vermont steelhead ? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: vermont steelhead ?

11-21-2009, 12:15 PM
I have just been reading about steelhead and salmon running up the creeks that feed Lake Champlain - on the VT side.

I understand that the runs were small but a very successful spring run with a new strain has guides and fisheries biologists hoping for a strong late fall winter run.

has anyone fly fished for these ? or is planning to ?



11-21-2009, 02:59 PM
Hey Mark. As far as I've heard, hoping is still the operative word. The stream that has had the most success in the past is Lewis Creek, but it has been pretty low. Perhaps JimD will chime in.

Actually, the Fall Landlock runs in both NY and Vt sides historically had better success. However, the lack of consistency in Lamprey treatment really ruined both Steelie and LL fisheries.

11-21-2009, 03:11 PM
Lake Champlain steelies are small w/ a 4lber being a great catch... Lewis Creek and Winooski River are best bets on VT side; but, runs are not concentrated... Local knowledge is critical and only a select few on the VT side consistently time things... Sorry I'm not one of the select few.

The last three years I've been trying to target steel on both Lewis and Winooski Rivers on the VT side from Feb-April and have yet to find the run. Personally, I think the walleye, pike, and smallmouth that occupy and spawn in the same waters in the spring disrupt the redds, eat the eggs, fry, and smolts... The stocking that is done in the lake at the river mouths are heavily consumed by cormorants which seem to know the stocking schedule pretty well.

The steelies I've caught on the fly have come while targeting other species; specifically Landlocks during their fall spawning run. Like the great lakes the Steelies hang around the tribs for salmon eggs.

I don't know the NY side very well but talked a guy the other night while fishing salmon on the Winooski who said he targets steel and salmon on the saranac river in Plattsbugh every year for Thanksgiving weekend. Claims the steel bite has been improving in recent years.

11-22-2009, 11:46 AM
I spoke too soon... Fished about 2 1/2 hours this morning starting at dusk. Caught two fat salmon @ 24" and 26" both between 5-6lbs and my buddy nailed a nice steelie.

Steelie came on a size 14 orange sparkle chenile egg

Here's the big salmon - both salmon were caught on a sz 14 copper wire body emerger.

11-22-2009, 08:39 PM
very nice fish - the report I saw said that Fridays rain may bring them up Lewis :wink:

without going into specifics (obviously...) were you looking for a particular type of water, and how did you fish it ? sink tips or a floating line ? single or spey rod ?

if they are running this early, i'd guess that most steelies are up river by the time of the Walleye spawn - i have read about Elk Creek steelies that mostly run December to February so maybe its a similar strain.



11-24-2009, 01:00 PM
When the water temps are in the mid 40's and fish (salmon) have been in the tribs for while I find that swinging is not a good recipe for caching a lot of fish. Most of the salmon have lock jaw and/or won't move for a large offering. Nymphs have been my go to pattern using a high sticking dead drift w/ as little weight as possible but enough to get down. Bead heads seem to produce smaller fish for fish.

I did catch a nice drop back last weekend stripping a smelt pattern on the main lake where the water temps were 49F.

The Lewis creek is pretty narrow and a lot of boulders snags so swinging is a little tough... I've never fished the lower lewis this time of year so don't know whether steelhead enter this early or not... Everyone I've talked to says the steelhead fishery on lewis is Dec-April.

11-24-2009, 08:36 PM
Fish hadn't yet moved into Lewis as of this past Sunday.

11-26-2009, 09:32 AM
My Dad came into town yesterday so picked him up at the airport, grabbed a fishing license, and we were on the water shortly after. Fishing was slow but finally got my dad into a fish.

This was my Dad's first Atlantic on a fly, a 24" fully kyped, spent buck, still dark, and NO lamprey marks to be seen.. A rare and beautiful fish for Champlain.

Wanted to get out this morning but ended up drinking to much wine last night and slept in. :redface:

Need to look at some furniture down in Bristol tomorrow so will likely give the Lewis a couple hours in the morning.

01-01-2010, 12:57 PM
I saw this was caught by a local on December 19th

gorgeous fish, a fatty too !


01-05-2010, 12:27 AM
So is this a C&R fishery?

02-16-2010, 11:09 AM
So is this a C&R fishery?

Unfortunately VT side is not a C&R only fishery. Some tribs are open year round. I don't know the NY side very well but believe they manage tribs a little tighter and have some C&R in special seasons.