bass fishing have been solid to great. The Bass are certainly willing to chase flies and eat poppers too. Lake Champlain has fished well during the last week.
Looking forward the next few warm days may present a challenge but the cold front start Thursday should put us back to where we want to be and continue our great streak of cool July weather. Some rain would always help. Remember for trout, that small tippet sizes are better. With the lower water levels the shorter 7.5' leader is more then enough to work the smaller streams. We have had success with fluorocarbon being used as our dropper material in our dry dropper rigs.
It's been a great summer so far, so get out and enjoy. we have some guiding spaces open over the next week, but are still very busy, so give us a call if you are looking to get out and we will find a way to fit you into the schedule. So much to fish here in Vermont, so get out and enjoy, the summer is half way over already. Good Luck and Have Fun!
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|River||Water Temp||Water Clarity||Last Update||Hatches|
|Otter Creek||73-77||Just Off, Typical Otter||Jul 21 2014 - 1:14pm||N/A|
|New Haven River||64-71||Clear||Jul 21 2014 - 1:12pm||Small Green Stones, Yellow Sallies, Caddis, Blue Quills, Golden Stones, Midge|
|Middlebury River||64-68||Clear||Jul 21 2014 - 1:09pm||Small Green Stones, Yellow Sallies, Caddis, Blue Quills, Golden Stones, Midge|
|New Haven River||64-68||Clear||Jul 7 2014 - 12:05pm||Caddis, Baetis, Midge, Small Green Stones|
|Middlebury River||64-68||Clear||Jul 7 2014 - 11:58am||Caddis, Baetis, Midge, Small Green Stones|
Detailed Fishing Reports
Pike and Bass fishing on the Otter has been very solid. Paul Warner is holding his personal best Pike above. He measured it at 45". Pike guiding has been good as of late. Let us take you out for a float on our comfortable raft.
The New Haven fished well all last week. The cool nights gave us shots at the lower river for the first time in a week or so. That will change again with the next 3 days of warm weather. The water levels are low, so be stealthy as you move around. We have had luck with the smaller wild rainbows near Bristol.
The Midd has been running cool over the last week. The water levels can make for challenging conditions, but over all the fishing has remained good. The pocket water above route 7 all the way up to Ripton has been fishing with some consistency. Dry-dropper rigs have been the choice of guides. The mornings seems to have the strongest bug activity. Light tippets and fluorcarbon for nymphs are recommended. A fair amount of Golden Stones did hatch during the last raised water column event on last Wednesday.
The New Haven continues to fish well. The cool down offered us a 62 degree morning water temp on Saturday, it won't last but its nice to see. Dave K. said they took multiple fish on caddis pupas, and had a few swat at a dry without hooking up. The pocket water near Britol is always a good bet this time of the year.
The Midd was quite low yesterday when we fished it, but was still fishing well. The fish were very willing to take both dries and nymphs. We found most of our fish in the pocket water. The upper stretches are producing productive brook trout fishing. Getting up in elevation is a great way to beat the heat. The Upper Midd is highly forested and offers some much cooler water.