If you want to head out for an overnight fishing trip to explore some of Vermont’s best hike-to trout ponds, you can load up with everything from waders and a float tube to a frying pan and an inflatable SUP or a canoe. Or you can travel light, as Peter Shea, author of Vermont Trout Ponds does and go minimal.
Shea uses strap-on sandals and neoprene socks and tucks his nylon pants into the socks in areas where leeches are present. Nearly 20 years before hiking poles became prevalent, Shea also figured out how to put his rod case to use as a hiking pole by taping a tomato paste can to the bottom and wrapping the top with a duct-tape grip. “I reduce my tackle from a 4-5 lb. fishing vest with everything but the kitchen sink to a small package of under 2 lbs.,” he says. Reels and flies (Shea recommends light-colored hex mayflies for early spring) go in a small fanny pack.
If you are new to fly fishing, keep in mind that pond fishing, where it’s often hard to find a clear place to cast, is more challenging than stream fishing. If you want to give it a try or have a kid who is starting out, Orvis’ entry-level Encounter Fly Rod Outfit comes with everything you need: rod (a choice of 5 weight to 8 weight and 8 inches to 10 inches) for just $169. The smaller versions are better suited to Vermont.
For overnights, consider bringing a sleeping hammock, such as the Eno JungleNest (that comes with mosquito netting) for $109.95. At just 20 ounces, the Jungle Nest (opening photo) not only cuts down on weight but extends your options for campsites, especially since finding cleared, dry ground near a trout pond can be challenging.
A water bottle that doubles as a water filter, the 16-ounce Grayl Ultralight Water Purifier
($89.95) weighs in at 10 ounces and will save time and aggravation when filtering water. You just fill it and press the water through a filter in the bottle, and you have a bottle filled with clean, bacteria-free water.
Pack a lightweight campstove and cooking kit, ample supply of bugspray (remember, fish like bugs), and a change of clothes and you are set for an outing.