The White River in VT is, according to our guide, Matt Stedina, the only New England fishery with wild rainbow trout in it. As we found out when we drove its length, it’s a very diverse fishery as well, from its beginnings until it flows into the Connecticut River in White River Junction, VT.
We met Matt near our campground and headed out to fish it on a foggy morning. We parked our car near a long, tall bridge, shuttled Matt’s truck to a spot upstream, and after returning to that bridge, proceeded to bushwhack our way down the bank to the river.
When we arrived at the banks of the White, we could look up and see traffic crossing the bridge headed to Hartford, Lebanon, Hanover, and other points as people were starting their workday. For us, we carefully waded out into the river and began fishing a riffle/run section of the river. The White at this point had both wild and stocked rainbows and we were lucky enough to land a couple in our first hole. We were fishing large dry flies and seeing fish rise to hit them was so much fun. On one cast, as I was watching my fly drift downstream, I saw a fish rise behind it, and then, BAM, it hit it with such great force, not like the trout we’d experienced so far. As it turned out, it wasn’t a trout at all, but a smallmouth bass. It put up a really good fight, but, I landed it and released it gently back into the current.
As we waded our way upstream, never leaving the river, the sun was burning off the fog and the temperature started getting warmer. We gave up on the dry flies and put on a nymph rig when we got to the big hole Matt was targeting. We were both lucky enough to catch multiple fish out of this hole before the water temps were getting too warm and we decided to call it a day. These trout will continue to feed as the water temps rise, but hooking, fighting and landing them puts them at more risk to perish.
We bushwhacked our way up another bank to get back to Matt’s truck and found a nice spot on the river for our “Guide Talk” with Matt. Matt is the only guide who will float the White River from spot to spot, allowing anglers to fish the best of the White River. The water was low at this time, so our trip was purely wading up the White River from spot to spot. Matt indicated that if you came back in late May/June, you’d be in his boat and hitting more prime fishing holes on the river. We’ll be back, but for now, we hope you enjoy our conversation with Matt Stedina, Trout Bum Guide Service, Stockbridge, VT.