Flies & Pies

Flies and Pies

During the off-season we have several meetings were we bring in local fly tyers to share some of the patterns that bring them success in this area. All ages and skill levels are welcome and we will provide tools and materials for the group.  You’re also welcome to bring your own if you have them. In addition to the fly tying, we’ll also have a stack of pizzas to enjoy and fun raffles.

Please check the Events Page often and Like us on Facebook to see when the next scheduled Flies & Pies will take place. All Flies & Pies meetings will be held at the Orvis Fly Fishing School in Manchester, VT. We hope to see you there!

Flies & Pies

Fall Fishing

When leaves start to change color and nights turn chilly, those anglers still on the water are enjoying some of the best brown-trout fishing of the year. Having spent the summer sulking in deep pools and under logs and brush, the biggest browns start to move into shallower, more accessible lies, driven by the spawning urge and the need to bulk up before the long winter. These fish are less cautious and more aggressive than they are in any other season, so if you dream of landing a brown over 20 inches—or maybe even a monster over 10 pounds—then the period from late September through November offers your best shot across much of the country.

 From Top to Bottom
Most fly-fishing for autumn browns requires patterns on opposite ends of the size spectrum—both tiny dry flies and huge streamers can work at different times. The major late-season hatch across most of the country is the Baetis, or blue-winged olive, but the fall species are considerably smaller than their springtime counterparts, so carry patterns in sizes 18 through 22. Flies tied with cul de canard (CDC) wings work especially well because they can be fished on the surface or just below, to mimic emerging mayflies.

The best part about autumn olives is that they usually hatch in mid- to late morning, and the largest emergences occur on overcast, or even snowy, days. Look for fish to start rising in slower water—eddies, back channels, and along the bank. Because most rivers are lower and clearer in fall than they are in spring, you must wade carefully and make delicate presentations. If you cast your line over a trout or allow your fly to drag at the wrong moment, you run the risk of putting the fish down. Move slowly, plan your approach, and focus on achieving a perfect dead drift.

While casting small patterns during a hatch can be a lot of fun, if you’re in search of true lunkers, you’re better off chucking some serious meat flies. Large brown trout are voracious predators, feeding almost exclusively on larger prey such as baitfish, crayfish, and even smaller trout. A growing cult of streamer aficionados takes to heart the old adage that “big flies catch big fish.” Especially in the upper Midwest, it’s not unusual to see anglers casting articulated patterns up to six inches long, loaded up with features such as lead eyes, rubber legs, and sparkly materials.

Oftentimes, the crappier the weather, the better the streamer fishing because the fish are less wary on dark days. Aggressive browns will usually strike a fly as soon as they see it, so if you cast to a spot a couple times without a strike, move on. Covering a lot of water is the key to success, and floating a river is the best way to get your flies in front of a lot of fish. Big browns are generally lazy, preferring to hold in slow water that offers easy access to prey. Anything that interrupts the current along a bank—an indentation, fallen log, or boulder—deserves a cast or two.

Gearing Up
For casting dry flies or nymphs for fall browns, you need to be able to make delicate presentations but still have enough muscle to land a big fish. A 4- to 6-weight rod should do the trick, with the bigger rod preferable on larger rivers. You’ll need a floating line and a 9-foot leader tapered to 5X or 6X, to accommodate tiny flies.

 To avoid blowing out a rotator cuff, use a 7- or even 8-weight rod for casting big streamers. Over the course of a day, you’ll make hundreds of casts, so you’ll want to let the rod do most of the work. A sinking-tip line will get your fly down fast and allows you to use a shorter leader. A 3- to 4-foot level leader of 2X fluorocarbon will give you plenty of pulling power.

One final note: Because brown trout spawn in the fall, wading anglers should be on the lookout for active redds and should take great pains to avoid disturbing the gravel in these areas.

Phil Monahan is the editor of OrvisNews.com. He has guided fly fishers in Alaska and Montana and was the editor of American Angler magazine for almost 10 years.

2012 Mettawee River Project

Mettawee River Project

2012 Mettawee River Project

Our SWVT Chapter has been working with the US Forest Service and Poultney Mettawee Natural Resources Conservation District on restoring fish habitat in the Mettawee River. Working on one section at a time, the group has successfully un-channelized and stabilized sections of the river, as well as created new fish habitat through the placement of tree, root wad, and stone structures.

We will be continuing our on-going collaboration with this effort, so please check back often for volunteer opportunities!

In progress, 2012

Mettawee In progress, 2012

Mettawee Project

 Mettawee Project

Population survey at School site, 2013

Gathering data

Various age classes now present

F3T Recap

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In case you missed it…

Flooding disperses invasive plant and fish species

AP article on invasives

Grant for Reforestation on the Battenkill

This week in the Bennington Banner, Keith Whitcomb Jr. interviewed Greg Peters of the National Forest Foundation about an exciting opportunity to help fund a reforestation project on the banks of the Battenkill.  The National Forest Foundation has entered Odwalla’s “Plant a Tree” contest in hopes of winning a $10,000 grant for the Green Mountain National Forest.  The funding would go toward planting trees between 4 and 5 feet high on the west side of the Battenkill that suffered erosion during Hurricane Irene.  These larger trees will help to stabilize the affected areas and trap sediments from being deposited into the river.

During the months of April and May, people can log onto www.odwalla.com/plantatree and vote for the project of their choice. The ten organizations that receive the most votes will receive a $10,000 grant.

The article states the Green Mountain reforestation project will cost more than the $10,000 and the U.S. Forest Service has limited funds for reforestation projects, most having gone to repair roads damaged by Irene. More funding is being sought.

To read the full article, click here.

Note: When you go to vote for this project, it is on the second page listed in the “Boston Area”.  Just a little confusing.