FLY FISHING THE BATTENKILL RIVER, NEW YORK
Vermont's Batten Kill River is born in the Green Mountains
and flows for nearly 50 miles, crossing the border into
New York State. In Manchester, the headquarters for the
Orvis Corporation sits on the banks of the Batten Kill
along historic Route 7A. The beauty and history behind
this region alone makes a trip here worth your while.
A few rising trout and a nice dinner at a nearby restaurant
would fancy almost any angler's delight.
The Batten Kill is an all-year fishery. Cold underground
springs help provide cool water throughout the summer
months. It has not been stocked since 1971, and wild
browns proliferate along with beautiful brook trout,
some reaching 12 or more inches long. Cool water year
round and scenic mountains, together with fussy wild
browns and brook trout make this a popular spot.
Flowing out of East Dorset just a few miles northeast
of Manchester, the Batten Kill is small. It tumbles and
meanders along Route 7, which splits into Route 7 and
old Route 7A just below Dorset. The top end of the river,
from East Dorset into Manchester, is characterized by
its short riffles, runs, and pools. It holds some nice
brook trout and a few browns averaging 8 to 10 inches
Just below Manchester, Union Street crosses the river
and offers a section of "fly fishing only" water
from the bridge south for approximately one mile. Below
Manchester, the Battenkill slightly increases in size
with the help of Lye Brook, Mill Brook, and a couple
of other small feeder creeks. Larger pools are prevalent
here and it's easier to find holding water. Browns navigate
throughout these pools and will gently sip many of the
Mayflies that hatch here. It's common to see several
decent-sized trout feeding together in one run or pool.
This section of river is known for having browns in the
15 to 17+ inch class.
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Below Manchester, the river flows through the town of
Arlington. Here it makes a sharp bend towards the west
and flows for approximately three miles until it reaches
West Arlington. With faster runs and good oxygenation,
this portion of river is a little wider and shallower,
making it a good stretch of river to fish. Some nice
fish can be found throughout the deeper pools here, but
on average they are a little smaller.
Just west of West Arlington, the Batten Kill crosses
the New York border. There is a special
regulations area at the NY border downstream. Fishing
on the New York side is as good as in Vermont and offers
some nice places to pull over and fish. Here, Route
313 follows the river from West Arlington across the
border. The river flows through a few towns in New
York, until finally reaching the Hudson River.
Hatches are prolific due to the cold water throughout
the year, and insects are able to survive the hot summers
here, unlike many freestone rivers. Hendricksons, Blue
Quills, and Red
Quills can be found early in the year. As the year
wears on, many other types of Mayflies will keep you
busy. You'll also find many Stoneflies and Caddis hatching
from April to July. By August, terrestrial fishing
can prove to be very good. The Batten Kill River, flowing
through Vermont and New York, offers anglers a wonderful
place to spend a weekend fishing, with beautiful scenery,
wild fish, and good hatches. So, the next time you're
looking for a nice weekend getaway for fishing, plan
a trip to the Batten Kill.