We have definitely turned the corner into early spring fishing out here in western Mass! The stocking trucks have been rolling across the state and, as of this writing, all the bigger rivers out here and many of the ponds have received at least one batch of freshly paroled trout. Add this to our healthy population of holdover fish and the stirrings of more and more insect activity, and it all adds up to some pretty good fishing right now.
There is a decent amount of bug activity with early black and brown stoneflies coming out on warmer days. I suspect that our early mayflies like Blue Quills and some early Olives should start soon. As the month wears on start looking for Quill Gordons and Hendricksons as well as some early season caddis.
With the higher flows and still cold waters, nymphing remains the best bet for catching fish. Bigger stoneflies like Pat’s Rubber Legs will often catch the fish’s attention, as will smaller stones and flies like Copper Johns in 12 and 14 to imitate the early black and brown stones. Though our mayflies have not really started hatching, their nymphs should be getting active below the surface. Pheasant Tails in sizes 12 to 18 can all work, as will as Hare’s Ears and Princes in similar sizes. Having some caddis larva in 12s and 14s is also a good idea.
More so than any other time of year, I use my stream thermometer constantly in early spring. I use water temperatures to figure out not only when to fish but often where and how as well. We are in that transition time where the water temperatures hit lows that are outside of a trout’s preferred feeding zone and highs that are approaching optimal levels. A trout’s optimal level is generally thought to be between 50 and 65 degrees. But after months in the 30s, trout seem to start increasing their activity noticeably when the waters start getting into the 40s, as they are now. When the stream I am fishing is in the low 40s I generally concentrate on nymphing deep and slow areas. As that temp pushes up into the mid and high forties, I’ll start probing some faster water and will often start fishing streamers more actively. 50 degrees is the magic number for our bigger early season mayflies like Quill Gordons and Hendricksons, so when we start seeing those numbers I am looking for surface activity.
I really love this time of year because I know the fishing is just going to get better and better for the next couple months!
On Saturday mornings starting at 10:30, our drop-in tying continues. Bring your tools and materials and tie some flies with fellow tyers. We also have a new introduction to fly tying night at the Hitchcock Brewing Company on April 6 and 20th as well.
And if you want to increase your learning curve about early spring fishing, our guides have availability and have been having some good days out there recently. Give the shop a call to find out more and book a trip: 413-397-3665 or email [email protected]