Peter Basta Guide Service and Outfitter

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Since my last report, fishing conditions have improved once water levels lowered to fishable heights. I have done a few trips and took the time myself to scout and continue to check conditions. Many times in late July we are dealing with the hottest weather of our season and often low flows for our freestone streams. This year is quite different!!! Water levels, while high for this time of year, are excellent from the fishing standpoint. Water temps in my watersheds that get too warm to fish in summer are only in the low 60's, which is excellent!

More detail of river flows showed that from July 20th flows decreased to fishable heights which made conditions fishable soon after that date. The Batten Kill went from 1300 CFS to 473 CFS on the August 3rd. and a rain event raised water to a high of 937 CFS on the 5th. I like to fish the Kill in NY anywhere below a 900 CFS range. Other watersheds I target are in very fishable shape and nothing is "Blown Out" as I write this report.

I have been fishing mornings and some afternoons I have been targeting small water. Because of the higher than normal flows I am nymphing, wet fly swing and a fair amount of dry fly fishing in my small water targets. For bugs, I am starting to see significant numbers of Tricos but no major spinner falls. Small tan Caddis (size 18-20) and some Blue Wing Olives (size 20) round things out.

I again want to mention that I have available dates for August and September so contact me to take advantage of the good fishing.

Tight Lines


THE CATASTROPHIC FLOODS IN VERMONT DID NOT NEGATIVELY IMPACT OUR WILD AND STOCKED FISHERIES IN SOUTHWESTERN VERMONT AND NEARBY NY. I have been scouting the area since my return from Canada on the 15th of July. While many of the waters are still too high to fish (Battenkill 1300 CFS, The Wallomsac 409 CFS), the Mettawee River in NY fished very well today. My small water targets are all coming into excellent fishable heights and none of those targets show any negative impact from the high flows. Also, in all waters, there is no scouring of rocks and the algae and bugs are still there. In addition, with the higher than normal flows, water temps are in the low 60's which is excellent for this time of year!

I predict that we will have excellent fishing in all watersheds once levels get to good fishable heights. The weather is calling for some rain but nothing to cause flooding.

The next couple of weeks should have some great fishing looking at the long term forecast for temperatures and precipitation. Cooler than normal and slightly wetter than normal.

If you can fish more spur-of-the-moment please contact me, I have available dates to take advantage of the fishing conditions.

Tight Lines


Greetings from Canada where Pauline (my wife) and I are finishing up our time in Nova Scotia and PEI! We had a great time, some beach weather (not enough), lots of sight seeing, great food, relaxing, and I fished for Salmon on the Margaree for a couple of 1/2 day outings. The big news from Vermont was the flash flooding that occurred there on July 9th into the 10th. Communities not too far from Southwestern Vermont were hit hard where localized flash flooding from 5-8 inches of rain. I have been watching this from afar and looking at the gaging stations on my target watersheds and none of these went to flood stage at any time during the event. Only the Mettawee in NY went to minor flood stage but for only an hour. Waters are very high and unfishable now but are dropping. My estimate is we got 2-3 inches of rain rather than the downpours in the other areas of the state that were hit hard.

I am leaving tomorrow on our return trip to Vermont and will give you a report once I get home and have had some time to scout the area streams as to their condition.

Tight Lines


I had a cancellation today due to high water from recent rains. I thought some of my small water targets would be in good shape so I ventured out to check some targets close to home. The first one was too high so I decided to check the upper Flower Brook. Before 2011 this was an excellent small water target with wild Rainbows and Brook Trout. It had pockets, pools, and a narrow rocky/gravel channel that changed little year to year. Tropical storm Irene and another major flood in 2016 changed all that, severely damaging the trout holding habitat. A wider and braided channel, very few pools, and little holding depth in pockets. I walked over a mile in 2 sections that used to be excellent small water targets. Where in the past I would have 20-25 holding spots for fish, there were only 5. They all held fish but only 1-2 per location. The trout were healthy and fat. The bug life was only ok. It too was still in recovery. Luckily I have a number of targets that were less damaged from the big floods we are having, but even there, I am catching less fish.

Since my last report the weather has been very nice with cooler than normal temperatures and water temps in the mid to high 50's. Water levels continue to drop due to a lack of rain. For example the Battenkill on May 20th was over 700 CFS and before recent rains dropped to around 225 CFS. As I write this we have gotten almost an inch of rain and more to come. The next 10-14 days call for a wetter than normal period with seasonally cool temps. for mid to late June.

The last of the river stockings in Vermont was during the first week of June and the last stocking for the Battenkill in NY was last week. Overall the fish were in great shape, fat and colorful. My thanks to the crew at the Bennington Fish Hatchery where our fish come from.

Overall the fishing has been good. Insect hatches of Caddis, the start of our early Blue Wing Olives, and the end of the March Browns at this time. I have had some dry fly fishing and a dry/dropper combo has been particularly useful for fished over stock Browns.

I will be busy with trips till the end of the month. I will be away on vacation from the 3rd of July till the 15th travelling in eastern Canada. I will be taking bookings from the 16th of July on.

Tight Lines


For May so far spring has progressed but with some very cool and wet weather the first week of the month. On May 2nd-3rd we had a steady cold rain that raised water levels beyond fishable heights and so it may have affected the Hendrickson hatch and Bracycentrus ( Olive Caddis). The hatch probably was fine, just not for us to fish. On the 3rd of May, the Battenkill was 1800 CFS,The Walloomsac was 839 CFS and the Mettawee was 600 CFS. The second week temperatures rebounded and we actually saw the sun on numerous occasions. Fishing conditions have improved till this date and all watersheds I target have seen a steady drop in flows with no rain since that first week. As I write this report the levels are all in very good shape for this time of year. The Battenkill 505 CFS, the Walloomsac 145 CFS, and the Mettawee 145 CFS. Water temps. are now in the low-mid 50's F.

Stocking has continued in both Vermont and NY. but as of yet the Wallomsac (upper river) and the Hoosic have not been stocked. They did stock the Otter in Wallingford last week with Rainbows but I don't guide there out of respect for 2 guides in the Rutland area who focus on that target. In NY there have been a number of small stockings in both the BattenKill and the Mettawee, so I have been fishing in NY as well as some small water in VT.

For hatches this week, tan Caddis are starting to hatch as well as Light Cahills and I am seeing a few March Browns, I have had some respectable dry fly fishing in small water.

For bookings, the remainder of May is sold out but I have some open dates in June so if interested in booking, email me asap so we can get you on the calendar.

Tight Lines


I am sitting in my vehicle looking over the Kill after having just left the stream myself scouting and fishing during the Hendricksons. I was focusing on swinging flies to fish with their heads up. I was looking for wild fish and the river was quite high. Most places that I looked at that I thought a fish would be working showed nobody looking up. Not many bugs in Vermont but more as I got lower in the river in NY. I found one place that I thought could have the correct flows but it required crossing and a bit of walking. When I arrived there were heads looking up but way too far to get a proper drift with a dry fly. This was the perfect condition to swing a wet fly or nymph emerger just under the surface. And the perfect weapon was my 11' 4" 4 WT Trout Spey. I was successful hooking and landing 2 of the fish before others were put down. Nice wild Battenkill fish!!

Since my last report spring has been cooler and a bit wetter than normal. At the time of the opener in VT (April 8th.) river conditions were unfishable and though levels kept dropping throughout the month many remained too high to fish. The levels today are the Battenkill 937 CFS,The Walloomac 350 CFS and the Metawee in NY around 350 CFS. As for stocking rivers and streams NY has been doing so on the Battenkill and the Mettawee. Their stocking policy is to spread the stock out over a longer time frame. It appears they are stocking every 2 weeks so these watersheds have had 2 stockings already. But because of the higher flows and lower water temps. I am finding it hard to get the fish to take under these conditions. Vt this week stocked the trophy stretch of the Otter and the Walloomsac as well as East Creek in Rutland.

I have been fishing Bullhead Pond and Lake Shaftsbury for stocked pond fish. Still figuring it out and catching a few as well.

Pray for some warmer weather and a sunny day or two to get things really going.

Tight Lines.


It's the first week of April, a few days before the official opener for our Trout Season. Since last year there has been a change from a closed season in the winter to many streams open all winter to catch and release fishing with artificial lures and flies. This holds true in both VT and NY. While last year I did not take advantage of it due to a cold winter and winter employment commitments. This winter I was able to fish several times when the weather was tolerable and water levels appropriate. In mid-February I fished big water in NY swinging flies with my trout Spey with limited success. I also fished some small water targets with fair success. I spent time (when snow levels were not too deep) to prune my bounce trails and check targets for access and changes in the streams since last fall. Our February was one of the warmest on record. Mid February to early March was when I was astream.

While February and early March were warmer than normal, the rest of March was very much winter again. Several big snowstorms back to back and colder than normal temps. produced some of the best skiing of the season. I got 42 inches at my home in one of those storms! As a result, now in Early April, we are now seeing significant snowmelt in all my watersheds from these events. Flows are pretty much bank full and quite cold. The Battenkill is in the 1950 CFS range. The Walloomsac is about 1200 CFS and The Mettawee around 900 CFS. Water temps are in the 38-42' F range. It doesn't look good for rivers and streams for the opener. Actually it is not safe to be in the water at those flows. Lakes and ponds are your best bet. As I write this, VT has done some stocking of lakes and ponds in advance of the opener. Examples of that are Lake Shaftsbury, Lake Paran, and Bullhead pond all in Bennington County. When it warms up a little I will target myself with my Flycraft rowing raft. I am finishing installing a front brace for the front angler and a new rod rack.

That's all I have at this time. Be safe and cautious with this high and cold water.

Tight Lines.

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