Vermont Guides Since 1998

River Report 5/3/18

River Report 5/3/18

River Report: May 3, 2018

Lately it seems like you don’t have to even fall in the river to be wet all day.  Recent rainfall has left Lake Champlain tributaries on the higher and dirtier side for the past week.  However, even though things appear bleak there is still life under the surface.  We have had success between recent rain storms as rivers drop.  As water temperature is starting to warm up we are finding Steelhead in quicker sections (think riffles and look for bubbles on the surface), Suckers in just about every section of rivers, and any day you should see trophy Smallmouth Bass return back to your favorite holes, nooks, bends, and crannies of the river.

Dave Tafur of Caked Snowboards hoisting up a healthy White Sucker. 📸 by Ralph

This is the time of year when you have a shot at our favorite Lake Champlain tributary “Grand Slam”: a bass, sucker, and steelhead.

Craig MacDerment on 4/11 Net job and photo by Ralph. Even though Ralph didn’t know Craig he raced across the river to help him land the fish, get the pic and slap some high fives.

The weather forecast for the week according to is looking like things will be drying out and water clarity should clear up as water levels continue to drop.

This time of year we recommend using a 5-7 Weight 9 Footers as your Swiss Army Knife of a rod.  Use floating line to ensure versatility in all situations and you can start worrying less about tippet size and more about aggressive fish.  6-8lb tippet is low as you’ll need to go and start approaching your favorite spots with quicker presentations (swing your flies instead of “dead drift” them) and look towards banks and tail-outs of runs where hungry drop-back Steelhead or fresh bass coming in from the lake should be hanging out.  Over the past few days we have also encountered some dime bright fish still coming up into our systems, so hopefully that means we will have shots at fish well into May.

A gorgeous Vt Steelhead being released by Ralph. 📸 by Kevin Ramirez

  Flies I recommend using are streamers like: woolly buggers in green, black and white; zonkers in white and black; slump-busters, and jiggly-buggy looking flies with dumbbell eyes for bass like Kevin Ramirez’s “Drunk Dad” pattern.

Now that the NFL draft is over it’s almost football season 🏈 Brian Cadoret 📸by Pogo

Recommended Nymphs include: pheasant tails, stoneflies, copper johns, prince nymphs, and brassies from size 12-18 depending on the size of the bugs flying around.  If you find a pod of suckers don’t be afraid to throw sucker spawn egg patterns because you never know if there is a drop back steelhead capitalizing on a bounty of eggs.

This one fell for a jig style White Wolly Bugger. 📸 Brian Cadoret

Good luck out there and keep your eyes peeled.  Remember that Green Up Day is every day on the river.  Keep up the “Carry In, Carry Out” mentality, discard your fishing line in your pack & pick up any litter left on the river.  When they flood it all goes down to the Lake and the productivity of these tributaries is reliant on clean water.  Thank you and happy fishing.

-Ralph Kucharek

Don’t wait any longer. Book a Lake Champlain Trib Trip asap!