Spring is here and fishing is picking up, so the Saratoga Resort and Spa team has gathered some awesome fly fishing tips to help optimize any early spring trips you make! Make sure to concentrate on the warmest parts of the day to optimize your fly fishing experience! Also, bypass your favorite summer water and look for those areas where fish do not have to use as much energy to hold in the current and feed.
Since water conditions are generally too cold for consistent insect hatches, trout will key on food sources that are available all year long. These resident food sources include leeches, minnows, scuds and immature nymphs. If trout come across these types of food sources, they will greedily devour them. If the weather does happen to warm, keep a keen eye out for an afternoon hatch to secretly come off the water.
The best advice I can offer to anyone interested in this type of early-season fly fishing is to carry a bit of everything in your fly box. A few suggestions would be to carry large nymphs such as the Bitch Creek Nymph, Girdle Bug, Kaufmann’s Stone and Hare’s Ear. Small nymphs such as the Pheasant Tail, Prince and Epoxy Back Stone should be included. Lastly, a few streamers such as Wooly Buggers, Rubber Leg Wooly Buggers, Muddler Minnows and Rabbit Strip Streamers are always a good idea.
Early-season fisheries can be characterized by sparkling spring days or (more often) chilly, windy, drizzly days. The first hatches to produce decent dry-fly fishing are Midges, Early Black and Brown Stoneflies and Little Black Caddis. These hatches can be light or heavy, depending on the fishery’s water temperature, speed and depth. Targeting the bigger of the dries (stoneflies) is a good idea for catching lethargic early-season trout. These flies represent a good sized meal that even the wariest trout can’t turn down. During the warmest part of the day, look for slow runs below fast riffles and side eddies to hold emerging adults.
The first mayflies to show up are BWOs and Blue Quills. These flies emerge just after the early stones and caddis when the water temperature is consistently in the high 40s. These special mayflies can hatch as early as 11 am and go on through most of the afternoon. Always look for the heaviest hatching to occur at the warmest part of the day.
When the water temperature reaches approximately 55-degrees for a few consecutive days, start looking for the bigger hatches. Quill Gordon’s, Light and Dark Hendrickson’s and larger caddis flies will start emerging, causing some great fishing action. Unlike the sporadic surface activity provided by the early hatches, these large bodied flies will awaken even the most lackadaisical fish and bring them to the surface to feed. If the temperature quickly dips down in the afternoon while a hatch is taking place, the hatching adults will have problems drying their wings and will ride the water’s surface for extremely long periods, resulting in an easy meal for trout.
Water normally runs high and fast during the early season, and the trout you find will be tight against the banks. In long, slower runs and riffles, trout will rest against the bottom or behind structure and away from the fast current, but they’ll still remain close enough to feed on any insect that gets swept in their direction.
Fly fishing the early season is done most effectively by dead drifting a heavy nymph with either a strike indicator or a big dry on a weight-forward floating fly line. These lines are great for this early season because they allow the angler an opportunity to either fish nymph’s deep or dries high on the water surface.
For floating lines, a good early-season leader should measure anywhere from 9′ to 12′ in length with a tippet to match the fly size. Ideal early season fly rods will be 9′ to 9’6″ fast-action rods. Longer rods seem to be a little better this time of year because they allow the angler to easily handle excess fly line on the water and mend the line as it hits fast water flows. Longer rods also make it easier to handle large pre-spawn fish.
Click here for more Spring Fly Fishing Tips. [hr]The Saratoga Resort and Spa is the classically perfect fishing lodge. World class service and overall quality are complemented by Class I Blue Ribbon water, a combination that is rare. Seventy miles of blue ribbon fishing on the upper North Platte River prompted Orvis News to report that our habitat remains “one of the fly fishing world’s best kept secrets”. Fish in the Saratoga Resort and Spa’s private ponds (catch and release) located just a short walk away.
Source: www.basspro.com; Jason Aki; www.orvis.com.