We are officially 2 weeks out from the OCC15 and IF4 Film tour! Make sure you secure your tickets to the IF4 at Town Hall Theater in Middlebury on Friday the 14th. Doors at 6, Showtime 7:30. Also head over to the website for information on the OCC15.
It’s go time!!! River conditions have stayed pretty much the same throughout the week offering surprisingly good waterflows and clarity. The last 5 days have seen smaller bumps as the afternoon warmth letting some of the snow in the mountains go. But its is coming off slowly. This is as about as ideal as it can be. Still having a good snow pack in the mountains but the valley is almost clear of snow will allow the water on the lower parts of watershed top warm up as its not getting infused with more cold water in the valley. We have already seen some low to mid forties. When the water get around this level the bugs do start moving. We have seen Small Brown Stones joining the last of the Smaller Black Stones and reports of Caddis and Blue Quills from the southern part of the state. That’s all a green light. These are the conditions that some of the largest wild fish are caught in during the year and as the snowmelt subsides the fishing only gets better.
With Thursday’s quick cold front that should steady the water for a day or two until Friday nights precipitation comes in through Saturday. It’s looking warm this weekend, so I’d expect a good push of water. The long term forecast looks about as ideal as possible. I assume this weekend will kick the full brunt of runoff and the tribs will blow for a few days and start clearing out the mountain snow. But we are releasing the snow pretty consistently and for those looking ahead to the OCC15, I’m hopeful for some very good fishing conditions as long as we don’t get too much rain over the coming weeks.
Be ready for anything depending on when you get out. If you can beat the weekend rain and fish Friday before the water comes up. I think you’ll find most the tribs in a really good place. You could find good flows, clarity and bug life, or you could find some higher, off color water that will require different approach. It could be more technical in the clearer water with fish sulking in the cold water and high sun, or the off color water could allow for bigger fish to dominate the best positions in the pool and give you some ability to approach. With the water still being in the high 30s to low forties make sure you put some flies through the slower stuff adjacent to the prime lies, to pick off any fish avoiding the current.
Another fun option this time of the year is to chase the Lake Chaplain trib fish. These Chambers Creek Strain rainbows can grow to some sizable and formidable opponents. The first push of these fish are moving around and I would expect any new influx of water to bring more in. These fish are a success story of Lake Champlain management and the numbers have been growing substantially in the last decade. Swung flies and nymphs with a bit of color seem to trigger some stronger responses in these fish. Pull out the map and find a few tribs for a visit in the coming weeks.
Just a reminder to wade safely out there. River conditions can change quickly this time of the year and clarity makes it more difficult to know where the river is deeper. The Otter creek tribs can change allot year to year and you might find you favorite hole filled in and a new one somewhere else. Just be mindful of what your doing as we all get our legs back into fishing shape after the winter.
The shop is gearing up for the season with new stuff arriving daily. Swing through and check out what’s going on, get the most updated fishing information and head out to scout for the OCC. Make sure you get your If4 tickets and get registered for the OCC. It should be a fund few weeks leading into the season and we are all excited to see in the coming week. Good Luck and Have fun.
The 15th Annual Otter Creek Classic is just a few weeks away. Make sure you get your tickets for the International Fly Fishing Film Festival at Town Hall Theater on April 14th as well. More information at:
As we look towards February and slowly lengthening days, we find ourselves in the center of the winter months. The next few weeks will probably determine what our sustained snowpack will look like, so despite the desire to want spring fishing conditions, think snow. Overall, this year’s milder weather has offered what feels like more days to get on the water that are above freezing. The challenge has been working around the changes in water levels and turbidity related to melt and rain. Even with those hurdles we have still found some productive fishing locally.
RIVER CONDITIONS: Water levels are in very good shape and will continue to drop and warm over the week. The warm weather the next few days should push water temps into optimal fishing temps, though without rain the clarity may make for some challenges in the high sun. It looks like the Otter in Middlebury will be below 1000cfs which is a rarity during the OCC. This should open allot more good fishing options for the event.