Chompin’ at the Bit
Early Spring Trout Fly Fishing
Spring is in the air… longer and warmer days are here. And that means only one thing – the trout are getting more active and we have all been chomping at the bit to get out. Especially with this pandemic keeping us inside. And without a doubt, fly fishing for trout can be the perfect way to get away from it all – especially since you are outdoors and generally away from others – naturally social distancing. And please do be safe and follow the appropriate distancing and hygiene guidelines we all know about. Here in Ohio, water temps are creeping up, and aside from heavy spring downpours, water is clearing up. So, let’s get after those finned favorites. Join us at Briarwood Sporting Club, an Ohio trout fishing club, to discover our little slice of fishing heaven at this wonderful time of year. And to start you out, here are my favorite early Spring tips for trout…
The fish are chillin’
The water temperatures vary right now with some cooler nights and warmer days – and even different parts of the streams vary. As the water begins to consistently and slowly rise above 50F, we know the trout will be feeding. Regardless, for now try fishing deeper, and a bit more slowly until those temps reach above 50 consistently when we know we will see fish feeding closer to the surface. Try a strike indicator if you want to keep it off the bottom. At Briarwood Sporting Club right now, we are seeing water temps in the upper 40s to mid 50s in streams, lakes and ponds.
Go big with flash
With slower moving fish and a murky, colder home, throw something bigger and flashier. Give it a try! Start using different streamers, like bright clouser minnows, larger chartreuse buggers with some tinsel, and simply favorite flies outside your normal color range are worth a cast. If you usually throw something with a size 12 or 14 hook, go for size 10. Bottomline, get their attention. Last April, a buddy and I tried size 8 articulated streamers at Briarwood Sporting Club and we both caught very large Rainbows with just a few casts, and then a few Goldens. And I don’t know if it was the streamer, but boy did they fight!
Make it a double
If you don’t normally use a dropper, now is the perfect time. Two is better than one, especially if you want to get their attention. As a refresher, a dropper is a 18-24” piece of tippet tied off the shank of your first fly hook – in this case, try a wooly bugger, streamer, zonker, or a large leech beadhead. On the end of the tippet you tie a smaller fly – I like to try a WD-40, or of course a perfect fly for now, a black zebra midge. (The latter is a fly box must have – sizes 14-20.) Fish this combo slow and deep at first. With double the trouble, you can get their attention.
Fish outside the box
This is the hardest concept for me, and I would imagine you as well. Simply trying something different. Does it seem like you are always using the same flies and fishing in the same spots? Don’t get me wrong, you have your favorites for a reason. But trying new flies and new parts of the favorite stream has rewarded me, especially at slower times.
And now some of those flies, like the WD-40, have become a favorite spring fly. Dig through your flybox and tie on something you bought for a reason some point in the past, you know, the one with cobwebs dangling?! Now is a great time to try something different and new for you. Also, try those areas which appear deeper, those out of the way and tougher to reach, or perhaps an area where our finned friends can lie in ambush.
Don’t fish often bite when you are looking elsewhere, chatting with a buddy, texting a friend a pic of the last whopper, simply daydreaming, or sometimes when you are just slowly retrieving that fly from the water? Sometimes it pays to simply wait a bit especially with these conditions. Let the fish find your offering this time!
Tight lines my friends ~ Drew
Drew McCartt, a fly angler for nearly 30 years and a member at Briarwood for more than five serves as Director of Sporting Services at the private fishing club located in Bellefontaine, Ohio.
To discover more about Briarwood Sporting Club visit our website, www.briarwoodclub.com, or email Drew at email@example.com