Best Fly Fishing in Vermont

Man fly fishing in scenic Vermont river surrounded by vibrant fall foliage
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Vermont, with its pristine waterways and picturesque landscapes, is a haven for fly fishing enthusiasts. Your search for the best fly fishing experiences leads you to the Green Mountain State, where the combination of lush forest canopies and crystalline streams provides not only a peaceful retreat but also a challenge for anglers. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran with the fly rod or looking to wade into the waters of this sport for the first time, Vermont’s diverse range of fisheries offers something for every level of skill and interest.

Battenkill River

When you step onto the banks of the Battenkill River, you’re not just at any fishing spot; you’re on legendary waters. With origins near East Dorset in Vermont, the Battenkill gracefully flows through the picturesque town of Manchester, known for its fly fishing culture and historical significance.

Trout Species:

  • Brook Trout: Rare in sizeable rivers, yet present here.
  • Brown Trout: Abundant, challenging typical catch.

The river is revered for its brown trout, providing you with an exhilarating challenge. Due to its clear and pristine conditions, fishing in the Battenkill demands stealth and precision. The natural habitat is protective of its inhabitants, making the fishing experience here one of respectful skill.

Notable Features:

  • Manchester: Historic town with fly fishing heritage.
  • Covered Bridge: Iconic and picturesque spots for angling.

The Battenkill’s charm is amplified by several quaint covered bridges that dot the landscape, ideal for a serene and scenic day of fishing. If you desire a test of your fly fishing prowess and to potentially land a storied brown trout, then casting your line into the Battenkill’s waters should be on your to-do list. Remember, patience and finesse are your allies on this river.

Lamoille River

When you’re angling for a memorable fly fishing experience in Vermont, setting your sights on the Lamoille River should be a top consideration. This river offers a serene escape with opportunities to catch wild brown trout and wild brook trout, making it a cherished location among seasoned fly fishers.

Ideal Locations

  • Greensboro Stretch: The Lamoille River narrows near Greensboro, creating ideal pockets for fly fishing. Here, a smaller, 3- or 4-weight fly rod is recommended due to the tight casting spaces where the brook trout tend to hide. Be sure to navigate the waters with stealth to increase your chances of a successful catch.
  • Tributaries: During warmer periods, focus your efforts on the cooler tributaries for the best results.

Gear Guide

  • Fly Rod: Opt for a 3-5 weight fly rod tailored to the size of the river and the fish.
  • Leaders & Tippets:
    • Dry fly: 9 to 12 ft., 5 or 6X
    • Nymphing: 7½ ft., 3 or 4X
    • Streamers: 0-2X

Timing Your Trip

Your ideal window for visiting the Lamoille River is from mid-May to July. During this time, the water levels and temperatures are conducive to active trout behavior, promoting a thrilling fishing experience.

Remember, while the Lamoille River can provide an exciting fly fishing adventure, always adhere to state fishing regulations and practice catch and release to maintain the river’s ecological balance and ensure it remains a premier destination for anglers.

Winooski River

When you’re looking to cast your lines in Vermont waters, the Winooski River should be high on your list. This river offers a remarkable fly fishing experience with a variety of species, including salmon and trout.

Fly Patterns:

  • Spring and Fall: Streamers that mimic small fish
  • Summer: Dry flies and nymphs for trout

Fishing Spots:

  • Upper River: Ideal for cooler water trout in summer
  • Lower River: Best in fall for salmon runs

In the springtime, the Winooski River teems with life, making it a suitable period for fly fishing, especially as the water temperatures begin to rise. During the scorching summer months, you should focus your efforts on selecting spots where the water remains cooler, as trout are sensitive to temperature changes.

Make sure to equip yourself with a 9ft 4 or 5wt fly rod for an optimal experience, particularly as some areas of the river can be wide. Good-quality wading boots are crucial due to slippery rocks along the riverbed.

For the best success, adjust your fly patterns to match the season and local hatch. Nymphing and dry fly fishing are effective techniques on the Winooski. When targeting trout, use 4x and 5x leaders, but if you’re aiming for bigger fish with streamers, opt for a shorter, 7.5ft 2x leader. As you venture into the Winooski River, your fishing prowess will be challenged and rewarded in these dynamic waters.

Otter Creek

Otter Creek is known as Vermont’s longest river and a prime location for fly fishing. Stretching across 112 miles, it offers a diverse range of fish species, with smallmouth bass and trout being particularly prevalent.

Fish SpeciesNotable SectionsRecommended Gear
Smallmouth BassLower stretchesMedium-action fly rods
TroutUpper reaches & tributesLight to medium fly rods

When fishing Otter Creek, it’s important to recognize the different characteristics of the river. The upper sections, composed of swift moving and clearer waters can be challenging yet rewarding, especially for trout. The lower stretches become wider and deeper, harboring robust populations of smallmouth bass.

For a successful outing, consider the following tips for Otter Creek:

  • Pay attention to hatches and select flies that mimic local insects.
  • Consider fishing during early mornings or late evenings for optimal trout activity.
  • Employ stealth and patience, especially in clearer water where trout can be more easily spooked.

You’ll find plenty of access points for walking and wading, but for those harder-to-reach spots, a canoe or kayak can be advantageous. Choose a section of Otter Creek suitable for your skill level and desired catch, and prepare for a tranquil yet exciting experience in one of Vermont’s finest fly fishing destinations.

Enjoy your time along Otter Creek, where each bend and run offers a new opportunity for the attentive angler.

Dog River

A serene river flows through lush greenery, with a picturesque mountain backdrop. The water is clear, inviting for fly fishing

In the heart of Vermont, Dog River is a prime location for fly fishing enthusiasts like yourself. As a tributary of the Winooski River, its clear waters flow through picturesque wooded hills before mingling with farmlands.

What You Can Expect

  • Scenic Beauty: The river courses through a rich landscape that is typical of Vermont’s natural charm.
  • Fish Species: Notably, the Dog River is home to sizeable brown trout populations, as well as native brook trout, offering a fulfilling experience for any angler.
  • Fishing Conditions: Offering diverse conditions, the Dog River alternates between tranquil stretches and more challenging rapids.

Fly Fishing Tips

  • Best Time to Fish: To increase your chances of success, aim for the early morning or late evening during the hatching seasons.
  • Recommended Flies: Arm yourself with a variety of nymphs and dry flies, catering to the specific hatching periods.
SeasonSuggested Flies
SpringBlue-Winged Olives

Pro Tip: Stealth is key. The water here is often clear, making the trout wary and easily spooked. Approach the river with care and patience for the best results.

By keeping these insights in mind, you’re set for a rewarding fly fishing adventure on Vermont’s serene Dog River. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just starting out, the river’s tranquility and the thrill of the catch promise an unforgettable experience.

White River

The White River in Vermont is a prime destination for fly fishing enthusiasts seeking a varied experience. With its main stem and three branches, this freestone river offers diverse opportunities.


You have convenient access to the river from Stockbridge, a location well-known among anglers. From here, the river flows northward through Bethel, allowing you to explore several fishing spots.

Fish Species

Expect to encounter rainbow, brown, and brook trout in the White River’s waters. Strategies for successful fishing often include:

  • Dry flies: Ideal during hatches; helps target surface-feeding trout.
  • Nymphs: Effective for sub-surface fishing; often used before and after hatches.

Habitat and Fishing Conditions

  • Pocketwater Stretches: Above Gaysville, the river features turbulent pockets of water, offering a challenging yet rewarding experience as you cast your lines.
  • Long Glides: These calmer sections necessitate a stealthy approach, due to the clear water conditions making trout more easily spooked.


Be aware of regulations governing the White River:

  • Open season for trout: April (second Saturday) through October 31.
  • Catch & Release with artificial bait, lures, and flies is permitted year-round.

By acquainting yourself with these aspects of the White River, you can prepare for a memorable fly fishing trip in the heart of Vermont.

Black River

When you’re looking to cast your line in the Black River, expect to find rainbow trout which are known for their size, often qualifying as trophy fish. These trout are predominantly stocked, providing a consistent fishing experience.

For the fly fisher, public access is most convenient along Route 131, particularly in the Trophy Trout section. This area offers you ample space to practice your casts and possibly land a significant catch.

When selecting your flies, consider using streamers; their larger profiles and swimming action can be effective in triggering strikes from aggressive trout. During hatch seasons or when fish are feeding subsurface, nymphs can be particularly successful due to their imitation of immature insects.

Remember to respect the area and adhere to local fishing regulations. For current conditions and additional tips, consider following insights from organizations like Orvis.

Best Flies for Black RiverTime of Year
StreamersSpring and Fall
NymphsLate Spring through Summer

Make sure your tackle is suited for the potentially large rainbow trout you may encounter here. A visit to the Black River offers not just the opportunity to fish but also the scenic backdrop of Vermont’s landscapes.

Mettawee River

When you’re planning your fly fishing adventures in Vermont, Mettawee River should be at the top of your list. This picturesque waterway meanders through the lush landscape of the Green Mountains and is known for its cool, clear waters, especially in the upper stretches that remain cooler through the hot summer months. Here, you can chase a variety of trout species amidst a setting that is as tranquil as it is beautiful.

The river’s flow through the charming town of Dorset offers not only scenic beauty but also prime fishing spots. You will want to bring a fly rod suited for the river’s conditions—a 4 to 6 weight fly line is recommended. Leaders should be matched accordingly, with a 9 to 12 ft., 5 or 6X being ideal, particularly for dealing with the river’s wary trout.

Keep an eye out for hatches of caddis, as these insects are a favored food source for Mettawee’s trout and can provide you with exciting dry fly fishing opportunities. Your approach should be stealthy; the clear water makes the fish skittish, demanding a delicate presentation of your fly.

Here’s a brief rundown of what you should consider:

  • Best Time: Early fall and during caddis hatches
  • Suggested Gear:
    • Fly Rod: 4 to 6 weight
    • Leaders: 9 to 12 ft., 5 or 6X

In the end, your time on the Mettawee River is not just about the fish you may catch—it’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in the natural allure of Vermont’s landscape. Make sure to respect the pristine environment to ensure it remains a fly fishing paradise for years to come.

Missisquoi River

When you visit the Missisquoi River, you’re in for a remarkable fly fishing experience. This river originates in Quebec, Canada, and flows down into Northern Vermont, where it becomes a haven for anglers seeking pike and other species.

Pike Fishing:

  • Season: The best times to target pike in these waters are spring and fall.
  • Techniques: Use large streamers and aggressive retrieves to entice these powerful fish.

For a more secluded setting, venture into the river’s small streams which are often overshadowed by the larger water bodies. These hidden gems offer a different kind of thrill:

  • Access Points: Find numerous entry spots along the river’s course.
  • Species: Expect a variety of fish, with pike being a notable catch.

Tips & Techniques:

  • Rod & Reel: A stout 9-foot fly rod paired with a matching reel is suitable for the size of fish you’ll encounter.
  • Flies: Opt for streamers that mimic local baitfish. Think brightness and movement to grab the attention of a pike.

Remember, the Missisquoi River’s environment is sensitive. Always adhere to catch-and-release practices, ensuring the ecosystem remains vibrant for future visits. Your respect for the habitat will help preserve the beauty and health of the river’s diverse fish populations.

Clyde River

The Clyde River in Vermont stands as a prominent destination for fly fishing aficionados. This river is particularly celebrated for its healthy populations of landlocked salmon and trout, offering you a thrilling fishing experience.

Season and Techniques:

  • Spring: Ideal for catching salmon using streamer and nymph flies.
  • Summer: Upper river areas provide excellent opportunities for trout fishing.

When you’re planning to fly fish in the Clyde River, considering the stretch of water you’re targeting is pivotal. The upper river is where you’re likely to find trout, while salmon are typically present throughout the river. Fly fishing techniques in these areas can be diverse, and you may find success with various approaches.

Flies to Consider:

  • Streamers: Mimic small fish and attract aggressive salmon.
  • Nymphs: Effective for trout, particularly in the upper river sections.

Nestled near Newport, the river also allows for convenient access to local amenities. Numerous guides and outfitters are available in the region, such as “I Guide The Clyde”, where you can seek local expertise to enhance your fly fishing adventure.


  • Always check the current fishing regulations.
  • Practice catch and release to preserve fish populations.

Remember, proper preparation and respect for the aquatic environment ensure a gratifying fly fishing experience on the Clyde River. Whether it’s a serene day casting for trout or the excitement of reeling in a landlocked salmon, the Clyde River offers you a memorable endeavor into the world of fly fishing.

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