Fishing Report - February 12th, 2024

Alt

February 2024 Fishing Report,

Welcome to the first fishing report of 2024! As in years past the fishing regulations have changed to allow for much more catch and release fishing during the winter months. The state does have several special regulation rivers so be sure you double check that the spot you plan to fish is in fact open prior to wetting a line. 

If you’re like me, my fishing gear has been packed away. Now that the days are getting longer and warmer weather is upon us it’s time to dust that gear off and get out on the water. It’s never a bad idea to go through your gear to check for leaks in your waders, make sure your zingers still retract and the bag on your net is in one piece. Nothing will ruin your first day faster than filling your waders with freezing runoff water.  

In terms of fishing trout’s metabolism slows significantly in the cold winter months. They won’t need to feed as often as they do in the spring. That being said I find if a fish is going to spend the calories to move to feed it needs to be worth it. As fun as it is to see small midges hatch, I wouldn’t hold your breath to see many trout rise to them. I have much better luck with bigger flies. My winter fly selection will usually consist of two weighted flies that are opposite in appearance. Maybe a big bright stonefly and a dead muted colored egg, or a tan squirmy and a bright colored blow torch.    

The winter months are also a time I tend to fish more split shot and indicators. Trout will often hold in deep slow moving water. I find suspending my flies under an indicator allows me to stand further back which hides my presence and also keeps me warmer by standing on the bank. I prefer to fish a right angle rig. I will cut down a 9 foot 4x leader to about 5 feet long. Using the stouter butt section of this leader allows me to roll cast and turn over heavier rigs. False casting these rigs can and often will end in a big tangled mess. I will put a larger tippet ring at the end of the leader and fish level 6x or 5x fluoro tippet down to my flies. I keep my indicator just above this tippet ring to keep it from slipping on that thinner diameter tippet. Another great winter time option is fishing streamers tied on jig hooks. We have added some new patterns for this year like Egan’s poacher, Weiss’ UV jig, and simi seal leaches. All of these are tied with a 4.6mm tungsten bead, dead drifting these can work. You can also use your rod to add a jigging action to them, the heavy weight will keep them close to the bottom and that vertical action in slow water can entice a fish to eat without having to chase it down like it would if it was swung or actively retrieved. I would also encourage you to size up your tippet if you plan to fish a streamer. Having a little more power to set the hook with a thicker gauge hook is never a bad thing. We have started to slowly bring some fly fishing gear back over in the store. So please stop in to get geared up and see what’s new.

We have a couple important dates coming up 2/13 the New Haven River Anglers will host Ben Wilcox from Maple County Anglers at the Marquee Theater in town at 7PM. We also just announced the 16th Otter Creek Classic tournament will be held on May 4th and 5th. We will have more information to come in the next few days about when and how you can register for that.

Cheers,

Craig 

Previous Reports

Alt

Greetings Anglers! I hope everyone is able to get out and enjoy this beautiful state that we live in! Despite the dry summer it seems that the trees don’t really care and are putting on quite the display for us. And we are getting rain, which makes the trees and us happy right? The recent spell of rain seems to have got the fish (trout) kicked into feeding mode, especially on the tribs. After a couple slow days on the Creek, I had a productive few hours on the Middlebury today, with nicely stained water and a ton of leaves to catch!

Alt

Hello Folks! Happy Fall! We did pick up some much needed rain this week, some areas more than others, but after a long, dry summer every bit helps. Locally the Otter seemed to have been the big winner, compliments of some significant downpours in the Rutland and northern Rutland County areas. Levels have seemed to plateau, and despite the big bump in levels, clarity is pretty good. Tribs did see a bit of a bump in levels, but are still low. Water temps have settled back as well.

Alt

Greetings Anglers! While we are still in low water mode, the outlook looks promising. Cooler temps and shots of rain all next week should help the fishing out there. We were out today with a four person guide trip and found some low 60’s on the lower New Haven and upper 60’s on the Creek. We found many species other than trout on the Otter, but fun none the less. In my experience, once the Otter water temp gets in the lower 60’s, the trout become more active. Until we get really colder temps, they are usually found still in the faster water.

Alt

Howdy folks! With some well deserved relief from the heat and much needed rain on the way, things couldn’t be looking better on the local fishing scene. Many Otter tribs started the day in the low 60’s, but are still low and clear. The Otter itself was still a touch over 70 early this morning in the Middlebury area, but I found some mid 60’s further south on the Otter. Some Iso’s, and a few caddis were around. Fish seemed to like the standard Iron Lotus, rainbow warriors, and frenchies. Pretty much what has been producing fish for people the last few weeks.

Alt

Greetings out there anglers! As we turn the corner to September, we’ve got some very similar conditions out on the local rivers. Otter tributaries are low and clear, and although this morning was chilly, it looks like we have a bit more heat and humidity to deal with in the coming days. I was able to get out on the Middlebury River this morning and found a cool 62 degree water temperature in East Middlebury and was able to pick up a few fish from the faster pocket water in that stretch. Most fish came on size 14-16 frenchies.

Alt

Greetings out there anglers! Trout fishing continues to be mostly weather dependent, with cooler mornings and after rain events getting the most action. Who knows, we may have left the majority of the heat and humidity behind us with this last bout storms that rolled through. At least for this coming week, the nighttime lows are looking good, so it is a possibility that some more water could be fishable in the mornings. Please do take temperatures before you start fishing. It seems that most folks are still pickling up fish on nymphs, mostly in sizes 14-16 and of the mayfly variety.