As summer comes to an end in the Mad River Valley, the Cedar Waxwings have headed south, and the caddis have all but disappeared. Nights are getting cooler, and the sunsets comes early.
I am happy to report that the trout fishing this summer on the Mad has been well above average. Typically, July and August bring low water and warm temperatures that can really stress the fish. However, with the steady rains for most of the summer the Mad has stayed relatively cool with a steady water flow of around 100 CFS.
We are now seeing some of the most prolific grasshopper activity in years and that means 12’ 5x leaders, big flies and lots of surface feeding. Hopper patterns of foam and deer hair are highly productive. Although any hopper will do, we recommend the ones tied by local guide and tyer Rob Jordan. These are available from the Silver Trout Fly Shop in Waitsfield, just ask Stu for his favorite size hopper. Recommended hopper technique is an upstream presentation. Cast your bug as close to the bank as possible and let it ride. Also of note are the Isonychia shucks (rare for this time of year) on the rocks at the river edge. Best to start with a prince nymph or emerger pattern. We prefer to tight line downstream presentation for the nymphs and the standard “reach cast” with the emergers.
October 31st is closing day but there are still fishing options. The Winooski has a section that is open year-round and there are several rivers in southern Vermont that also offer year-round options. Practice catch and release obey the no trespassing signs and never low hole your best friend.