March is here. It also sure seems to be coming in with Spring on it's heels. A cool few days are about to give way to the year's warmest weather. Looking at several of the biggest variables in forecasting the beginning of the season, we are looking at about as optimal fishing conditions as really possible in the coming weeks. With no snow to really run off in the valley, the warm air temps will start to warm the water quickly. The warmer weather this week should be quite a catalyst. Knowing that these conditions don't start until usually after a standard snow pack run off we are looking at being pretty much a month ahead of schedule. In 2012 we had a similar year, which resulted in the best fishing conditions on Opening Day and the best numbers the OCC8 ever put up. It also resulted in some of the best fishing I have had in VT in March. So there is lots to look forward to. If you have been waiting for the Spring to get here to start fishing, it's here. I
The challenge for the next few days and over this weekend will be the rain and snow melt we got last week. The Otter is up and cranking well over 2K. With the last few nights being single digits, the water is quite cold. and the fish will be lethargic. That doesn't mean they wont be eating. We have been catching fish all winter long, and even some of the coldest days seem to be producing. With the water up on the Otter it will be difficult to find fish, they will likely be deep after the cold weather, but some may push to the edge and even some may migrate to feeding lies with the extra food being pushed around. The cold water temps will keep them moving slow and likely sporadically feeding at best. By Tuesday we should start seeing some substantial bumps in water temps, hopefully breaking into the low forties, which will wake up the fish for sure. Wednesday looks even warmer, so it should make for some solid fishing mid week and leading into a warm weekend next week.
We have already seen the Small Black Winter Stones hatching. Further, I have seen two pretty sizable midge hatches, and even a rising fish to those midges. Down in southern VT I was privy to a Baetis hatch as well. We can expect the small Brown Stone to show up very soon. This is a pretty solid hatch on the Otter for a few days and given the water temps the fish should be willing to focus in the nymphs and maybe, if your lucky, look up for them. The Taenioptrygidae is real right of Spring. When they start popping we know that fish are starting to wake up. I have caught some of my best fish of the year while nymphing during the influx of these bugs. They have a very slender profile, so consider flies like the MT Prince, BH Soft Hackles, Sloan Stone, and variations of the Pheasant Tail. When the water drops and clears a bit, the Caddis larvae, Baetis and Midge nymphs are idea choices as well. While hatch matching can be a great tactic, the early season favorites will still be viable and productive options. Stonefly nymphs, Streamers, and the ol' San Juan are pretty choice stand byes for the coming month or two.
It's extremely exciting to be looking at an entire season in front of us. Lots of potential new places to find, old haunts to visit and best yet good friends to reconnect with. I hope to see you all on the water soon and that the OCC8 continues on the great tradition you ALL have made it. Here's to the beginning of another great season! Good Luck and Have Fun! Jesse