Pre-Runoff Time - Fishing's Rewards for Shoveling All Winter
No time of year seems to get the fishing juices flowing in me more than the late Winter/early Spring. Snow and ice are finally melting, water is warming but isn't roaring yet, and the fish know it's time to wake up and eat.
Several hatches happen and various tactics work this time of year but here are possibly my 2 favorite ways to catch hungry Spring fish:
Blue Winged Olives - In my neck of the woods BWOs can start to show by the end of February and go into May. I love tossing olive Comparaduns, Sparkle duns, and Paramergers. It's also usually effective to drop a Humpack Emerger or Barr's Emerger about a foot behind the dry for picky fish. Look for the little sailboat-winged BWOs riding the currents as the water warms in the mid morning to mid afternoon. Fish will stack up on current seems to sip them in.
Lake Run Hogs - Many rivers and streams that flow into lakes have Spring runs of ginormous trout. Rainbows in various forms, including steelhead, cutthroats, and a few others are Spring spawners and travel up tributaries in search of good spawning sites. This is a great time to see and pick off a few of these monsters. I search out smaller tributaries with clear water and I like to watch for big bows that are on their way upstream or for browns that are following. They are usually aggressive and will attack streamers like Orange and Olive Blossum Specials, Slumpbusters, Egg-Sucking Leeches, and Zonkers. Please don't bother fish on spawning beds though - anthropomorphize for a second if you need a reason to refrain.
With a foot of snow yesterday and today but good weather in the forecast, words can't explain how ridiculously excited I am to get out to try these tactics! See you on the water.