The Battenkill So Far…

The general consensus is that the 2019 fishing season on the Battenkill has been a bit spotty. Lots of precipitation in April and May made for difficult fishing conditions and the cooler than usual temperatures have thrown fish activity a little off kilter. The water levels and temps for the very end of May and early June were good with significant hatch activity in the afternoon into evening. Having said that, I really didn’t get in my first stream outing until today, 6/15.

From Union St. in Manchester upstream the water looked very promising with lots of options for nymphs, streamers, dry flies and wet flies. I began fishing at 5:45 am with a nymph rig. This was my first experience with the football indicator, a drastic departure from my preferred yarn indicators. I was skeptical. My previous experience with foam indicators is that they don’t float very high and don’t offer the nuanced sensitivity of yarn. For some reason the yarn style indicators ostensibly have fallen out of favor. I have a hard time finding them, hence my resorting to the gridiron-inspired alternative.

The football indicator worked well once I got used to it. I still don’t like how they simply lay on the water with no subtle changes. It’s either floating or underwater. But they are unobtrusive and when a fish takes they go under in a hurry. Attaching them to the leader and getting them to stay in place is really simple, at least as much so as yarn if not easier. Three small brook trout fell prey to this indicator and a green caddis pattern.

There was minimal hatch activity until around 9 with very small mayflies flitting around and an occasional large (size 12 or so) brown specimen in the mix. I fished a small caddis for a while but never saw a rise, either to my fly or elsewhere.

I played around with a sink tip line and size 6 natural zonker for a while but didn’t have any luck. This combination can be a great way to pull reluctant trout, particularly browns, up from deep runs and out from brush enshrouded banks but it is often hit or miss.

If the weather continues the way it has been the rest of the fishing season on the ‘kill should be good. I’ll take high water over the drought conditions of a typical August anytime.

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