Friday, April 12, 2013

Best Bets for Opening Day


The 2013 trout and C&R bass season starts tomorrow.  Today, we've had a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain which is making roadway travel a bit of a nightmare in the northern half of the state.  We've gotten quite a few calls already inquiring about good fishing options for tomorrow despite the less-than-ideal conditions we are currently up against.  Let's take a look at some opening day options...
The famed steelhead run of the Willoughby River in Orleans probably gets the best rating for its traditional value.  Regardless of the weather, the faithful opening day anglers of the Willoughby will be undoubtedly emerging from their vehicles and stringing rods as the first rays of daylight are peeking over the horizon.  The "Chuck n' Duck" method with a sucker spawn imitation and just enough lead-free shot to lightly tick along the bottom is a great way to fish the Willoughby if flows are on the higher side.  Be sure to keep the rod tip high and a tight line so you are in direct contact with the fly at all times.  When you feel that strange "tick," set the hook!  If flows are lower and cleaner, a tapered leader, a strike indicator like a "thingamabobber" and a weighted fly or added shot is all you need.  In any event, sucker spawn and stonefly imitations are great patterns for the Willoughby in the spring.  Orleans County is also home to the Barton River and Black River, both of which see steelhead runs out of Lake Memphremagog and both of which should not be overlooked.
The Clyde River in Newport, while known primarily for its Spring and Fall run of landlocked atlantic salmon, also welcomes a run of steelhead each spring.  The Clyde is only open from the lower edge of the bridge on Clyde Street down to the mouth until May 11th, but with several Anadromous fish species running the Clyde, you never know what might surprise you.  The Lower Clyde is also conducive to swinging flies for those anglers that prefer not to bottom-bounce.
While their tributaries are ranging in flows, the Lamoille and Winooski mainstems are rockin' pretty good right now and aren't really worth a look this weekend.  Make sure to bookmark our "Conditions" page so you can keep an eye on flows before heading out.  It's wet, cold and dreary but that's April in Vermont!  Here's to flip-flops and bluebird days right around the corner!