This winter all across Vermont we have had drastic warm periods. Not good for ski areas but has been great for fly fishing opportunities.
As I’m writing this most rivers in the valley’s are totally ice free with very little natural snow on the ground. Normally in February we are limited to only fishing super fast water or the deep holes right below a large waterfall. Everything else freezes totally solid leaving not much to fish.
I’m still mostly fishing streamers but the biggest trout I landed recently was on a jig Pats Rubber Legs. I found the fly in a branch over the summer and the first time I used it was this winter. A huge Rainbow grabbed it and also missed a much smaller trout a few minutes before. The water was super high that day from snow melt. First I fished through the area with a XL Black Wolly Bugger with a second smaller White Bugger following. I usually fish different colors and sizes when streamer fishing. Also having a bright colored fly in high stained water is a great bet. I totally switched up my setup. I walked back up to the start of the run and used a small jig leech with the Pats Rubber Legs dropped off with no indicator. This time through I missed a nice Bow and caught the huge one. So keep switching up flies and fish the water hard.
Streamers- Wolly Buggers, jig leech patterns, Sculpzila, Slump Busters and Conhead Bunnies.
Nymphs- Golden Stone, Turd fly, Prince, Frenchie, Crystal Caddis and the Batman.
Other- Mop Fly, Egg Patterns, San Juan and Squirmy Worms.
Dries- I just got a batch of Ausable Wulffs tied by Brian Zinger. I’m going to add a few to my fly box. I really like fishing dry / dropper setups and since the mountain streams have very little ice and not to much snow the next day it’s super warm and sunny I’m going to take the 3wt for a walk. Not sure if I’ll actually get a fish to take a dry in February but it will be fun trying.
Looking ahead seeing a possible large snowstorm next week but until then some great afternoon fishing temperatures and lots of sunshine!
Good luck and be safe! Don’t forget to get a 2024 VT fishing license! (BC)