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Next fall, if you are looking for a reason to visit the Northeast, in addition to leaf-peeping, I suggest you consider a trout fishing trip with Stream and Brook Fly Fishing (802-989-0398; www.streamandbrook.com) in northern Vermont. I say that having accompanied my father on an evening trip with the company this past September. Our guide was John Synnott, one of the owners of the company.
Stream and Brook is a very adaptable company. Depending on weather and water conditions, they can help you find a wide variety of fish, including bowfin, carp, pike, smallmouth bass, or trout. Our original plan was to go for pike and warm water species on Lake Champlain, with stream trout a secondary option. A last-minute rain, rising water, and cooling temperatures all tipped the scales toward trout fishing.
The water Synnott chose for us was an absolutely classic stretch of tailwater below a small hydroelectric dam. Conditions were, frankly, borderline. The slightly dirty water was running near 70 degrees. John seemed to know every inch of the river, however, and wasted no time getting us into the hotspots, bypassing a lot of enticing water he dismissed as “marginal.” He was also in tune with the hatches, picking Isonychia nymphs off rocks and predicting almost to the moment when a sparse BWO hatch would kick off. As we fished, John provided a post-graduate course on effective nymphing with mixed offerings on droppers in conflicting currents.
It turned out that we were not only able to take trout, but also smallmouth bass. The latter were feeding enthusiastically, and we took several up to a foot long. As for trout, we landed more than a dozen rainbows and browns, hooking and losing a number of others, over the course of four hours. The trout averaged about 12 inches, with the smallest just over 10 inches and the largest a 16- inch, football-shaped rainbow hooked right at dark. It was all a very satisfying experience.
If you are traveling light, Stream and Brook has quality equipment to lend. They can also outfit an entire trip for you whether you want to wade or fish from a canoe or float tube. Their season begins in March and April (when it’s sometimes possible to ski and fish in the same day) and runs into December, long past Vermont’s world-famous foliage season. A full day of wade fishing with Stream and Brook costs $250 for one, $400 for two. A one-day, non-resident license is $15. A three-day license is $20. Both can be purchased online at www.vtfishandwildlife.com/buylicense.cfm.