There are a variety of great fly fishing opportunities in Vermont due to the variety of species found in its many cold northern lakes and streams. Vermont is home to a few classic, hallowed trout streams such as the Battenkill. However, there is great small stream and lake fishing opportunities to be found off the beaten path. Many Vermont rivers and streams feature great hatches in text book fly fishing situations during the right time of year, and the right time of day.
- Fly Fishing Batten Kill Browns and Brookies
- Lamoille River Fly Fishing
- The White River in Central Vermont
Fishing the Battenkill
Manchester Vermont is famous for the Battenkill, a blue ribbon fishery, which draws fly fishermen from throughout the East. Best known for it’s prolific Hendrickson hatch, the Battenkill is at its finest in May and June. If you cannot or did not make it for the Hendrickson hatch, do not despair, for Dorothea, Isonychia, Baetis, Trico and Pseudocleon will follow. Revered as a local treasure, you will understand why the Battenkill brown trout are referred to as Battenkill gold. The mayflies may be ephemeral, but the memories last forever. As of 2000, the Vermont section of the Battenkill beginning at Dufresne Pond is catch and release only.
The Mettawee River
The Mettawee River is mainly a small quick freestone creek. Unstocked since 1970, it holds a good population of wild rainbow and wild brown trout. Easy to wade with good hatches all season long, this is a great classroom for the beginning fly fisher. The Mettawee has a two fish limit although we support catch and release. Other rivers to fish in the immediate area are Otter Creek, Walloomsac, the Roaring Branch and several other fine streams, lakes and ponds. While not as well known as the Battenkill, these waters furnish an excellent getaway for both fishing variety and solitude.
Fishing the White River: Understanding Flow Conditions
- Under 200 cfs: During the fall, the dry fly fishing can be exceptional on the entire river at these flows, if you capitalize on the abundant BWO and midge activity. In warm weather, water temperatures can become a major issue. Fish early in the day and concentrate on the riffles that empty into deep pools. The mouths of the tributaries and places where springs enter the river will hold trout when water temps creep into the 70’s. Don’t forget about the smallmouth in the lower river, they are excellent sport on the fly rod!
- 200-500 cfs: These are the conditions we see the most during the regular season. Levels are optimum for wade trips, but float trips are confined to the lower river (below Royalton) where excellent populations of trout and big smallmouth bass exists. Wading is relatively easy, but inexperienced waders will find a staff useful in the riffles. The trout will be in their normal lies and fishing should be great. Go for the bass when water temps are an issue. Throw a big streamer and hold on!
- 500-1200 cfs: Superb flows for a drift trip from Bethel downstream to West Hartford. Wade fishing can be equally productive, but be prepared for some challenging river crossings when the river is at 750-1200 cfs. The trout can be anywhere. Large nymphs and streamers will consistently put trout in the boat. These are common conditions during late spring/early summer.
- 1200-2800 cfs: A drift trip is about your only option at these flows anywhere on the main stem of the river, unless you want to spot hop the pools. At the upper end of these levels wading can be downright dangerous. The good news is, the Third Branch and the Ottauquechee River are now options for floating in addition to our normal areas on the main stem. Throwing big streamers to the banks or deep nymphing the runs can produce some impressive fish. The angler who can cast quickly and accurately should see a great deal of action. Five or six weight, fast action rods with heavy tippets and a lot of weight are the norm. These are typical conditions during the early season and my favorite drift boat flows for big trout. The wading angler should find a tributary or try the headwaters of the White or it’s branches.
Small Streams of Vermont
Vermont is chock full of small mountain streams. Small stream fishing can have a way of making you feel like the best fly fisherman in the world. Here, hungry trout will seemingly rise on every cast. This can be a place to go to rebuild your confidence after the “big water” has bruised your ego. Yet this is not the only reason try Vermont tributaries. It can be as easy or as difficult as you want to make it. This can be a truly rewarding way to fish for trout, with an emphasis on the fun and relaxing aspects of our beloved sport, or a test of your skills, trying to present your fly in the most technical of casting situations. A method of fly fishing that in some cases is more like trout hunting, than trout fishing. This is the beauty of small stream fishing, you make it what you want it to be. Lose yourself in the very things that attracted you to fly fishing to begin with; beautiful serene streams, full of wild brook, rainbow and brown trout. These waters are the first to stabilize and fish well in early spring and they continue to offer outstanding angling opportunities all season long.
Very General Overview of Seasonal Hatches
|Dates / Season
|May / Spring
|Hendrickson (Ephemerella subvaria)
|June – July
|Sulphur and Cahill (Ephemerella dorothea)(Ephemera varia)
|Little Blue Winged Olives (Pseudocleoen anoka)
|Caddis (various species)
Vermont has the most pike fishing in New England, beginning with its side of Lake Champlain. Pike exist throughout the lake, orienting to weed beds in depths of three to ten feet in the spring and fall, and weedlines along the eight- to twenty-foot contours in the summer.Champlain holds pike throughout its structure-filled lower section. The deltas and lower stretches of Otter, Little Otter and Lewis Creek have pike, too.
The pike fishing on Champlain improves as you move north. St. Albans Bay, Lapans Bay, Keeler’s Bay, Dillenbeck Bay, Pelots Bay, Missisquoi Bay, and Kelly Bay are good pike bays. During summer, look to shoals and islands that offer the combination of weeds near deep water.
Other Vermont pike waters include Lake Bomoseen, Lake Hortonia, Lake St. Catherine, Bristol Pond, Arrowhead Lake, Lake Elmore, Lake Carmi. In recent years Norton Pond in the Northeast Kingdom has joined the list of Vermont’s top pike lakes. Other waters on the eastern side of the state, most notably the Connecticut River setbacks, have some northern fishing, too.
Browns and Brookies in Vermont
From the Vermont Guide to Fishing
lists popular fishing spots within the Middlebury Ranger district of this forest in Vermont
by John Merwin; Why the Battenkill May Be the Most Technically Difficult Fly-Fishing Stream in America
Detailed flyfishing information for the Batten Kill River in New York and Vermont, including an overview of the river, local lodges, flyshops, fishing reports, weather, hatch charts and more
The Lamoille River in Vermont is a classic trout stream and has earned the reputation of being one of the state
From Mark William
From Mark Williams Trout Fishing Sourcebook, GORP’s guide to Trout Fishing in Vermont: Northern Rivers…
From Mark William’s Trout Fishing Sourcebook, GORP’s guide to Trout Fishing in Vermont: Southern Rivers…
from Vermont Outdoor Guide Association
US Forest Service info on rivers of Green Mountain National Forest: Middlebury, Deerfield, White, Otter, Mad, Tweed, Battenkill
Vermont Mountain Trout – The White River in Central Vermont…
Brookies Guide Service is a licensed, professional guide service providing you with some of the finest fly fishing in central and northern Vermont.
Match the Hatch with our comprehensive hatch chart database of Rivers, Hatch data and recommended Patterns.
Battenkill, Otter Creek, Walloomsac, Mettawee River, Roaring Branch
from Battenkill Outfitters
Vermont stream report from vermontbrookies.com
2703 Waterbury Rd, Stowe, VT 1-800-253-7346
34 Mills Avenue, So. Burlington, VT 05403 (802) 863-6105
P.O. Box 1114 Manchester Village, Vermont 05254 802 362 5589
4200 Route 7A Manchester VT, USA 05255
Route 100 Wilmington, VT 05356 802-464-6263.