The last two years we haven't had much in the way of late summer/early fall trout fishing on our region's streams, thanks to really low water.
The drought conditions of the last two years clearly took a toll on wild trout numbers, and thankfully we had a cooler, wetter summer this year.
The Batten Kill is usually the best late summer stream around here thanks to cool feeder streams and groundwater, so with a day off Friday I headed out early in the morning to find some new spots in eastern Washington County and western Vermont.
I was on the river on a cold, 45-degree morning by 7:30 a.m., and found the stream clear as I waded into a stretch just over the Vermont line. I quickly hooked up with a small brown trout of about 5 inches, a nice sight as it was undoubtedly a wild fish at that size.
In the next half hour I landed another brown of about 10 inches just over the Vermont state line, and had a couple of other hits. When the sun got higher the action seemed to shut down; trout don't like the sun at this time of year when the water is so clear.
I roamed along River Road in Arlington, Vermont, stopping at a few nice holes and angry at the number of beer cans, bottles and Twisted Tea containers I saw in the river. Many undoubtedly came from the tubers and kayakers who hammer the river every summer. I collected a good $.75 worth of returnables from the river bottom.
I saw one other fisherman, but plenty of people visiting the covered bridges on a long holiday weekend. It felt like mid-October instead of the first day of September. Sunday's rain is going to bring some rivers way up, and it will be nice to have a fall trout season again.
-- Don Lehman