Things are starting to heat up around here. Most rivers have been stocked (some multiple times) and holdover trout are starting to feed more actively. We are seeing more and more bugs and the fishing has been pretty solid.
Early black and brown stoneflies are still around as are caddis in about a 14 or 16 on many rivers. We are starting to see some of our early mayflies. Quill Gordons have been out on the Deerfield River. Hendricksons should be starting to pop on the D; they have definitely been on other area rivers. I found a nice hatch of Hendricksons on the Ware River a week and a half ago. While I didn’t see any risers, they were eating a size 12 PT under the surface pretty well. A gentleman I ran into after the hatch said he had found some willing risers downstream of me. This is a great time of year to fish some of the more seasonal trout streams before they get too low and warm.
I have gotten multiple reports of surface feeding fish on the Deerfield, and that should only get better as it warms up more and the wind lets up a bit (if it ever does!). Over the next few weeks, I would carry a variety of dries, including 12 and 14 Hendricksons, Parachute Adams in 12 to 16, BWOs in 16 to 20, caddis in 14 and 16, Quill Gordons in 12 and 14, and Parachute Hare’s Ears in 12 and 14.
Though the dry fly action is starting, subsurface will still be the best bet for catching the most fish. This time of year I always have a size 12 pheasant tail on. I prefer the soft hackled version. I will pair that with bigger stones if I want to get deep or with caddis larvae or pupae in shallower water. Junk flies like Squirmies and Mops are also very effective, especially when the water is a little high.
The streamer bite has also greatly improved and should remain strong for the next several weeks. It’s hard to go wrong with an olive wooly bugger or zonker. If you want to target bigger fish, bigger flies will often help. We just received a big shipment of single hook and articulated streamers tied by Rich Strolis. His headbanger is a staple for me, but any of his flies work well, and we have them in multiple patterns and colors. Overcast days often seem to fish best for streamers, but I have caught very nice fish on bluebird days as well so keep an open mind!
We will be offering two free beginner casting clinics in the coming weeks: May 18 and 25 at 5:30. They will meet at the shop. The classes are free but limited to four students and pre-registration is required.
Save the Date: The Deerfield River Watershed Trout Unlimited’s Annual Jim Gariepy Fly Fishing Tournament is back on June 4 and 5! Stop by the shop for more details or check out DRWTU’s website.
The warmwater fishing is starting to turn on as well. I have seen pictures of shad caught in the Connecticut River below the Holyoke Dam–we have an arsenal of good jig flies for these visiting fish that are super fun on the fly rod. Largemouth and smallmouth bass are starting to shake off the winter doldrums and should get in a very hungry pre-spawn mood on warmer days. Smaller weighted flies like crawfish patterns fished deep and slow can be deadly, as can much larger baitfish flies. Vary it up! Pre-spawn offers fly anglers some of their best shots at truly large bass. If you are interested in learning more about fishing for bass on the fly, check out our first ever Bass Camp on Aug. 12 to 14. More info here.
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 added a date (Wednesday May 4) for our introduction to fly tying night at the Hitchcock Brewing Company. This will be the third week of the class but we will accommodate new participants!
And if you want to increase your learning curve about 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].