Vermont Guides Since 1998

River Report 4/4/2018

River Report 4/4/2018

River Report 4/4/18

Lake Champlain Steelhead

It’s that time of year. Rainbow trout are making their annual pilgrimage from Lake Champlain into its plethora of tributaries. We find ourselves in a unique position with miles of river to fish for the illusive steelhead and the only way to catch a glimpse will be if your flies are wet.

For the past month anglers have found success, but with recent rainfall and high flows it has been more of a game of finding a needle in a haystack. However, do not discount rivers because the water is off-colored. As water temps remain on the colder side of the spectrum, pockets of soft water are going to be your ticket for finding some chrome.

Persistence is key this time of year and do not be afraid to work a run for several dozen drifts and change flies and your presentation. With high flows and cold temps these fish glue themselves to the bottom of the run.

Ralph changing flies in the cold  rain today.

While nymphing we are using 9-12’ long fluorocarbon leaders with a split shot about 12-18” above the first fly with a dropper off the back. When swinging flies casting sink tips at 7ips and 1.5/2 ips have been enough get flies deep enough in small pockets.

Patterns that have been working well are woolly buggers in black and olive, San Juan worms, black stoneflies, green caddis imitations, PT and prince nymphs, orange eggs, and buggy little critters. I recommend tying on the heaviest fly at the top and use an unweighted dropper off the back.

Hopefully these tips help you on your next outing and have fun chasing one of the crown jewels of our lake. With no sarcasm, the best way to catch these fish is to get out there and make sure your flies are in the water. They can turn on at any time and its best to be there when that is.

Good luck. -Ralph Kucharek


This is a great time of the year to hire a Stream and Brook guide and  have them give you some Steelhead 101. Depending on flow and water temps we catch them into mid May in the tribs. Then it’s all about the Small Mouth Bass in similar areas!

With Rich Strolis last May.