I’ve never been on a guided fishing trip before, and this, I was assured, was not a “guided” trip. More of a directional “there are fish here” and “we’ll take care of you” kind of deal. My father in-law, brother in-law, and good fishing friend went to the Vermont TU banquet dinner in the winter for a silent auction and regular auction put on by the great group there in Chittenden County. What I found out though, is that you’re more likely to bid on things after drinking whiskey and talking about fishing. So after losing in the silent auction, the bidding began. My father in-law and I ended up splitting a trip to a remote pond in southern Vermont by the end of the night, and he somehow ended up with a new Ross reel. I was excited the next morning when told that we had won some sort of trip in the spring!
The two TU members putting the trip together, Peter and Paul, had put the details together with my father in-law as I was in the process of moving to Boston, and we met in a small town in VT in the spring. After a short drive we hauled our canoes in and set up camp to fish the evening. I was amazed at the amount of gear that Peter and Paul had brought across the pond, wondering what the hell was in a 50 lbs blue tub? A full size grill? Generator and TV? These guys were prepared, and after setting up our tents, the food starting coming out. They cooked huge meals of salmon, hash, I’m full just thinking about all the food. For an “unguided” trip, I ate better then any other trip I’ve ever taken. These guys were awesome and for our TU donation, we’d already gotten everything we could imagine.
Now the fishing! The pond was a phenomenal location. Gorgeous and the first night had glassy waters, and a fish rising right in front of the campsite. Peter told me to go after him, so I threw an emerger out there and, BAM! Hooked him! But then it spit the hook. Our hopes were high now and if the food hadn’t been so damn good, we would have pushed out!
We set out for the evening hatch, and there were a few fish rising. I threw out a #14 yellow Caddis, and after drowning it and stripping it back, I hooked a couple of nice brook trout. We thought that the night would be explosive and the water would be boiling. But that was pretty much it. I hooked another fish on a cinnamon ant, and my father in-law caught one in the same spot. The night was beautiful though, and there were no other fisherman around. Fish or no fish, the experience that night was great. I’ve never fished ponds and lakes for trout much, but it’s my new favorite to try and target rising fish or just cruising looking for them.
The second morning, after a gigantic breakfast and never ending coffee, we unsuccessfully fished the pond. After few fish for all four of us, Peter and Paul suggested fishing a stream at lunch where the road was closed after Hurricane Irene. We saw some extensive Irene damage on the way up, and we didn’t know how this stream would fish, but nature is a resilient and ever surprising mystery. The stream was full of very willing 6-10″ brookies, and one #16 yellow caddis was all that was needed. After meeting up by the cars, every one of us had pulled in 30 or more brookies. The day was hot, the water was cool, and there was good cover making for a great day of small stream fishing.
That night, the water was like a piece of glass, and we thought that it would begin to boil with fish rising, but nothing was really moving. We chased rings in the water, missing a few fish here and there and changing many flies and adding much tippet. Near the end of the night, my father in-law started skating one of his favorite flies under the water, and caught the best fish of the weekend (as he usually does). A great dark brookie just as the light was fading. With cool nights, and no bugs, it was a great night of fish stories and enough fish to keep us happy.
That last morning, after another gigantic breakfast and coffee, it was a longer breakdown as you have to canoe over and hike your gear in and out. With enough time, we decided to hit the small stream again and pull out some more brook trout, and they were willing to participate. A great trip for a great cause to donate some funds to Trout Unlimited in Vermont. Our two un-guides Peter and Paul were gracious and took better care of us more then you would ever believe for such a pittance.
Thanks for reading!