Depending on what part of the country you live in, spring offers some of the best fishing opportunities of the year. Trout are cold blooded so as the water temps warm, their metabolism gets going and they need to pack on some weight after a long winter. This is a great time for fishermen to take advantage of their eagerness to feed. Here are some points to consider to help you make that most of your fishing time during the month of April.
- Freestone vs Tailwater. You approach should vary based on where you are fishing. If you are on a freestone, no need to get started too early. Nighttime temps are still cold so you don’t need to be on the water until 10 or 11 am with the best fishing hours being mid day to early afternoon. If you are on a tailwater, the water temps are more consistent due to the dam released water so it will start fishing well earlier in the day. On freestones, you will want to be aware of tributaries bringing in snowmelt which can cause the river to get muddy.
- Fly selection. My general rule of thumb is midges in the morning, beatis (small mayflies) in the afternoon. When nymphing, I like to lead with a good attractor pattern. My go to’s vary based on the river but generally an egg, san juan worm, or a cranefly imitation hold the point fly spot on my rig. If rivers have a large stonefly population this can be a great option as well. Trail the smaller stuff behind the point fly and hang on!
- Avoid Spawning Redds. Rainbows and cutthroats are both spring spawners. You also can get migratory/lake run fish of both these varieties. If you see a spawning redd, please stay clear of it. Casting at fish that are sitting on spawning redds is unethical, no matter how bad you want that instagram photo.
- Don’t forget about streamers. Fall gets all the attention for streamer season but I’d argue spring is just as effective of a time to fish some meat. Streamers are a great option during off color conditions. Also last season’s baby brown trout are swimming around, offering a new food source for large trout. High flows from snowmelt can disorient smaller fish and push them to the river’s edge. Vary your retrieve based on water temps. Colder temps mean you want a slower strip!
More On Trout Fishing: