Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Guide for the Batten Kill Vermont, Conti.
The state of New York stocks some brown trout in their part of the Batten Kill. There is a
lower, downstream special-regulations section there, and part of it is stocked. It is possible
to catch a lot of smaller stocked trout in that area but other than that, it is all wild-trout
fishing. The wild brown and brook trout are what many called "well educated". They can be
very picky and selective. There are a lot of highly skilled anglers that fish the river and all
of them will tell you the same thing. The trout are not easy to catch.

One reason that the trout are difficult is that most everyone releases their fish. When the
brown trout reach about the age of three they have pretty well seen about all the trout flies
and techniques that could possible be used to catch them. Many of them have been
caught more than once. When the browns get to about fourteen inches long in the Batten
Kill (as with most other streams), they just about stop rising to hatching insects. That
makes them even more difficult to pin point.

You must do things by the book fishing this river. You want catch anything if you wade
sloppy, move the gravel beneath your wading boots, throw shadows over the trout, make
poor presentations, line the trout, make excessive false cast and any number of other
things that spook trout.

One situation that causes the fishing to be tougher than average is the low gradient of the
river. The flow is generally slow in most places. There are lots of slow-flowing, long, smooth
flowing, flat pools. Yes, there are riffles between them but the trout are often found in the
pools. It would be much easier if all the trout stayed in the faster water, but they don't.
Most trout are situated along the banks, not out in the middle of the stream. There is little
structure or cover for them midstream. The trout have ample time to examine your fly just
about anywhere you cast it. You would think the current would be stable and smooth. That
is not the case at all. There are many different speeds of the current. There are lots of
conflicting currents in the smooth water.

By the time you figure out the hatches and conclude which flies give you the best
advantage or opportunity, you have to try to master the slow currents and presentations
that are absolutely necessary to fool the trout. By the time many anglers have worked out
these problems, things have changed and the fish are reacting to a different insect or have
ceased feeding in a certain area.

I wish I could tell you the secret or outline a few tactics or tricks that would always work on
the Batten Kill but I can't. It is a big challenge to out smart the trout there. Many anglers
don't like that type of fishing. When they cast, they want action. Those are the ones that
would not be happy fishing the Batten Kill. Others take a lot of pride in figuring out what the
trout are eating, matching it with an good imitation and presenting it in such a way as to
fool the Batten Kill's wise brown trout. I happen to be one of those guys. I get more
satisfaction out of catching a few trout under these tough conditions than I do a lot of them
where the fishing is easy. That makes the Batten Kill one of the top choices of Eastern
Streams as far as I am concerned.
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