A lot of things could easily go wrong when spring fly fishing. The behavior of the fish can be so impossibly variable you get left wondering what really went wrong when you couldn’t land what would otherwise be a less elusive catch.
The fish are typically sluggish in the spring owing to the fact that they have been stuck in the cold weather, just like you. The slowly warming water makes the sluggishness even more pronounced. Although the fish should be loading up on food before and after the spawning period, they will be more reluctant to strike a fast-moving lure than a slow-moving, equally-sluggish one.
The fish could strike the slow bait with ferocity while the fast bait could just end up largely ignored and back in your tackle box
Stake your claim
The cold, clear and low water in spring makes it easy to sight the fish, but it will also mean a larger likelihood of spooking your target. After a long winter, there will be plenty of fish in the water but you need to remember that other creatures are also waiting to get their fill of the catch, including ospreys, herons, and bald eagles.
The birds have one over you because they fly and they have incredibly sharp vision. Your only chance of capturing what would otherwise be a bird’s lunch is to be especially watchful not to spook the fish in any way. Use polarized sunglasses for better visibility. Move cautiously and ever so carefully.
Conceal yourself and present the bait in as natural a manner as possible. Dress in waders and throw a steeple cast at rainbow trout.
Be prepared with good quality spring fishing gear
Pack several Adams Parachute Dry Fly pattern, preferably ranging from sizes 14 to 20. Fly fishing is highly unpredictable along with the feeding patterns of trout but the Adams Dry Fly overcomes those objections quite easily.
Light tackle is not merely a passing fad
Light tackle is an absolute necessity for spring fishing. It isn’t simply a trend or a fad. You may have thought fishing with a zero-weight fly rod is a passing fancy for serious anglers. Modern-day anglers would be out with 3-weight fly rods on any given day.
Trout anglers have finally cast off their obsession with rods that resemble broomsticks and are now more fascinated with the power of smart, trout-friendly rod actions. There are even specialty lines available to suit light tackle.
Why the sudden popularity of light tackle? This can be attributed to how the fish can be spooked rather easily in the clear and calm water of spring. That means soft, light casting is an absolute necessity.
Anything heavier than a 4-weight rod would be unusable for spring fishing. You need light tackle, nothing more or nothing less. This is with the exception of fishing in windy conditions or casting big streamers.
You will definitely see greater success when chucking a trusty Boron IIIx 5wt 9ft in favor of a Winston 3wt IM6.
Although the rod itself won’t suddenly turn you into the best fly fishermen this side of the planet, it can help you make a more realistic presentation of small dries to the easily-spooked fish. Moreover, you will have to spend hours practicing your cast and more time on the water getting disappointed in a variety of ways prior to getting the fish to swallow your fly or get it into their mouth for decisive hook setting.
The water may be high and not almost as friendly-looking as tailwater, but even the gnarliest high-country spots could very well be where you might make a beautiful catch. You’d be surprised how the water in such areas is clear enough for you to see trout stacks in miniature eddies and slicks.
If you are to spend time in worthwhile fishing, they should really be rewarding enough to trudge in the water in your waders. With every passing year, optimize your time in the water by adding to your skill set and practicing new angling techniques or finding the best light tackle on the market.