March River Report
As we march our way into March, the excitement starts to build for spring, warm weather, and more fishing opportunities. However, March in Vermont is still winter. We can expect more cold and snow well into April sometimes. Today is a perfect example, 40 degrees, and rain this morning, then a blizzard this afternoon, and tomorrow morning it will be sunny and in the single digits with wind chills approaching -20. The 7-day forecast has highs only in the 20’s.
February left river conditions in a frozen state. It started cold and stayed that way. All the snow that we got stayed around until we lost a little over the past couple of days. Needless to say, trying to find a place to cast a fly has not been easy. Skiing on the other hand has been great and all that snow in the mountains will help keep water temps cool as we get into May. I don’t recommend river fishing when conditions are in the shape they are. Not worth it to me. There are so many other winter activities to do. A big part of the reason why I love Vermont.
March is a transition month and typically a tough month to catch fish anyhow, because like I said before, it’s still winter. Even if the rivers were free of ice, the water temp will still be around 32 degrees as long as the ice is present bank side. The sun in March is noticeably warmer, so if we can get some sun and a warm front it can turn the fish on and more importantly the aquatic insects. Generally, by the end of March, the river has lost their ice, and fly fishers are quick to start chasing steelhead and rainbow trout as they begin to spawn.
I March, I like to fish nymphs and streamers. There isn’t much chance of a hatch, but nymphs are always available. Small black stoneflies are always on the move in March. Having a bunch of your favorite imitations in sizes #16-14 is great. With fish in spawn mode including suckers, egg patterns are also a great option. Sucker spawn patterns in beige and peach are killer. As we get to the end of the month and start to see the water temps increase 2 to 3 degrees during the day, I like to start swinging streamers. Black and White depending on the clarity of the water.
If you have been having a tough time hooking up on Lake Champlain run steelhead, don’t feel bad. VT steel is earned, so give one of our guides a shot. They will be out targeting steelhead as soon as the opportunities present themself. They have earned it and can show you some techniques and strategies to make you more successful.