River Report 3/31/23

The snow is melting, crocuses are popping up and the trout trucks are rolling! Over the last few weeks we have definitely switched into early spring mode here in western Mass.

The Deerfield River has generally been fishing pretty well. It can be a bit hit or miss this time of year, but when you hit it right it can be really good. It is also a good time of year to get quality fish as there have been some really healthy wild browns caught recently. The stocking trucks made it to the upper Deerfield River earlier this week and the lower stretches later in the week. Parts of the Westfield and many area ponds have also been stocked.

Nymphing will be your best bet for more consistent action. Stoneflies are most definitely on the menu. Big Pat’s Rubber Legs are a good choice as well as smaller stones to imitate the early black and early brown stoneflies that are abundant right now. These are in the 12 to 16 range and both black and traditional copper johns are a good choice for these flies. Mayflies are starting to get active. I’ve heard reports of blue quills and even the random Hendrickson hatching. While the trout are not really targeting them on the surface, they are very much looking for them underneath so pheasant tails, prince nymphs and hare’s ears in 12 to 16 are good to have on hand. And it’s always handy to have some junk on hand this time of year: mops, squirmies and eggs can save a tough day.

Streamer fishing can be very good as well. Mostly I will look for fish in deeper water and you need to get down to them. Sculpin patterns like the Headbanger or Sculpin Bunny on sink tip lines have been working for me. Having a variety of colors can be helpful but most of the time the key is getting your fly deep enough and not moving it too fast.

Early spring can be a great time to fish smaller streams and creeks for wild brookies and browns. My go to set up is a small Chubby Chernobyl or Stimulator with a size 14 copper john or pheasant tail dropped off the bend.

Pre-spawn smallmouth and largemouth bass should be getting more and more active over these next couple weeks. This is a good time of year to get some shots at some big fish as they come up into the shallows where it’s warmer to pack on the pounds before the spawning season.

Some programming notes:

Women’s Fly Fishing Retreat May 5 and 6–space still available!

Gary Metras leads a shad fly tying class at the shop on April 23

Deepwater Trout Camp April 16-18

Pioneer Valley TU Banquet is April 14th at the Castle of Knights in Chicopee

Trout on the Town–meet up with members of the DRWTU at aPioneer Valley Brewery in Turners Falls on April 5

DRWTU monthly meeting Thursday April 20, location TBD–Doug Lyons speaking about the Battenkill River

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