Thursday, September 16, 2021

Vermont’s Fall Brews Cruise
Brews, breweries and fall fly fishing—a statewide hops and hackle tour through Vermont.
By Jerry Gibbs

Nearly 100 covered bridges once crossed Vermont rivers and many are still viable. Their covers were primarily to protect weather-exposed bridges themselves, though others like one well-known “kissing bridge,” multitasked. Bridges old and new provide excellent angler access, and the state also operates under a law allowing universal river ingress unless specific posting is present.

It took a long time getting back. Despite owning an address in Vermont’s northeast corner for 20-odd years, I was mostly on the road making a living fishing nearly everywhere else. The fishing I did have at home was a beautiful variegate of trout waters ranging from small stream perfection to some serious flows, to quieter currents, and also lakes big and small with the kind of smallmouth angling I could always brag on. Fishing nostalgia aside, now there was yet another good reason for returning.

Depending on whose figures you read, Vermont is currently the home of more outstanding craft beer brewers per capita than any other state. And there was my pal Dave Beattie, a former New Hampshire saltwater fly fishing guide who is more learned about those breweries than anyone I know. “For better or worse,” he claimed, “I pretty much know every brewery bigger than a closet in Vermont now. Not that it’ll get me much but it was fun learning.”

Dave’s knowledge in the brew department (especially IPAs) rivals an oenophile of the first order. He’ll reel off taste characteristics of beers and ales that would shame the purple prose of a high-end cigar catalog copy writer. Gaining such expertise seemed a natural outreach for him during downtime on family ski trips to Vermont, along with periodic beer mule runs loading up on top tier brews that still aren’t available out of the state. Of course along the way a certain amount of intel began to be gleaned not having to do with IPAs and porters. A well-known truth is that fly-fishers tend to favor good beer as well as chatting with kindred souls while sipping a few. You see where this is going? What he learned launched Dave into a whirlwind of research on what would prove to be some of the state’s best trout fishing and as a bonus, the option to enjoy some fine angling for smallmouth, pike and assorted other species.

The thing about Vermont fishing is that variety is close. Unlike the distances we might travel between blue-ribbon spots in, say, Montana or Wyoming, the Vermont experience is compressed. In a very good way.

The state may not make the scoreboard for sheer numbers of hulking class trout or bigmouth bass with bellies like crenshaw mellons, but cognoscenti of the state’s fishing point to this: There is consistent, reliable angling for brook, rainbow and brown trout that runs the gamut from giggly fun with headwater brookies, to technical torture during misread hatches.

As late season rains fill and cool summer-low rivers, large meaty flies—both weighted and not—are key in coaxing larger fish—mainly browns.

There’s always the possibility of Moby-class brown trout that forget their persona and nosh a hapless swinging buggery type of fly, especially in the fall. There is excellent largemouth and stellar smallmouth bass fishing, and you can extend the fun to reliable fly fishing for big northern pike and a handful of panfish species. Though not fly rod targets for normal fishers, you should know about muskies and walleyes and a batch of others from bowfin to channel cats—gar anyone?

Flinty Yankee settlers straight from the dark stories of Annie Proulx’s “Heart Songs” carved a difficult existence here through hard-scrabble farming or logging. Steep, rocky terrain, hidden valleys and primitive roadways engendered, and to an extent still do today, the opportunity for reclusive or at least private lifestyles. Celeb writers—Sinclair Lewis, Robert Frost, and John Irving called the state home, as did Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn who spent 20 years of his exile here. Today, a large percentage of native “woodchucks,” and imported flatlanders now full-time Vermonters, tend to the entrepreneurial, often iconoclastic, and nearly always idiosyncratic. Think characters reminiscent of the Durrell family (“My Family & Other Animals”) or perhaps a reined-in, semi-sanitized cast from a Christopher Moore novel. Even the non-human aquatic and mammalian life can be quirky: There are the well-recognized legends of classic lake monsters Champy and Memphry for example, and if your were driving Route 106 in Reading you might see grazing alongside a couple of miniature goats and an Appaloosa pony, an African plains Zebra named Zeus.

Tooling along in the state, a preponderance of vehicles in sight would be equipped with ski or various bicycle racks along with beer stickers, and off winter of late you would note a sampling of car-top rod racks, and nearer the rivers, semi-ready fly rods projecting like quills from beds of pickups or at full mast on car hoods. There’s obviously a lot of DIY fly fishing going on here. Still, for many out-of-staters Vermont fly fishing tends to suggest limited waters—the Battenkill (admittedly even by Lee Wulff to be a most difficult trout fishery), the Connecticut (trout, bass), perhaps Lake Champlain (bass, pike, muskie, and Godknowswhatelse). It’s also true that more vacation-oriented visitors to the state have often enjoyed excellent fly-fishing programs—instruction or guiding—while staying in such elegant resorts as the Woodstock Inn (an excellent venue for baiting your significant other), or perhaps the Equinox Resort in Manchester, home to the Orvis flagship store and it’s excellent fishing school.

Let’s assume, though, that you are on a total fishing-centric trip where coffee, donuts and cigars comprise sufficient repast—along with appropriate samplings of the best beers of course. Depending on your timeframe a serious hops-and-hackle tour of the state should be broken into key regions with “hubs” central to specific fishing and breweries/brew pubs. If you have the luxury of plentiful off-water time you could indulge in brew tours and trails, some even including driver service and discount lodging, check out www.vermontvacation.com/things-to-do/made-in-vermont/beer and www.vermontbrewers.com/brewery-trails ).

It’s beyond the purview here to describe every prime river, lake or pond in the state. These listings are suggestions that offer some excellent fishing along with the best brew pubs/breweries and eating close by.

Vermont streams and rivers follow predictable trout species populations with wild brookies in the smaller upper waters, rainbows in the mid-sectors, and browns in the lower reaches, especially in deeper pools that possess definition-forming structures. Fish populations have recovered well since the devastating August 2011 tropical storm Irene, except where restoration efforts gouged bottom strata or resulted in channelization.

In general, virtually all headwaters and small tributaries offer native brook trout best fished on 3 or 4 weights. Rainbows, whether stream-bred or stocked, figure in middle river sections where they are joined eventually by brown trout that continue in lower reaches. Depending on the river flows and temperatures, smallmouth and finally largemouth bass along with other species figure in the mix. Ponds and lakes include trout or warmwater fish and are usually managed for specific species. Know that Vermont operates on a Land Trust system law that permits public access to all waters unless specifically posted. As for brews, well as they say, so many beers, so little time.

SOUTH

The iconic Battenkill —between Manchester and Arlington, is managed as a wild trout fishery in Vermont but was stocked with browns in New York. Technically one of the most difficult rivers, an angler can lick his wounds hitting the Little West Branch, a trib of the ‘Kill for brook trout that like midges.

The north flowing Mettawee, is also a wild fishery. The river is small though with some deep spots downstream from Dorset along Route. 30. There are fun rainbows in the sector. Near Pawlet ‘bows are larger with some influx of browns. Butternut Bend downstream of Pawlet can be good. Access via the River Road. off Route. 30.

Libations and Comestibles
While breweries are absent in the Arlington-Manchester hub, an excellent watering hole with various craft beers and good grub is Mulligan’s Pub & Restaurant, in Manchester.

Originating from Black Pond further north in the Green Mountains, the Black River stretch above Ludlow has brook trout and browns and not too much pressure. There’s a six-mile trophy-stocked section beginning at Ludlow. EarlyMay through-mid-May sees a hendrickson hatch that starts non-traditionally in the morning, though overall the go-to tactic is short-line nymphing. The lower river below Springfield reservoir to the Connecticut holds smallmouths.

Of side interest is arguably the world’s most photographed farm—Jenne Farm—20 minutes from the Black in Reading (also home to that privately owned zebra Zeus). It was also a setting in Forrest Gump.

Libations and Comestibles
Check out the Trout River Brewery in Springfield. The dog-friendly tasting room has snacks but you can bring in food. Angler-themed beers run the gamut from IPAs to stouts and more. Outer Limits Brewing in Proctorsville serves up beers running from Bavarians to amber ale to IPAs. Meat and Cheese boards, pizzas, wings, snacks are on the menu.

SOUTH CENTRAL

A tributary of the Connecticut, Ottauquechee River starts near Killington ski country as freestone brook trout water. From Bridgewater Corners to Taftsville’s covered bridge the river is a mix of riffles, chutes and pools. In the slower stretches nymphs or dries are favored depending on what’s happening. Streamers are popular in faster runs. The river has cut a deep gorge, often called the state’s Little Grand Canyon, through the village of Queechie. A steep trail on the gorge’s east side reaches some good pools holding brown trout, but be wary of rising water from an upstream dam.
Tribs of the Ottauquechee worthy of exploring include: Mill Brook, Roaring Branch, Neal Brook, and Lulls Brook, along with area ponds like Colby, Knapp, Amhurst, and Echo.

Libations and Comestibles
No lack of drinks and eats at this latitude. White River Junction is coming on strong with restaurants that cater to virtually all tastes. Close by is River Roost Brewery, a young, small outfit specializing in beautiful hop-forward brews. You’ll roll your eyes over Glimpse, a double IPA tough to equal.

The Long Trail pub/brewery in Bridgewater Center is smack on the Ottauqueechie River. You can sip one, then just watch the stream roll by until ready to fish.

Long Trail Brewing Co. at Bridgewater Corners is smack on the Ottauqueechie River. Sip one and watch the stream roll by. American ales, including many IPAs, are available. Soups, chili, wings and more are on the pub menu.

At the Harpoon Brewery in Windsor on the Connecticut River there’s Riverbend Taps and Beer Garden. Their top IPAs include Clown Shoes-Galactica and Clowns Shoes-Space Cake. The pub grub is good, too.

Worthy Kitchen in Woodstock offers brews from the best crafters in the state along with unbeatable burgers and an otherwise fine full menu.

First Branch Coffee in South Royalton is home to Upper Pass Beer Co’s tasting room. They also serve locally sourced food and host live music. Don’t Miss Taco Tuesday or Flatbread Friday.

The original Worthy Burger in South Royalton on a railroad siding has amazing burgers and sandwiches along with a mega beer list.

Brocklebank Craft Brewing in Tunbridge hosts good bluegrass many nights.

CENTRAL

The Winooski along with its tributaries are targets in this area. Rising near Cabot (good brookies can be found not far from Plainfield), the Winooski flows through the state capital, Montpelier, and boasts a “trophy” area around Waterbury (browns and rainbow stockers are in excellent shape and there are holdovers reaching good size), and finally empties into Lake Champlain near Winooski, past Burlington. This lower section holds smallmouth bass and sees runs of landlocked salmon from the big lake. There’s good pocket water below the Bolton Dam. Below Plainfield near Marshfield and the Twinfield Union School and Onion River Campground is a productive sector. Caddis predominate on the river but not exclusively. Nymphing with Hare’s-Ears and Pheasant-Tails is productive, as is fishing streamers. Several guide services offer float trips on the Winooski with May-June, September-October seeing floatable water.

Stevens Branch is an interesting anomaly. This tributary of the Winooski flows right through downtown Barry. Despite urbanization it holds a lot of trout. Wild brook trout exist above Route. 63 in South Barre. Downstream there’s a mix of rainbows, browns and brook trout. Tributaries of the Stevens itself include: Gunner Brook with all three trout (an important spawning trib for the Stevens); Jail Branch has brook trout in its upper reaches in Washington, and from East Barre to its mouth holds all three trout species. Below East Barre Dam, trout populations are low. Consider North Branch as well.

The Dog River is managed only for wild trout, and on catch-and-release basis. It harbors some big browns and can be tough. Evening low light can give you a decided advantage.

The Dog River tributary of the Winooski is managed entirely for wild trout, and is catch-and-release only. Though it holds rainbows and some brookies, it’s really a big brown trout stream with beautiful clear pools, and it can be tough. Fishing the low light of evening can increase your odds of hookups. The river rises north of Roxbury, flowing past Northfield. Public access points are found off Highway12 out of Montpelier with the river following near that road. Route 12A is the route to take out of Northfield Center. With no hatches underway it’s pretty much a one-fish pool fishery. Flies like John Barry’s (of Copper John fame) Slump Buster, and Kris Keller’s Montana Mouthwash ( a Super Bugger sort of thing), can fool those larger browns.

Mad River, another Winooski trib, has brook trout in its upper reaches with its flow increasing from small brook trout streams like the Austin, Stetson and Mill Brook. From small pocket water the river changes to more riffles, runs and pools holding brown trout around Waitsfield. The Mad has traditionally been stocked downriver from a gas station between Warren and Waitsfield, on down to Kenneth Ward Memorial Access in Moretown. No stocking occurs on down from there to the No. 8 dam. Below Moretown the river flows through a dairy farm valley, the flow slowing before the river enters the Winooski. Typical of many Vermont rivers in tourist areas in summer, you might interact with swimmers. Fishing early and late makes sense.

Artist Mary Lacy’s “Trout Wall” mosaic mural in downtown Bethel reflects a fish-centric mindset among locals and visitors, especially those keen on the White River.

The White River is a tributary of the Connecticut, flowing through east-central Vermont. Fairly large with both good riffle water and deep pools, it is sometimes floated by various guide operations. In fishing the White one considers its First, Second, and Third branches with good access near covered or concrete bridges (especially the first and second branches) around towns like South Royalton and Bethel. The pocket water of the First branch in the Tunbridge area holds all three trout. There are larger browns in the Second branch (out of East Randolph), typically holding under bankside cover in gently flowing sectors. Below Bethel smallmouths are in the mix.

The White River is a complex consisting of three branches plus the main stem. The dam-free river has overall good access, especially near bridges. All three trout species are present with smallmouths entering the mix below Bethel. While caddis predominate in some sectors, fishing for large browns in deeper pools or beneath bankside cover with quiet flows calls for different tactics. Dave Beattie worked a Slumpbuster streamer to coax a grab from this good pool-holding brown. Be careful to properly ID browns from Atlantic salmon that are produced at the White River National Fish Hatchery. No open season exists on those salmon cultured during the now defunct restoration effort to restore historical runs of Atlantics on the Connecticut River.

The White is totally dam free and figured in the defunct Federal Atlantic salmon restoration program on the Connecticut River. The small tributaries of the White’s mainstem and Third branch hold wild populations of all three trout and are worth fishing on their own. Caddis predominate, so beadhead nymphs and Elk-Hair dries are standard fare. If you luck into a mayfly situation you’ll usually do well with Pheasant-Tails or Hare’s-Ear nymphs, and a Hare’s-Ear parachute normally suffices for duns. Marabou Muddlers and Woolly Buggers are fine in deeper or turbulent water.

Libations and Comestibles

This is Vermont’s “brewery central.”

In Stowe is the vonTrapp Brewery and Bierhall serving their own lagers, pilsners, kölslh style ales, qne double IPAs, plus blends of others brewers. The brewery is located close to the famed area lodge.

Alchemist Brewery banged a home run with their flagship Heady Topper brew. Their full line is served in the new visitor-tasting center in Stowe, birthplace of alpine skiing in the East and a favorite destination for visitors.

Alchemist Brewery specializes in fresh, unfiltered IPAs. Its flagship Heady Topper (though brewed in Waterbury, available state wide) is distributed to the brewery and Alchemist Visitor’s Center in Stowe for retail sales and tasting.

Alchemist Brewery banged a home run with their flagship Heady Topper brew. Their full line is served in the new visitor-tasting center in Stowe, birthplace of alpine skiing in the East and a favorite destination for visitors.

Not without good reason is Waterbury dubbed the best beer town in New England and “the epicenter of beer in the Northeast.” The Black Back Pub (black back being a colloquialism for big, native brookies) one of a handful of great pubs including: The Prohibition Pig Brewery; The Reservoir—Restaurant & Tap Room, both of those just a good cast from one another in the village.

The Blackback Pub—an angler favorite— dubbed Waterbury the best beer town in New England not without good reason; a quick recent count comes up with 11 pub/eateries in the village.

Waitsfield is home of Lawson’s Finest Liquids brewery whose citrusy Sip of Sunshine IPA garnered awards across the board from the country’s top rating groups; consumer beer fans obviously agreed. Lawson's followed up with Double and Triple Sunshine along with countless others. You can find them all at the brewer’s large, open space taproom where visitors enjoy terrific pub grub, casual seating, and an always-on fireplace. Their entire craft brews are also on sale in the taproom’s retail space.

WEST CENTRAL

In Waitsfield you’ll find Lawson’s Finest Liquids, creator of the award winning citrusy Sip of Sunshine IPA and runner-up Double and Triple Sunshine along with countless others. Their large taproom/retail store has all their brews along with terrific pub fare. Don’t miss their secret sauce served with giant pretzels.

The Worthy Burger Too restaurant is a seven minute walk from Lawson’s.

New Haven is a tributary of Otter Creek. Near Ripton its upper pocket waters, plunge pools and several feeders enjoy good brook trout populations. Near Lincoln and on to Bristol, brook trout still predominate but are joined by rainbows. Because the river here runs near a road and has pools and waterfalls, swimmers often use the river in summer. Long runs with riffles and pools are key features in the the widening near Bristol Flats. After Notch Brook, the river begins slowing some. Below Muddy Branch tributary there’s a mix of deeper pools and overall slower flow. This section receives stocking.

Otter Creek, depending where you fish, harbors all three trout species as well as bass and northern pike. The river really begins as a southern brook trout stream near East Dorset and flows 112 miles to Lake Champlain. Some parts of the river are rather remote and some are very accessible. The New Haven (above), Middlebury, Neshobe Rivers and Furnace Brook are four tributaries offering good trout fishing in their own right. There’s good trout fishing through Middlebury, then as the river grows in size, bass and pike enter the mix. The lower main river has developed into a fine northern pike fishery, especially below Vergennes.

Libations and Comestibles

In Rutland, the Beer Works Brewery is a good stop, as is the company’s Hop ’n Moose Pub.

Foley Brothers in Brandon has a big list of IPAs and one fine Irish stout. Also in Brandon the Red Clover Ale Co. is a small brewery and tap room with a list covering everything from brews featuring mosaic hops to red ales.

Home of Middlebury College, Middlebury town has no shortage of brews. Consider Otter Creek Brewery and pub, The Drop-In Brewing Co., Two Brothers Tavern—and there are more.

Bristol is known for the Hogback Mountain Brewing where you’ll find Pilsners, Kölsch and Brown Ale, Stout and IPAs. Lucky Star Catering offers local pub food in the taproom, along with dinners to go.

In Vergennes look for Hired Hand Brewing Co., for fine local brews and pizza, and also The Bobcat Cafe and Brewery with its house crafted brews and good pub grub.

NORTH/NORTHEAST/NORTHWEST

Along with the big water body itself, many of the state’s rivers empty into Lake Champlain providing a potpourri of fishing and species depending on the season. Just for samples, the “Salmon Hole” area of the Winooski River at the base of the first dam on the river can provide some excellent fishing for landlocked salmon, lake-run “steelhead” and bass. The Malllet’s Bay area has some fine bass fishing. The list goes on.

Libations and Comestibles

Burlington on the shores of the lake is home to the University of Vermont and thus rife with great watering holes and restaurants downtown and neighboring. Just one of the good ones is The Vermont Pub & Brewery on College Street, the state’s first craft brewery offering a number of award winning brews as well as light pub chow.

In neighboring Essex Junction, 1st Republic Brewing, the On Tap Bar & Grill, and Pearl St. Pub all get high marks.

Just south of Burlington in Shelburne, with its terrific decoy collection, is Fiddlehead Brewing Co. In the tasting room you’ll find their signature Fiddlehead IPA as well as Second Fiddle and Mastermind, both double IPAs, plus the tasting room’s series of powerhouse Triple IPAs. And right next door is Folino’s Wood Fired Pizza where you can bring in the Fiddlehead brew you just purchased.

CHAMPLAIN PROPER

The Lamoille River begins near Greensboro as a small brook trout stream. As it reaches Greensboro Bend some rainbows enter the scene. The river remains small until Haynesville where an eponymous brook enters, giving the stream a bit of size. Below Pottersville Dam east of Wolcott and down below the dam at Morrisville you get tailwater fishing, especially for rainbows. Several guide operations float the upper and middle river stretches. August can have excellent fishing, particularly on dries—assuming some cool weather arrives and the water temperature falls into the 60’s for a few days. There can be a fine flying ant hatch as well as isonychias that can spark some fun action on the fast swimming nymphs. Target the water from Waterman Brook through the town of Johnson where the Gihon River enters. There are some deep pools here and you’ll find both rainbows and browns. The main stem produces into early summer unless rising temperatures push trout back into the Gihon or down to Ithiel Falls.

From Fairfax Falls, just below Cambridge, downstream three miles has been a trophy stocked area. Look for some large browns. Below this area smallmouths begin to show, the fish having moved in from Arrowhead Mountain Lake which offers good warmwater fishing. Below the lake are two more dams before the river enters Lake Champlain. A motley array of warmwater species is available in the slower flows.

Passumpsic is a major Connecticut River tributary and is best known for its good size rainbows and browns in the deep, slow pools primarily below any of seven hydropower dams. From its mouth at the Connecticut up to the East and West Branches (brookies in the branches ) above Lyndonville, the dams are: East Barnet, Passumpsic, Gage Station, Arnold Falls, Pierce Mills, Great Falls, and Vail Station. Arnold Falls is in downtown St. Johnsbury enabling dehydrated anglers to enjoy top craft brews in two excellent pubs, or a handful of excellent restaurants with specialty menus. Trophy stocking does occur in spring from the top of the Gage Dam upstream to the top of the Arnold Falls Dam. Come October those stocked rainbows and browns have become extremely savvy and are in terrific shape. From the Connecticut River boundary upstream to the top of Arnolds Falls Dam the river is another in the state that’s open year around.

For some early (cold) spring fishing—mid-April to early May—anglers can hit the Willoughby River in Vermont’s “Northeast Kingdom” to watch “steelhead”—rainbows from Lake Memphremagog— ascending falls to spawn. Though Willoughby Falls in Orleans provides the best action, Coventry Falls on the Black River in Coventry and Lewis Creek Falls in North Ferrisburgh also have rainbow runs. Willoughby Falls proper and a section upstream are closed until June 1 to protect spawners, but the downstream water is open giving a good shot at these fish. However, it gets too many rods for my taste.

This entire northern area of Vermont, known as The Northeast Kingdom, is rich with small ponds and larger lakes with trout, smallmouth, largemouth, pike and panfish opportunities. Depending on time of year fly-fishers can binge on surface hatches, pop for bass, or use sinking heads and streamers for a potpourri of species.

Libations and Comestibles
Greensboro Bend is ground zero for the state’s highest profile craft brewery, Hill Farmstead. Launched in 2010 by the self-directed Shaun Hill, the brewery produces ale’s and sours and has garnered praise as the “world’s best new brewery” for the last seven years, per by Rate Beer (ratebeer.com). Not surprisingly the praise triggered a cult of fans who come across the U.S. East, down from Canada, and even from the Midwest to visit the brewery and tap room, and to stand in long lines to buy beer and attend sell-out concerts. Some of the faithful sleep in vehicles awaiting morning openings.

A tad north in Glover is the Parker Pie Co., a four- time winner for best pizza, bar, wings, and beer menu in the Norhtheast Kingdom (per locals and the FoodNetwork). It’s an idiosyncratic spot with roaming dogs, kids hula-hooping with old guys, and folks just hanging out. Friday is Oyster Night.Ooysters and pizza? Yep.

Morrisville is home to Rock Art Brewery and tap room, known throughout the state for it’s malt-forward Vermonster brew. If that’s not your thing you’ll find everything else—IPAs, pilsners, stout, ales, sours. And it’s located by the Lamoille River.

GUIDES/OUTFITTERS/SHOPS

In no particular order, here are sources for trips, tackle and info covering
the entire state.

The Fly Rod Shop
theflyrodshop.com
Bob Shannon’s Stowe-based shop is an info clearing house on state fishing. Shannon’s stable of guides specialize in the Lamoille, Winoooski, Dog and Little Rivers. For still water there’s Lake Elmore, Lake Eden, Waterbury Reservoir and more. On the website there are free downloadable maps of the Lamoille and Winooski Rivers that include details on fishing spots, hatches and more. River trout drift trips and lake trips are offered. For non-anglers there are assorted tours around the state including a Craft Beer & Spirits venture. Bob is co-author of the book “Vermont Trout Streams: A Fly Angler’s Guide to the Best” which you should have. There are childrens’ fishing and survival programs and free casting clinics for all.
802-253-7346 or 802-253-3964


Catamount Fishing Adventures
catamountfishing.com
Year-‘round Stowe guide Willie Dietrich offers wade trout trips along with drift boat floats and pond and lake fishing for smallmouth bass. An FFF certified casting instructor he won’t use a cell phone on guide trips. Good for him!
802-253-8500


Green Mountain Troutfitters
www.gmtrout.com
Hyde Park
Working the state’s north-central regions including Stowe, Jeffersonville (Smugglers’ Notch) with wade and raft float trips, head guide Mike Kontos, also has other guides available even for groups. They offer a variety of lake fishing as well, plus kids’ camps. Offered are:
Walk n’ Wade River/Stream Tours, Drift Boat Trips, Lake Fishing, Bass Fishing
802-730-4298


Stream & Brook
streamandbrook.com
brian.zinger@gmail.com
Co-owners Brian Zinger and Brian Cadoret work with a stable of six other guides. They offer wade trout trips throughout the state, plus focused pike trips and canoe trips for a host of warm water species. Waters include: White, Lamoille, Winooski Rivers, Black River in the NEK, Otter Creek and Lake Champlain.
802-989-0398


Green Mountain Adventure
https://mmvt.com
Middlebury
The focus is on rainbows and browns in Otter Creek, the New Haven and Middlebury Rivers. Guides have good areas 15 minutes from town. Float trips on Otter Creek and White River are also offered. There’s also the option of excellent fly fishing for bass and northern pike. GMA hosts the Otter Creek Classic event in April
802-388-7245.


Maple Country Anglers
maplecountryanglers.com
Ben Wilcox owner along with Andrew Masenas (guide)
They headquarter in Richmond near Burlington. Guiding is focused on central and northern VT within one hour of Burlington. Maple Country offers wade fishing small streams, lakes and ponds as well as Western style drift boat trips on the Lamoille, White, Winooski for trout and/or smallmouth from a 13 ft. Aire Super Puma Raft with customized frame designed specifically for fishing Vermont’s Rivers. The boat seats 1 or 2 anglers plus rower and is equipped with lean bars, casting platforms, raised swivel seats.
802-318-0091


Chuck Kashner
vermontfishingtrips.com
cdkashner@gmail.com
Wade trout fishing on various rivers. Chuck also offers bass/pike trips on various lakes, including big Lake Champlain. He lives in Poultney and will meets guests in southern Vermont: Manchester, Bennington, Rutland, Pawlet, Castleton and Ludlow. He also guides bird hunters in fall and is known for providing stellar lunches for clients.
800-682-0103
802-645-0009


Woodstock Inn & Resort—Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Program
Inn is located on Suicide 6 Mtn.
fish@woodstockinn.com
They target central VT waters including on-the-property or public waters like the White, Black, and Ottauquechee.
14 The Green,
Woodstock, Vermont
888- 338-2745


Orvis (flagship store)
orvis.com
4180 Main St, Manchester, VT
Your visit to the Orvis store will have you chatting up any number of angler/employees knowledgeable not only in that area but statewide. You’ll easily fill your tackle quiver here. Bob Shannon’s trout stream book is also available, and Orvis has several Endorsed guides who work locally.
802-362-3750


The American Museum of Fly Fishing
amff.org
Across from the Orvis headquarters, the museum is steward of fly fishing traditions, and practices. It features a revolving series of exhibits along with many events tailored to the seasons.
802-362-3300


Bob Young
www.youngsflyfishing.com
Young specializes in southern VT, offering
wade or drift boat fishing. An Orvis Endorsed guide, Bob is a former casting instructor for the company.
802-375-9313


Taconic Guide Service
Ray Berumen, has a stable of excellent guides, and offers wade and drift boat fishing. He specializes in southern VT.
taconicguideservice.com
802-688-4304
802-688-3934


Peter Basta
http://www.vtflyfishingguide.com
Pete was Orvis Fly Fishing Guide of the Year in 2002.
He targets small to medium streams in southern VT including the Battenkill, all within one hour drive from Manchester. He also uses a one-angler float craft.
802-867-4103

VERMONT STATE CONTACTS

Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife is a key contact source. Charlee Drury (charlee.drury@vermont.gov) 802-828-1000, Information/Marketing at the Montpelier office should be able to offer thoughts on speaking to biologists who handle waters in areas of your interest, but here are a few fisheries biologists you can contact directly:

Jud Kratzer, jud.kratzer@vermont.gov, 802-751-0486, St. Johnsbury office. Jud helps manage all Northeast Kingdom fisheries from brook trout to northern pike.


Pete Emerson, peter.emerson@vermont.gov, 802-751-0485, St. Johnsbury office. Peter is responsible for managing fisheries and fisheries habitat in the Northeast Kingdom.


Shawn Good, shawn.good@vermont.gov, 802-786-3863, Rutland Office. Shawn leads the department’s work on pike and muskellunge. He also manages bass in southwestern Vermont and southern Lake Champlain.


Bret Ladago, bret.ladago@vermont.gov, 802-485-7566, Roxbury Lab. Bret’s work is focused in Vermont’s central fisheries district which includes the White, Waits, Ompompanoosuc, and Ottauquechee River watersheds.


Lee Simrad, lee.simard@vermont.gov, 802-879-5697, Essex Junction office. His work is centered on lakes and streams in southern Vermont. Besides coldwater and warmwater sportfish populations he works on rare, endangered and threatened fish species. He is also in charge of the management and enhancement of the Battenkill, which supports one of Vermont’s longstanding premier wild trout fisheries.

Jerry Gibbs
Jerry Gibbs lives, fishes and writes from the mid-Maine coast unless he is on the road hunting off-radar wa-ters, fish and anglers that will make a good story. His downtime is saved for chasing grouse with his French Brittany, Jack. Gibbs is the former Outdoor Life fishing editor.