These early spring fly fishing tips could help you catch the biggest of the year.
Now that the weather is finally warming up, are you thinking about heading out to land a few trout using a fly?
It’s about time to pull out the fly rods and start tying flies for an early spring fishing escapade. When you head out the door, though, make sure to keep these eight tips in the back of your mind.
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With a little bit of luck, these strategies will help you get an early start on a fruitful fishing season.
View the slideshow to see the eight tips for maximizing early spring fly fishing success.
Take advantage of your opportunities
In the early spring, weather is anything but consistent. You can easily go from one week of snow and bitter cold temperatures to one week of temperatures in the high 50s and back again before it is really and truly “spring.”
Because of this, fishing is far from consistent in the early spring as well, so you are going to have to truly pick your spots if you want to be catching trout on the fly before everyone else. Always pay attention to the weather forecast and watch for warming spells that might get the fish biting for a couple of days.
In addition, be aware of the bodies of water in your area that generally thaw and warm the earliest. Note ponds, lakes, and rivers that get a lot of midday sun. These are the places where you are going to want to lay down the law for some early spring fly fishing.
Pay attention to water temperatures
Air temperature and sun are one thing to pay attention to throughout the spring, but if you think you’ve got a fishing opportunity thanks to the weather, at least make sure the water you are fishing is warm enough to be viable.
Investing in a portable water thermometer will pay dividends at this time of year, as most fishing experts contend that trout won’t be feeding (and therefore won’t be biting your flies) in water colder than 44 degrees. You’ve got some leeway on either end of that number, of course – fish aren’t just going to start or stop eating the moment the water temp crosses the 44-degree boundary – but if the water is significantly below 40 degrees, chances are you aren’t catching anything in it.
Change your color with the season
Every angler’s selection of flies and fly patterns is a bit different, so we’re not going to make any assumptions about the color of the flies in your tackle box. Most experts indicate that darker color flies work best in the early spring, when the environment you’ll be fishing in is mostly drab and brown.
The same darker color schemes work well in the late fall and throughout the winter, so if you’ve done any measure of fly fishing since about October, there’s a good chance you’re already using the dark flies.
Keep up with that until the weather begins to warm up and the environment begins to get some color. Later spring or summer fish respond to colorful flies, but they’re not quite there yet.
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Try a streamer
Forget the dry flies for the time being; in most cases, your best early spring fly fishing action will come from using a streamer.
Since most insect types still haven’t hatched yet, your selection of viable flies might be feeling a bit limited. So grab a streamer and dive right in.
You won’t want to fish it quite like you would in the peak season, but by being a bit more modest about your movements – and by following a few of the other tips to come on this list – you will be able to catch fish on your wet flies.
Choose the right materials
What’s your favorite type of streamer? If you’re anything like early spring trout, your answer is probably a natural pattern that uses natural and visually striking materials like rabbit hair or marabou.
Since you’ll be fishing your bugs more slowly than at other times of the year, you need to compensate by using streamers that still look appetizing and interesting when moving at a slow pace.
Put on the brakes
The biggest thing to remember with early season fly fishing is that everyone is moving a bit slower than they will later in the season.
After a long, cold winter, fish aren’t going to be very aggressive at this time in the year, and they’re probably even going to be a bit lazy. In other words, if you stripe your streamer past a fish as fast as you would in the summer, he’s not going to be willing to exert the effort necessary to pursue it.
Put on the brakes and use slower speeds to catch the attention of these hungry (but slow) early spring specimens.
Dive into the depths
Don’t literally dive in the water – doing so might be extremely cold – but do make sure that your streamers are getting deeper down into the water than you would normally fish them.
It may be spring, but the waters are still cold, and fish will look for relief in the slightly warmer depths.
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Therefore, your bugs will have to get down further than usual just to have a chance of snagging a bite. To do this, send your casts upstream, then tug it down so that it will instantly submerge and be taken by the current. The more adept you are at fishing your streamers in deep water, the more trout you will catch in the early spring.
Tie with materials that add weight to your fly
Want to make sure you’re getting as deep into the water as you need to be? Add heavier materials to your fly tying workshop, using heavier metal heads and bodies as the base for your streamers.
The added weight won’t be a lot, but it will definitely make a difference as far as reaching and catching fish is concerned. Many anglers also indicate that fishing streamers with fluorocarbon provide better sinking function.