Thursday, June 16, 2016

Catch 'N' Click

Brian Cadoret and his entry in our Catch'n'Click Photo Contest
We are amidst a great string of trout fishing conditions! The weather is warming fast, but with cooler nights and decent flows, the bigger rivers have been in great shape. The Lamoille was 66 degrees last night at dark. There were a mix of drakes and isonychias with some decent surface feeding activity. Mike lost a dandy of a fish and brought several others to hand on his brown drake cripple pattern. Keep those thermometers handy and take advantage of the cooler weather while it lasts!
Even on a tough bite, Matt Applebaum produces the fish!
The cooler temps this week have put the bass fishing in a little bit of a flux. A change of 10 degrees +/- coolers gets those fish singing a different tune and a little bit more finicky to figure out. As a fly guy primarily, I struggle a bit in those situations since I really try to force-feed a surface bite as much as possible, especially with clients in the boat. It's hard to argue that surface bites are far more exciting.  This warm up will get those fish in a better rhythm for sure! Tag-teamed a trip of mixed fly and spin anglers with Matt the other day and Matt proved why he is the man with the plan when it comes to the conventional bass game!
Happy Client w/ Not-So-Happy Fish
If you haven't downloaded our new app yet, get on board! We have a Catch'n'Click photo contest going on right now until 6/24 and you can win free stuff just by submitting your best photo! Also keep up on river flows, weather, reports all in one place!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Trout Weather!

Guided outing with a very fishy father / son duo the other day
Last week we were in such a heat wave and low water period, things were starting to look pretty bleak in the local trout fishing world. Now the forecast has changed drastically, calling for potential SNOW at higher elevations over the next couple nights! That would be only the 3rd or 4th time in history that's happened this time of year!...crazy!
Aside from the cooler weather, we've had some great rain and scattered t-storms this week that have brought water levels back up to at least, seasonal averages. The Lamoille turned into a river of chocolate for a couple days, but receded very, very quickly and actually dropped in level faster than it improved in clarity, which is kind of backwards.
Bud-Hole Surfers for a special order
What all this means of course is trout fishing should be excellent over the next several days. More often than not, it's too warm to fish Brown Drakes on the Lamoille in early June, but we may actually get a crack at them this year! We just threw some BD cripple patterns down in the fly bins and a large PT nymph will cover the sub-surface imitation. Just before dark is the time for that hatch on silty sections of the Lamoille in particular.
We've been playing musical boats in the barn, having moved the rafts into the back during the heatwave and pulling the motor boats front and center. We've been running our rafts locally for over 10 years now and we know the limits for pulling off a quality float. You won't see us ping-ponging paying customers down bony water just because we have inflatable drift boats...that's not a quality experience in our opinion. Prime time for floating this week. We've got a seat for ya!
Fishing with a REAL bass pro
Matt Applebaum has been crushing the bass lately and next week I'm excited to team up with Matt to guide a family of fly and spin anglers. Matt will make himself available just about any time that is convenient for you, so get on the boat with a real bass pro that is a master of his game!
The Ditch Pickle Classic is getting close and, with over 150 anglers already registered, we've been busy to say the least with Pickle prep and filling special fly orders. We will have flies for sale at the DPC check-in on 6/25, but it would be very helpful to get your orders to us ahead of time! This year we're rolling out the Official Ditch Pickle Classic Tournament App, so get over to your app store and download it now!

Friday, June 3, 2016

It's Pickle Month!

Our buddy Mike T. crossing one off the bucket list this week!
Smallies on top!
We have been stuck amidst this high pressure system that's been blasting the heat and shining brightly the past week. With not much precip, our larger rivers skyrocketed in temp, getting well into the 70's. Not good for C&R trout fishing, so we've been keeping busy on the smaller water and the bass water. The last couple nights have brought water temps down in the am hours a bit. The Lamoille at 9am today was 65 degrees in Jeffersonville. Great guided outings this week with some awesome new and repeat clients! The low water, bright sun conditions have the trout a little stuck up, but quality presentations will still yield hookups. Ditch the larger thingamabobbers in the low water and go with yarn or a dry fly indicator for the most stealthy approach. Stay low and be stealthy.
Bassin's been fun lately, with the surface bite really turning on as the spawn wraps up. I had a great outing yesterday with some great casters that absolutely smoked the smallies on topwater! A couple tips of successful smallmouth fishing....1. Let the fly settle before stripping; 2. Long casts catch way more fish; 3. When the fish crashes on your fly, strip like crazy to keep the fish tight and lose less fish!
Stay low and stealthy in low water, spooky conditions

Friday Tying Video - Skitter Frog

The Skitter Frog is a spin off of the very popular Morrish Mouse. Add a mono weed guard if that's your flavor!
Only 3 materials on this bad boy!

Tied by Steve Stanley

Danville 210 Denier thread -!/Danville-210-Denier-Flat-Waxed-Thread/p/41602151/category=10745023
Deer Belly Hair -!/Deer-Belly-Hair-Dyed-Over-White/p/42462289/category=10710097
Fly Foam -!/Fly-Foam/p/50596472/category=10745028
TMC 8089 -!/Tiemco-8089/p/67117933/category=10710145

Friday, May 27, 2016

Cold Water Window Closing. It's bassin' time!

The trout fishing has been stellar this week, but the window of cold water is closing fast with 80+ degree air temps all week! The Lamoille has already jumped up considerably, measuring 69 degrees this afternoon in Jeffersonville! That means it's time to find colder water or to shift efforts to warm water fish. 
Custom DPC Tunaskin for 2016
Speaking of warm water fish, we have over 130 anglers already registered for our catch-photo-release tournament on Lake Champlain, the Ditch Pickle Classic! If you've not been a part of this event, you should be! Check out the video above for a glimpse into Team Hook Shots trials and tribulations in the 2015 DPC.
If you are already registered, hopefully you're building up your fly arsenal for the big weekend! We've got loads of locally-tied patterns and all the materials to tie them as well in stock, so come check us out. 
Check out the new design we threw together for our custom DPC Tunaskin shirts! Every angler that fishes the DPC gets one of these beauties included with their entry fee! Not to mention all the other swag from our sponsors that is also included for just $50!
Check out for more info and get your team together soon!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Sorry If We Missed You!

Looking out the office window
I want to first apologize to anyone that came out to the shop to find nobody here this past weekend. Mike and I have been super busy with tours and classes and it's been a struggle to find shop coverage. We're happy to be so busy and we're doing our best to keep up, so please bare with us. We sincerely appreciate the support we get from our local and visiting community if anglers!
Coolest Couple Ever!
Floating and wading tours this past week have had great success thanks to the great conditions we're having presently. Bright sun has really been keeping rising activity down throughout the day, but the fish are still chomping below the surface! Whether they're swung or dead-drifted, Pheasant Tail nymphs have been the hot nymph. Mike's guys hammered'em drifting PT's along the seam and I found fish that only wanted them swung through the fast water. Either way, have some bead head PT's in your box! We've got'em locally-tied right here in the shop!
I floated possibly the coolest couple ever the other day and the fish karma was definitely on their side. The fish were really chasing streamers and the sunny conditions made for some very cool visuals! Sitting in the front seat of our Star raft is like being on top of the world. You can see everything and watch the fish chase and hammer your fly. Such a good time!
One of many from the day
Last night's scattered t-storms brought water levels up in some spots. The Lamoille had bumped up on the upper river, but flows hadn't yet made it downstream as of writing this post. Air temps are on the rise, so we really need some more widespread rain to keep things fishy. Water temps on the Lamoille are right around 60 up high and a couple degrees warmer down river. We've been catching stocked brookies in the Lamoille which is strange. They must have gotten thrown in the mix.
Small Stream Wonders (D. Harben Photo)
The tributaries are producing a mix of stocked and wild ones as well. Flows on the tribs have been getting a bit low, so fish are more readily jumping on dries and small nymphs vs. the larger stuff. 
One thing that is for sure is there has been a lot of people out and about fishing lately! Between seeing folks in the shop and on the water, it is very much apparent that the season is in full swing!
The bassin' scene is in a transition between pre-spawn and fish that are in full spawn mode with no interest in eating a fly or lure. Matt has had some great success on the still water, so give a buzz and go fishing with him!
We could use some help in the shop so, if you know of anyone that may fit the part, please let us know!