Vermont - Battenkill, Mettawee

Jay_H

Jay_H

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So I’m headed to Vermont in early June for a few days on a family trip. I plan on getting out for a few hours to fish.

My initial thought was to fish the Battenkill, however upon doing some research it seems it is (understandably) heavily fished and seems like access is somewhat difficult due to private property.

Reading online it seems that the Mettawee may be a better option.

Wondering if anyone has fished this area and could point me in the right direction. It’s my first time there and I’m looking forward to the trip.
 
Yea I have fished both.

Battenkill is a ground water fed stream. Does see alot of pressure and there are educated trout. If you fish above town or in town got a shot at good sized wild native brook trout I got a 10-11 outta there. There are wild brown fish in there too. If you go further down below town there are some parks you can get access on. I did not fish in the winter i fished in june.

The Metawee is a spring creek with access north of Manchester as you drive towards mount tabor. It has wild native brook trout, wild brown trout, and rainbows. It certainly sees less pressure than the battenkill. There is access in a park within a housing development or if ya start driving down stream there is another are of access by a road side park that passes through farm land.
 
I've fished both frequently, but with more experience on the NY side. I fish the VT side occasionally.

There's plenty of Battenkill access from the border out to Arlington and sporadically between Arlington and Manchester. (I don't know the water above Manchester well, but I believe it starts to look a bit slow and froggy in places).

I'd say I fish Battenkill too frequently, if that signifies anything, as I don't feel it delivers on the effort put in. For me, a normal outing will produce a couple small browns and the occasional brookie. There's certainly big fish in there and it's true they're pressured, but I think there might be more to it. The common story is that natural reproduction started crashing in the 90s and it has never really fully recovered, which has left a dwindling population of large browns and not much in the way of smaller fish. Even Rosenbauer has said there's about a two week window when you can effectively target the big fish. In any case, I don't have numbers days unless I move to the NY stocked portion. (The first 5 miles of NY is also not stocked, like VT).

The Mettawee is much more like what you would expect from a brook trout stream: there's good potential to catch lots of smaller fish. In addition, most of the feeders to the Batt coming from the east will have good populations of small brookies.

If you plan to target brook trout, early June is a great time to be there to splat dries and foam flies.
 
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If your there in june otter creek has some good hatches
 
@Jay_H That should have read "feeders from the east". The small streams coming out of the Green Mountains are just about all brook trout streams.
 
So I’m headed to Vermont in early June for a few days on a family trip. I plan on getting out for a few hours to fish.

My initial thought was to fish the Battenkill, however upon doing some research it seems it is (understandably) heavily fished and seems like access is somewhat difficult due to private property.

Reading online it seems that the Mettawee may be a better option.

Wondering if anyone has fished this area and could point me in the right direction. It’s my first time there and I’m looking forward to the trip.
I fish that area a decent bit. The stretch along River rd just west of Arlington from the covered bridge up past the influx of the green river (which is smaller than most cricks around here but runs COLD) has treated me well- lots of nice wild browns averaging on the smaller side but with some surprising high teens to low 20’s fish to be found. There’s a good mix of pocket water and deep pools and early June should be before the tube and kayak hatch starts. I’m honestly not sure whether it’s private or public land but there’s plenty of access and nobody has ever yelled at me to leave. The vibe is pretty chill, way less hammer dicks regarding posted streamside property up there than in PA. Even though it’s a storied river I often find I have large stretches of it to myself with an early AM start.
 
I fish that area a decent bit. The stretch along River rd just west of Arlington from the covered bridge up past the influx of the green river (which is smaller than most cricks around here but runs COLD) has treated me well- lots of nice wild browns averaging on the smaller side but with some surprising high teens to low 20’s fish to be found. There’s a good mix of pocket water and deep pools and early June should be before the tube and kayak hatch starts. I’m honestly not sure whether it’s private or public land but there’s plenty of access and nobody has ever yelled at me to leave. The vibe is pretty chill, way less hammer dicks regarding posted streamside property up there than in PA. Even though it’s a storied river I often find I have large stretches of it to myself with an early AM start.
Oh, you mean this covered bridge... WHERE THIS LADY DUMPED A DEAD GUY'S ASHES ON ME 😂

PXL 20220603 210912785
 
If it was small mountain stream fishing up and around Killington, I could put you on some good streams for small, wild brookies.
 
Bumping because I attended a TU meeting tonight where Doug Lyons gave a talk related to his new book Fly Fishing Guide to the Battenkill. Grabbed a copy of the book, too.

I continue to fish the Battenkill with limited success - a fish or two a trip - in both VT and NY. I still think it's a tough river, but Lyons' book definitely tries to make it an everyperson affair and breaks down a lot of the challenges to help anglers unlock the river.

Particularly of interest is that Lyons is regularly involved in surveying and electrofishing all throughout the river, and it really sounds like fish populations are bouncing back at all class years. Having fished the river all last weekend with hopper dropper rigs and getting 1 fish and missing 3 others (all prospecting, never seeing a rise), I'll testify it's still not easy. However, it's great to hear the stream is really rebounding, as I think it's one of the cooler freestone fisheries in New England.

I've only just started thumbing through the book, but I think it would be a valuable guide for anyone headed up here (no association with the author! I paid full cash value!).
 
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Bumping because I attended a TU meeting tonight where Doug Lyons gave a talk related to his new book Fly Fishing Guide to the Battenkill. Grabbed a copy of the book, too.

I continue to fish the Battenkill with limited success - a fish or two a trip - in both VT and NY. I still think it's a tough river, but Lyons' book definitely tries to make it an everyperson affair and breaks down a lot of the challenges to help anglers unlock the river.

Particularly of interest is that Lyons is regularly involved in surveying and electrofishing all throughout the river, and it really sounds like fish populations are bouncing back at all class years. Having fished the river all last weekend with hopper dropper rigs and getting 1 fish and missing 3 others (all prospecting, never seeing a rise), I'll testify it's still not easy. However, it's great to hear the stream is really rebounding, as I think it's one of the cooler freestone fisheries in New England.

I've only just started thumbing through the book, but I think it would be a valuable guide for anyone headed up here (no association with the author! I paid full cash value!).
Nice! Just bought a copy. I’m a sucker for guidebooks, especially river specific ones. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’ve had good luck nymphing the battenkill. As a freestone fishery the trout are usually feeding on something down there.
 
Nice! Just bought a copy. I’m a sucker for guidebooks, especially river specific ones. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’ve had good luck nymphing the battenkill. As a freestone fishery the trout are usually feeding on something down there.

If you haven't seen, Lyons is also on Rosenbauer's podcast this week promoting the book. It's a good talk as well, and freer than the book!
 
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