The weather plays a huge part in early season trout fishing, and those of us who paid attention to the forecast knew that the conditions on area streams were going to change greatly come early Monday.
With Saturday's warm weather and a recent dry spell, many area streams were in decent shape this weekend, and I carved out some time Sunday morning to get over to a couple of my favorites in western Vermont, the Castleton and Poultney rivers. Both streams support wild trout, the Castleton a wild brown trout fishery that hasn't been stocked with browns in decades. (There has been some limited brook trout stocking over the years.)
Both rivers were low and clear for this time of year, and the Castleton was a crisp 51 degrees as of mid-morning.
Within 15 minutes I had my first trout of the season, a big, healthy brown of about 15 inches. I landed another of about 12 inches over the next hour, but hits were few and far between. Still, there were no black flies or mosquitoes, it was warm enough to fish in a t-shirt and shorts under my waders and the lack of greenery allowed me to explore some new spots.
By late morning I had moved south to the Poultney, concentrating on a stretch I like downstream of the Vermont Route 31 bridge. I didn't have any success, but got to my car just as a rain shower arrived and called it a day.
Conditions have clearly changed as I write this Monday morning, thanks to downpours last night that had been in the forecast for days. Flood warnings are rampant.
It will be days, at best, before any of these streams are fishable again, with more rain on the horizon later in the week.
If you want to have a decent outing on any of our Adirondack or southwestern Vermont streams this time of year, you have to be ready to pounce when the weather dictates. Otherwise, it might be weeks before you get another chance.
-- Don Lehman