4/14/14 - There is something very satisfying about finally making it to the other side of the Opening Day Tunnel. Thanks for sticking with us through the winter and sorry for not getting the intel up as soon as possible this weekend. It was a wild weekend and the 6th Annual Otter Creek Classic is in the books. This years extended day of competition was met with lots of praise so we can plan on a two day event from now on. It was brutal to not be out there fishing with everybody this year, but everything ran smooth so I am happy. The results are posted below. We can't tell you how much we appreciate everybody coming out and supporting the OCC and in turn the New Haven River Anglers Association. We here at the Middlebury Mountaineer are honored to be part of such a great fishing community.
It was no surprise that the fishing was difficult at best over the weekend. Spring came on so fast here and our rather large snowpack started making its way down the hill pretty fast. Combined with the rain over Saturday night, some very challenging conditions ensued. Despite the appearance of the Caddis and Baetis, along with the already Small Black and Brown Stoneflies the fish were only seeming to move to streamers in the off color water. Tandem streamer rigs seem to be the choice of the anglers who connected throughout the weekend. This will continue to be the best options for the coming days until our water levels drop. That may not come into play until the weekend with the forecasted rain and the remaining snowmelt over the next two days. It would be my guess that once the rivers do settle we can expect some very good April fishing moving forward and water temps climbing well into the forties. If you do choose to get out over the next day or two, be very careful with the elevated water. A flood watch remains in effect through Wednesday.
What can you expect in the coming days? Well the Otter will be pretty much untouchable for the next 2-4 weeks depending on the remaining snow and rain. It takes quite awhile for it to drop. Watch the USGS gauges for the most up to date levels. Look for around 1200cfs in Middlebury for things to start really fishing well. That will be awhile. It will also back up the lower stretches of the tributaries. The Otter Tribs and their Tribs will be the best bet for quality angling in the coming week, and even those will be high with the snowmelt and rain. I look for about 400 on the New Haven gauge as a sign of decent wading conditions. The further south you go the smaller the system, the faster the recovery. Furnace Brook and Neshobe both put out fish over the weekend. Stick with streamers until we get about 12-18 inches of visibility, than larger nymphs, and maybe start to play to the hatch cycle. The large stonefly nymphs can be deadly this time of the year when the water has a bit better clarity. You will see the last of the Black Stones, plenty of Small Brown Stones hatching. Then the Caddis and Baetis will become a top choice until the Hendricksons start showing up. Having all of the options in your nymph box is good, as fish may be keying in on one or the other, or even switch suddenly. We will still have a nice stretch of time where the fish have been less pressured, so we can get away with a bit more as we all shake the dust off. We can also expect the suckers to begin their spawn very soon as well. This can effect all of the otter creek tributaries as well as the Lake Champlain Tribs as well. Just worth taking note of for other fly pattern ideas to consider. Also they can sure bend a fly rod.
If you like fishing the Lake Champlain Tribs, this water push is what you want to see. The Lake fish will be on the move pushing up into the river systems. We have reports that they are already moving hard. When the water clears it will be time. It will also not be far off to start fishing the Smallies soon as well. For now those fish are used to chasing baitfish so streamers can be effective for the first bit then moving to imitation of present insects will be best. Most of the Tribs have solid early season Caddis hatches that are noteworthy. The Chartruese and Tan Caddis Pupa swung behind a streamer has been one of our favorites. Longer river systems like Lewis Creek take a bit more time to have decent clarity.
With the Creek at the current level the Pike fishing will take a bit. Those fish will be on the Spawn for the coming weeks. When they finish they need a few days before they put the feed bag on. They will stay up out of current until the water begins to recede. As the water begins to really drain, they will be on the hunt. Many of the local guys are twitching with anxiety, waiting for the first few pike of the year.
We would like to extend a BIG congratulations to our two OCC6 Champs. Brian Cadoret, our OCC6 Professional Division Champion, grabbed his second title this year since his OCC1 victory 5 years ago. Brian was the only one to catch fish both days and showed a great ability to change his plan and work for his Championship. He is one of two anglers to hold two OCC victories. Ross Crowne took his first OCC Amatuer Division Championship. For those who don't know Ross he is 13 years old, and is a force to be reckoned with. His OCC6 title places him into the Pro bracket next year, where he belongs. Ross also landed the Big Fish of the event with a 22" Brown that was a beauty. He also put up higher number than anybody in the entire tournament. Congrat again to both of these fine anglers! For the rest of the results follow this link: http://mmvt.com/content/2014-6th-annual-otter-creek-classic-opening-week...
We are very excited to have the 2014 season underway. I look forward to seeing you all and getting time n the water with many of you. Thank You again for all of the support. Good Luck and Have Fun!
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|River||Water Temp||Water Clarity||Last Update||Hatches|
|Otter Creek||38.5||Muddy||Apr 14 2014 - 3:54pm||Brown Stones, Black Stones, Caddis|
|New Haven River||36||Muddy||Apr 14 2014 - 3:49pm||Brown Stones, Caddis, Baetis|
|Middlebury River||35||Off Color||Apr 14 2014 - 3:45pm||Brown Stones, Caddis, Baetis|
|Neshobe River||34||Off Color||Apr 14 2014 - 4:04pm||Brown Stones, Caddis, Baetis|
|Furnace Brook||34.5||Off Color||Apr 14 2014 - 3:35pm||Brown Stones, Caddis|
Detailed Fishing Reports
The Otter is its usual messy self, dealing with runoff. It will break 4,000cfs tonight and maybe get way higher with the rain coming. No real viable option here for a few weeks while we flush out all the snow on the western side of the Green Mountains. The bug activity is impressive too.
The New Haven had some decent fishing during the weekend but quickly has come up and dirty with the remaining snowmelt. Plenty of bugs hatching on the river over the last few days. When the water comes around the New Haven can have some of the warmer temps of all of the Otter Creek tribs and should start producing some great wild fish. Stick with the big stuff until the clarity returns.
The Midd is very dirty and high today. We have seen plenty of bugs on it in the last 3 days but the fishing will be slow until the clarity returns. Stick with streamers, until it comes around.
The Nesh is pretty blown out today with thge last of the snow coming down the hill. One of the OCC fish did come out of the Neshobe this weekend. There was also a notable Caddis hatch happening on Saturday. The Nesh can recover quickly from water surges, so after the coming rain, it may be one of the first solid options.
Furnace is backed up quite a bit in the lower section of the system due to Otter Creeks higher level. It does have some of the cleaner water in the area, as of Sunday. Todays warmth may get the last of the snow down the hill creating some more clarity issues. A few fish were caught here during the weekend. Streamers continue to be the best option until a change in water conditions.