Sunday, March 15, 2009

Spring Fly Fishing And How To Read A Stream

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Spring Fly Fishing In Utah Is Finally Here !!! Some Of The Best Fly Fishing Of The Year.

Photo Trophy Rainbow Trout Utah

Photo Utah Rainbow Trout

So it's time to take stock of just what flies the fish are feeding on at your favorite fishing grounds in Utah. This means having the patience and taking the time to look under some rocks, in the weeds and yes in the mouth and throat of the fish you catch. Taking this approach will assure more success and less frustration while you are on your favorite body of water fly fishing whether you are using dry flies or nymphs or streamers.

What's That Hiding Under Those Rocks ?

Take a moment and turn over a few rocks in the shallow area's as you enter the stream or river. In early spring you may have to move several before you see some life. But it's there. Leeches, and worm like larvae spend up to two years in this state of their life before maturing and leave the water as an adult. So fish are you used to seeing and eating them year round. Notice the colors and size so you can match some patterns from your fly box. Of course the fish don't turn over rocks to find these guys, but rising water, changing currents and less than sure footed fisherman move the rocks and send this food down the stream to hungry trout.

I Don't See Anything In These Weeds...

Just like checking those rocks for life, take a hand full of weeds and place them in some water. A small plate or dish even a cup will do. Don't get lazy and hold the weeds in front of your eyes to find the bugs. You won't find them ! They are attached and holding on for dear life while you dangle them over the stream. Plus the branches of the weeds help to cover them up. So take some time place the weeds in a plate, add some water and amazingly the critters will begin to move around so you can see them. The first time you do this you will be astonished at the variety and numbers of insects that are alive and moving around. It doesn't require a lot of work and you just may say to yourself "hey, why haven't I ever noticed this before" ?

Photo Fish Stomach Pump and Contents

His Mouth Is Empty So He Must Not Be Eating

O.k. you tried the rocks and the weeds now let's see what the trout are really eating today. So you selected a fly from your collection that looked pretty close to the critters you found under the rocks and in the weeds. Next you caught a fish ! Before you release him check out what is in his throat ! Be-sure-to-use-the-miss-named-"stomach pump". A simple little unit that looks like a "turkey baster". The trick is you don't suction the fishes stomach (any food that deep down is usually digested beyond recognition) you suction just down inside the throat. Fill the dropper with water, insert into the back of the throat and gently past the closure of skin separating the mouth and the throat leading to the stomach (esophagus for the technical crowd). Press the bulb to fill the area with water, release the bulb to "suck" up the contents. Gently release the fish, and empty the bulb into a dish, tray or cup of water. Wow ! Look at what this guy eats and most of them are still alive (fish don't chew their food like we do, they "gulp" and swallow). Now you know exactly what fly pattern and colors to use on your next cast. With a little research you can catch a lot of really nice fish.

Where Are Those Spring Fish Hiding ?

Spring trout are usually a little lethargic so they won't stray too far from deep water usually right below a riffle and a run. The small to medium fish will be located in the run, not as deep or as much cover as a hole. But just right for this size of fish to eat and hide. The hole in this picture is clearly displayed at the bottom of the photo with the run in the middle. Cast up stream into the run and let the current carry your fly down into the hole where the big ones are waiting. If you have taken the time to study the food supply you will placed the correct fly on your line and have the best chance of catching the big one.

Photo River Riffles, Run, Pools and Hole With Cover

The Rivers & Streams Are All Muddy

Spring brings mud first to the upper streams and rivers, so fish middle and lower sections to keep in the clear water. As spring begins to end the mud moves down to the lower sections so it's time to move to the higher elevations for clear water. Use this rule and you will always find clear streams and rivers to fish in.

Where The Streams Are Clear

Just below any dam will be clear year round and offer water that maintains a near constant water temperature. Don't forget these great locations for year round access to good trout fly fishing.

How To Read A Stream

Photo Trout Cover

Riffles: The shallow water that is flowing over rocks and the stream or river bed. The smorgasbord preparation area for hungry trout. This is where the main stay of aquatic life is living and growing. It is the buffet table for trout.

Runs: If the riffle is the buffet table the run is the fast water that is a conveyor belt delivering the food to the trout. Small and medium fish are located in this area.

Pools: Located just below a run it's the deep water that provides the cover big trout need to move around in and feed. Small and medium fish along with insects in this area are all prey for the big boys.

Cover: Around the pools you will see fallen trees, boulders, rocks and cuts in the banks. These all provide protection for the big fish. They can sit in a protected area out of sight and out of the main flow of the current and be ready to ambush whatever comes by that looks appetizing.

Active Fish : Use these tips and work the water and remember not all fish are active all the time. So move to new locations. Don't forget the trout cover for excellent places of ambush for large fish.

So Get Out & Find Some Action !

Not every run or pool will contain active fish, so be prepared to keep on moving to find the active ones. If you have done your home work and selected your fly patterns using the information noted from above you will greatly increase your chances of success, remember it's called fly fishing not catching.

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