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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.

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Clouser Minnow

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!

trout-fishing-fly-lures-briarwood chartreuse-bugger

Wooly Bugger

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.

trout-fishing-fly-lures-briarwood black-zebra-midge

Black Zebra Midge

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.

trout-fishing-fly-lures-briarwood WD-40

WD-40

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 deeperthose out of the way and tougher to reach, or perhaps an area where our finned friends can lie in ambush.  

And…just…be…patient…

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 drew@briarwoodclub.com 

For over 40 years Briarwood Sporting Club has been a “slice of wilderness” in central Ohio, delivering a relaxed atmosphere of soothing freshwater amid breathtaking rolling hills, meadows, and timber. Four streams are home to some very impressive “wall ready” trout – including rainbows, brown, brook, golden, blue and calico. 
As a majestic and vast landscape, Briarwood abounds with plentiful Ohio trophy whitetails, lunker bass, slab panfish, and other finned favorites. Gorgeous hardwoods, pines, and meadows present a habitat that has plentiful food plots and wildlife openings.  
First-class lodging, 5-star service and food, a welcoming loafing lodge, and incredible and diverse wildlife viewing complete the perfect outdoor escape to create an unforgettable experience. 

EHD Outbreak Forcing Midwest Outfitters to Cancel Hunts this Season

2019 Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) Outbreak: Where to Hunt to Avoid EHD Impacts this Fall

 

If you would have talked to most deer hunters in the Midwest 15 years ago, they would have looked at you cross-eyed if you asked if they had heard of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease – or more commonly called EHD. In the 2000s, the disease seemed to be a rare occurrence in the region. Though more common in the southern US, the term EHD was not something that many deer hunters would have been familiar with. Fast forward to the last 10 years and watch a Midwest deer hunter’s face when you mention the disease. Since a major outbreak in 2012, it seems that the Midwest deer hunting meccas have been hammered by the high-frequency fatal disease. Though not “always” fatal like some other diseases, EHD tends to hit fast and hard. Often leaving specific farms in areas devasted and others untouched.

Deer found on Indiana Farm from suspected 2019 EHD Outbreak.

Seemingly a more occurring event than not, 2019 is shaping up to be no different. With deer herds being hammered by the disease from Missouri to Ohio staring in late June, some of the country’s prime deer herds are left in shambles. The Mississippi River Valley for Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois has been blasted after a severe flood event left behind standing water drying to mud flats – the prime breeding ground for the Culicoides midge, a known carrier of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease.

From the fertile river valleys to the heart of Indiana and Kentucky, hunters are finding their targets on the ground long before the season has even opened – and we aren’t out of the woods quite yet. Though we have definitely reached the peak, unseasonably dry and warm conditions will drive whitetails to congregate at waterholes and flats where the midges feast, infecting more and more whitetails each day.

For many hunters, the once “Christmas Eve” like feeling has turned to complete sickness. A trip that they may look forward to each year to hunt Midwest giants is now in jeopardy of even happening, as many outfitters may be forced to cancel hunts this year in order to preserve the remaining herd.

Reports from across the Midwest that some outfitters in Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, western Kentucky and Indiana may be forced to cancel their bookings for the 2019 season with the impacts of EHD preventing the harvest of more deer without destroying their local herd – and ultimately their business.

Fortunately, one of the Midwest powerhouse whitetail states, Ohio, seems to be spared or at least reporting significantly less EHD cases. This is great news for the state’s whitetail hunters for 2019 as great ag growing conditions has produced some absolute monsters.

Healthy buck on Briarwood Sporting Club’s Property shedding velvet.

On the Briarwood Sporting Club properties totaling more than 3,000 acres, the bucks have been plentiful and big this year. Briarwood Sporting Club owner and operator Chris Daniels states, “We have seen tremendous antler growth this summer, with several properties holding mature bucks, I can only see it getting better the closer we get to the season.”

To date, Briarwood Sporting Club is happy to report that the deer herd is in great health with not a single EHD deer discovered on any of the properties. “We have cellular trail cameras running on all of the properties, and the overall condition of the herd appears to be in excellent condition.” Daniels adds. “Hopefully this is a sign that our intense habitat, food plot, and feeding regime have been successful in order to ensure our hunters are chasing the best bucks this area of Ohio can produce.”

In an area known for producing multiple Boone and Crockett caliber whitetails, Briarwood Sporting Club is looking forward to an amazing 2019 season for its hunters.

Reach out today for any available spots for 2019 and ask about the “EHD Cancellation” promotion for those who had to cancel a booked hunt where EHD has hit hard, Briarwood Sporting Club will look to accommodate those hunters to ensure the season is still one to remember.

Ohio’s World-Class Trout & Fly Fishing Club

Ohio’s Best Fly Fishing and Trout Club

Fly fishing for trout and their beautiful colors is a life-long passion that hooks more than just a few anglers. Ohio may not be the first state that comes to mind for trout fishing. However, unbeknownst to many, the trout fishing it harbors is world-class and the opportunity for the best fly fishing and trout fishing experience is right here in the Buckeye State.

Ohio’s Premier Trout Club

It is a known secret in the area that the best fly fishing and trout fishing in Ohio is located at Briarwood Sporting Club in Bellefontaine, Ohio just outside of Columbus.

It is also no secret, that to a trout angler, there is just not a replacement for the days spent casting a fly to an unsuspecting trout at an incredible location. The kind of days where everything is as it should be with beautiful waters and even more beautiful fish.

Briarwood Sporting Club has long since provided these kinds of days on the water to fly fishermen and trout fishermen alike with the location and trophy trout to be Ohio’s top fly fishing club.

The Diversity of Fish & Rare Trout

The diversity of public water trout in Ohio is often limited by the resources available. However, private fly fishing and fishing clubs, such as Briarwood, are not constrained by these limitations and species diversity is one of the many great assets of belonging to a private fishing club.

Briarwood Sporting Club is the home to many species of trout which includes the popular Rainbow, Brown, and Brook Trout. Briarwood Sporting Club also features unique and exotic variations of Rainbow Trout: the Golden Rainbow Trout, Calico Trout, and the Blue Rainbow Trout. These trout are seldom found elsewhere and their rarity makes them a prized catch that Briarwood Sporting Club offers.

Quality of Fish & Trophy Trout Potential

An incredible day of trout fishing means different things to different fly fishermen and trout fishermen alike. Whether that perfect day trout fishing includes seclusion, fishing alongside family, beautiful weather, or just wetting a line, there is one thing universal: catching not only a trout but a big trout.

Briarwood Sporting Club offers not only a beautiful place to catch and fish for trout but also one of the best opportunities in Ohio to catch a trophy trout. Often time’s public waters cannot keep up with angling demand and many trout that are stocked lack the potential to grow to large sizes.

At Briarwood Sporting Club, we stock our waters with trout ranging from 1lb to 12lb’s plus.  With a forage base that we’ve established and also the one in which nature provides, we are able to create a habitat that nourishes and sustains our fishery. Thus providing an environment that enables our guests to consistently catch large, healthy trout.

Also, while not required, many fly anglers at Briarwood choose to practice catch & release fishing. Catching and releasing a fish provides that much more opportunity for growth and for the next angler fly fishing to catch the fish of a lifetime.

Peaceful Streams, Spacious Water & Family Fishing Areas

The best fly fishing and trout fishing in Ohio starts not just at the fish, but at the location and with the angler. Briarwood Sporting Club has not only the picturesque trout fishing waters but also an environment that elicits a peaceful yet exciting fishing experience for anglers.

The excitement comes from knowing the very next cast could be an exceptionally beautiful or trophy-sized trout and the peacefulness comes from the spacious location to focus on just that. Briarwood Sporting Club features 4 different trout streams that are spring fed and not lacking in space or beauty.

For the fly fishermen, there are specially designated trout streams dedicated to fly fishing only. The art of fly casting paired with streams that team with fly hatches leads to the best dry fly fishing in Ohio.

The exceptional opportunity for world-class trout fishing also exists for families and children, at Briarwood Sporting Club. Special areas were made specifically to help introduce the next generation to the sport of fishing. In these special areas both fly fishing and traditional spin fishing is allowed to ensure children are started off with an exceptional day fishing to lead into a lifelong passion of trout fishing.

Other Unique Fishing Opportunities

While Briarwood Sporting Club is known for the best trout fishing and fly fishing in Ohio, it is important to not overlook the fact that there also exist some other unique fishing opportunities at Briarwood.

As with the diversity in trout species, there too is a great diversity of other fish species. Both smallmouth and largemouth bass, stripers, multiple panfish species, and even tiger muskie are in Briarwood Sporting Club’s 16 lakes and 4 streams.

Even the most passionate trout fisherman may find the opportunity to catch a diversity of species too much to resist. Or the fly fisherman may want to try their luck casting a streamer to the elusive tiger muskie. A species that is rare and sought after in Ohio.

The Experience

It is easy to focus on the world-class trout fishing and the beautiful waters, but it is the cumulation of the experience as a whole that makes Briarwood Sporting Club the top trout fishing club.

Just off the water is a comfortable place to relax after fly fishing at Loafing Lodge. With a kitchenette, bathroom and lounge area, as well as a porch that overlooks the stream, the Loafing Lodge does more than just recharge the trout fisherman. It gives that frame of mind to reflect on the day’s fishing or provide a place to rest before heading back out to catch more beautiful trout.

The Best Trout & Fly Fishing Club in Ohio

Briarwood Sporting Club is more than just the top fly fishing club in Ohio. It is a place where an angler can immerse themselves in the art and sport of fly fishing in a location that focuses on the experience of what it means to be a fly fisherman.

The beauty and peacefulness of the waters, the diversity of species, and of course, the trophy trout are all a part of what makes Briarwood Sporting Club the best fishing in the state of Ohio. The days spent on the water here are not easily forgotten.