The ’Eyes of spring are upon us
Benson fishing guide James Vladyka of Fish Hounds Outdoors holds up a good-sized walleye on a recent expedition.
This is the time anglers wait all year for.
It’s opening day of deer season, turkey season and grouse season, all wrapped up into a shallow-water feeding frenzy of great fishing.
It’s almost hard not to catch fish.
Unless you’re me. Then it’s still pretty easy.
I had a chat with James Vladyka of Fish Hounds Outdoors recently about the walleye fishing and he said this is the time to chase ’eyes.
Walleye season just opened for the year in most of the state May 3, with Chittenden Reservoir walleye off limits until June 1. The state boasts of “the best walleye fishing in New England,” and Vladyka recently showed why.
He and a buddy spent a day on the Missisquoi, one of several Lake Champlain tributaries that boasts good walleye fishing along with the Lamoille River, Winooski River, Otter Creek and Poultney River.
Other options include the Connecticut River, Lake Carmi, Salem Lake, Island Pond, Clyde Pond, and the Clyde River.
Vladyka had a great day just a couple of days ago on the Missisquoi, catching walleyes up to 28 inches (about 8 pounds).
He said this is the time folks can find them, as they run up the rivers as soon as the water starts warming up after ice-out.
The Benson guide said there are some techniques to help get anglers into fish.
Many anglers will troll a Shad Rap or crankbait similar to the Rapala plug.
Live bait anglers might try a fathead minnow, or troll a worm harness with a night crawler.
Vladyka said his personal preference is plastics and he fishes Makiplastic and Lake Fork Trophy Lures.
During the recent walleye outing, he was fishing 2½-inch Lake Fork Trophy Lures’ Live Baby Shad plastics.
He said to troll them against the current on a jig head heavy enough to get to the bottom. While anything from a one-quarter ounce to three-quarter ounce jig might work, Vladyka found three-eighths and one-half ounce the right size to keep the lure bouncing off the bottom.
“If you’re not losing jigs, you’re not fishing deep enough,” Vladyka said.
He suggested plying deep holes, bends in the river, and near dams and seams in the river where faster water and slack water meet.
Vladyka asked to remind everyone that while the fishing is hot, and a fish dinner is one of the benefits to this great hobby, its also not the time to get greedy.
“Everybody likes to catch some fish to eat, but let your females go,” Vladyka said. “Keep some smaller fish, and let those big females go.”
Contact Vladyka through his website at www.fishhounds.net.
Other fish are turning on as well. Largemouth and smallmouth are moving shallow. This is one of the great times of the year when bank anglers have a decent shot at a really nice fish.
Trolling has been producing nice-sized lake trout, salmon and northern pike.
In the rivers, trout have come alive all over the state with some nice sized rainbows, browns and brookies showing up as flows have decreased and temperatures have climbed.
Anybody who knows the Vladykas knows of their chocolate Lab, Rogue Marie Vladyka.
Sadly, the dog that was always in the boat, truck, blind, shanty, etc., has crossed the rainbow bridge. The recent Facebook announcement drew 65 condolence messages. The only good news in this is the Vladykas had just gotten a new Lab, Storm.
Rogue and the pup got two days together, and it seems she imparted her wisdom.
Storm has already accounted for crappie, stripers and walleye, and made her first trip to Bass Pro Shops.