Keeping Rita alive

It’s really funny sometimes how what goes around, comes around. That is definitely the case with GMFFC’s newly restored drift boat, Rita!

Back in the day, when I was managing Green Mountain Troutfitters, a guy from Oregon popped in the shop trying to sell his Lavro drift boat and trailer. He showed me a flyer he had made, which depicted a fairly sad looking boat on a seemingly home-made trailer. “It’s not pretty, but it’s got plenty of fishy ju-ju!” he said. The boat had spent most of it’s life drifting the legendary Deschutes River in Oregon, so his fishy ju-ju comment more-than-likely carried some weight! Despite the asking price being massively low compared to other used boats on the market, I just couldn’t float the thousand bucks at the time so, off he went.

A few months later, I was driving by a local boat dealer and saw the old Lavro parked out front with a “For Sale” sign on it. I didn’t even bother to stop and look but, it turns out a friend of mine did! Craig bought the boat, gave it some love and took her out on a few drifts.

Rita at the Small Boat Exchange in Vermont

While in Craig’s care, Rita got a new rope seat, some rod holders and a new transom plate. Most importantly, he didn’t let her wither away and die. He kept her floating!

Keeping Rita Alive!

I’m not certain how long Craig owned Rita but, when he was ready to find her a new home, another local fishy friend, Zach stepped up to the plate. It looked like Rita was here to stay!

Some yesteryear marketing for the Lavro drifter

Scrolling through Facebook back in 2019, I came across the following ad, and this time, I wasn’t going to let Rita slip through my fingers…

I love bringing old stuff back to life and Rita, at over 40 years old, was long overdue for a facelift! Here’s a pictorial of the restoration…

Delivery Day

Step 1: Strip Down-Sand Down

Step 2: Topside Primer

Step 3: Topside Paint

Step 4: Hull Repair (This process took some time!)

Step 5: Hull Re-Finish Part 1 (New Gel Coat)

Step 5: Hull Re-Finish Part 2 (Top Coat and Wetlander Bottom Paint)

Step 6: Finishing Touches

Step 7: Enjoying the fruits of my labor!

Fishing the Third Branch with Finn

When your dad is Brendan Barden, there’s a good chance you’ll follow in his fishy footsteps. We’ve known Finn and Brendan for a number of years thanks to Green Mountain Troutfitters and the Ditch Pickle Classic, but we didn’t really know just what a keen young angler Finn was until he spent the week fishing with us at Seyon Lodge this summer. The following is an article that was written by Bob Eddy and appeared in The Herald this past August. You can link directly to the article HERE.

Fishing the Third Branch with Finn

Randolph 10-Year-Old Finds Joy Casting Flies on the River

“This is a roll cast,” 10-year-old Finn Barden explained. “After your cast, on the end of your drift, you pull the tip of your rod back slowly, leaving the fly in the water, and then quickly flick it forward, creating the looping of the line as the fly, leader, and line are lifted off the water and the fly is advanced further into the stream.” (Herald / Bob Eddy)

Finn Barden of Randolph Village turned 10 this summer. Like any young boy, Barden enjoys the long mornings and lengthening afternoons of play associated with vacation, now sadly over.

During those long summer days, you might see him riding his bike from his home on hospital hill, down to the banks of the Third Branch, a long fishing pole gently cradled under one arm.

Fishing is Barden’s greatest joy. And not just any fishing; fly fishing, where the weight of a rod is measured in ounces, where the line spools out to a leader as fine as the gossamer, and a hand-tied fly that will float upon the White, tempts fish to rise and strike.

Scooting around the village on his bike, Barden becomes an old soul as he contemplates and speaks of fishing. At water’s edge, and wading waist-deep, he is connected with currents in his Irish past.

“Finn is my name for short. Finnegan is my full name. It’s Irish. There were many Finnegans before me.

Barden displays a hopper (a dry fly which floats on the surface) with an additional very small nymph (a wet fly that sinks below). “With this setup, I get two chances. If the fish hits the nymph, the dry fly will drop under, and I set the hook. Or, the fish could just go straight to the dry fly. One time last week I caught a fish on both hooks with one cast!”

“It’s hard for me to recall my earliest fishing, but I do remember one time when I was maybe three years old. I was fishing with a Barbie rod; it had Barbie pictures all over it. I was using a lure, a blue fox, with a spinner. Our whole family was fishing from a boat on Silver Lake, and I caught a pike. Hard to say how big it was. I was so small at that age it seemed really huge! It was probably 16 inches, maybe bigger.

“We don’t keep many fish, it’s mostly catch and release. That’s fine with me because I don’t like fish now, probably because when I was three or four I used to catch dace with my bare hands and eat them live!”

In Randolph’s Third Branch, Barden reports having caught suckers, brown trout, brook and rainbow trout, and black-nose dace.

“Brook trout aren’t really trout,” he advises. They look like trout, but they’re char, a different family of fish.

“I love catching smallmouth bass. They’re in the main stem of the White in the summer, but not in the Third Branch. Smallmouth are a big fighting fish, very strong, much stronger than largemouth bass. You won’t find largemouth in the White River; they’re a lake fish, like lake trout.”

After five hours fishing on the Third Branch, Barden walks home along Pleasant Street. Beginning early at the golf course, he worked his way upstream to the village bridge. Barden’s boots are specially made for sure footing on the river bottom; his pack holds flies, line and tippet, clippers, forceps to assist in hook removal, a file for hook sharpening, and maybe a bite to eat.

Barden often fishes with his father, Brendan, and quickly launches from one recollection to the next. “Just yesterday, we were coming home from a weekend of camping near Bretton Woods at Mount Washington. We stopped at the Ammonoosuc for 10 minutes and I caught two small rainbows.

“I loved fishing with him in Ireland. At Fairy Glen we caught brown trout that looked like brook trout.

“We do the Ditch Pickle Fly Fishing Tournament on Lake Champlain in the early summer. My first year was 2017. You have to be seven, but I turned seven the day after.”

Asked how they did this summer, Barden wrinkled his nose, saying with a twisted smile, “Not very well.”

Barden is also keen on learning to tie his own flies. His favorites to tie now are eggs. He explains, “You take a small clump of puffy thread and yarn, lay it along the hook shank and wrap it, beginning at the loop, working back as you go. Once you’ve gone the length, you reverse to the loop and tie it off, making a soft bumpy egg imitation.

“I don’t do dry flies yet; they’re too complicated.”

Selecting the right fly for the day, the river, the time of year, is part of the fly fishing art. At the river’s edge, as he is prepares a new leader from tippet, Barden eyes the water, considering his options, “The smallest hooks I use are 24s, and those barely ever. I only use them when fishing for dace, or when the fish are really picky. Mostly I fish with eights, tens and twelves.”

His tackle readied, Barden walks slowly into the water, vision aided by polarized lenses. Moving with the current, he approaches a pool. Then, with deft arm and wrist motion of the rod, the line alternately braking and slipping through the fingers of his left hand, he sends the fly farther and farther out, finally presenting it gently upon the water.

“I let the nymph float downstream, moving my rod tip with the current. The fish will find it.”

Trout Stream Approach

Alright, you’ve just spent a pile of time and your parent’s money getting ready for this 5 day fly fishing camp experience and the last thing you want to do is blow your shot at catching fish because of a clumsy approach on the water.

Here are some tips that will help you connect with that slimy little devil and not send him packing instead…

Observe your surroundings – When you arrive at the fishing spot, take a moment and look around to see what’s involved. Are there trees or other obstacles that will make casting difficult? What type of presentation seems best?…dry fly, nymph, streamer? What bugs are around? Are fish rising? Is the water at a normal level? Think about exactly where you are going to position yourself to allow for the best possible approach.

Study up on trout habits – Knowing a little bit about how trout behave in their environment will go a long way towards a successful day on the water. For instance, trout ALWAYS face into the current unless swimming downstream. Given that, you are tremendously hurting your hookup odds by approaching the fish from upstream. Get below the target and present the fly upstream of it. The exception to this might be when swinging wet flies or streamers down and across or skating a caddis dry. 

Tread lightly – Fishing is really another form of hunting. Hunters don’t go out into the woods and shout for deer to come to them. They stalk quietly to avoid detection. Walk, don’t run on the stream and keep the splashing down to a minimum.

Stay low – Crouch down to stay as low to the surface of the water as you can. It is easier for trout to see you when you are standing up tall.

Dress in drab colors – Dress to blend in to the environment. You don;t see a whole lot of neon yellow in nature.

Peyton Fishes The Waits

Here’s some footage from 2016 that our great friend, Peyton captured on the GoPro…

“Green Mountain Fly Fishing Camp, July 2016. Fishing dry flies for Rainbows on the Waits River, VT… featuring friends of mine.” – Peyton


Know Before You Go

Let’s face it. Your week with Green Mountain Fly Fishing Camps could very well be the best week of of the year, and you want to make the most of it with plenty of fun and fish!

Here’s a few things that will help make that happen…

Casting, Casting, Casting! – A large part of your success is directly related to how well you can cast a fly. You don’t always have to make long casts, but accuracy and consistency are tremendously helpful. Practice makes perfect, so don’t skimp on that prior to camp!


Know some Knots – If you are comfortable with just a couple simple knots, you will spend far more time fishing, and far less time fumbling with knots. An improved clinch knot and double surgeon are 2 knots that will change your life if you can tie them quickly and properly, so grab some fishing line and get crackin’!

Dress for Success – There’s a saying in Vermont that goes, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes.” With that said, bring rain gear, plenty of dry socks and check the forecast before you head up to camp!

Know your Approach – How you approach the trout stream will make or break your fishing success. Check out our blog post, “Trout Stream Approach” to pick up a couple pointers on this topic.

Ask & Listen – Our staff of counselors have years of combined fishing knowledge that they love to share with our campers! Don’t be shy at camp. Ask questions and you’ll be amazed at how much you learn!


Welcome to GMFFC

Since 2012, Green Mountain Fly Fishing Camps has provided unique and unforgettable fly fishing experiences to kids between the ages of 11-15.
At Green Mountain Fly Fishing Camps, our goal is to inspire our campers to engage in activities that promote a deeper understanding and connection with the outdoors, our aquatic resources and ultimately, themselves!
Green Mountain Fly Fishing Camps employ a professional staff of guides and instructors with a dedication to introducing our campers to the wonderful world of fly fishing in a way that is safe, fun and sure to leave a lifelong impression!
Thanks for fishing with us!

Chris, Mike & Steve

Seyon Lodge Camp

Our camp at Seyon Lodge is New England’s finest destination fly fishing camp providing kids between 11 and 15 years of age an incredibly unique, 5 day/4 night experience in one of Vermont’s most pristine settings.

Throughout their stay, our campers at Seyon eat, breath and sleep fishing which, for most, is a dream come true!

Fly fishing experience is not required to attend and we have an excellent staff of guides and instructors that all are committed to passing on their knowledge to the next generation in a way that is safe, fun and sure to leave a life-long impression.

Since our first session at Seyon in 2012, we’ve hosted kids from all over the United States and beyond. This camp has a very high rate of return campers and we are typically fully booked by late winter, so contact us asap if you have a child that would like to attend!

2018 Camp DatesLocationLodgingMeals at SeyonNearby AccommodationsRates & Booking InfoSeyon F.A.Q.’sThe FishingCamp Images


Graduate Retreats

Our Graduate Retreats are the next-level experience for campers that have demonstrated they have what it takes to catch fish in a various scenarios without the assistance of a guide.

In order to attend a GMFFC Graduate Retreat, your child must be completely self-proficient on the water. Our staff of counselors will be available to provide adult supervision ONLY, and not to assist or instruct during fishing outings. It is your child’s responsibility to arrive equipped with all necessary gear and tackle for the duration of the retreat.

Kids of at least 13 years of age that have completed (2) sessions of our camp at Seyon Lodge are automatically invited to attend a retreat.

Upcoming retreats in 2019…

Connecticut River (August 4th – August 9th)

If you have specific questions about your child attending a retreat, drop us a line HERE.