We’re finally starting to see spring – the snow is gone, except for shaded areas on hillsides; temperatures are warming up (barring late cold fronts), sandhill cranes and other birds are out and about, and fish are aggressively feeding. Stream levels have been low and clear due to low precipitation so approach them with stealth, make long casts with minimum false casts to avoid spooking fish. Make your first cast count.
We’re also starting to see the first blue wing olive mayfly activity of the season, but due to cold overnight low temperatures, it hasn’t started until 3pm. The hatches have been short-lived, but trout have been caught on dry flies. This will change shortly as we’re getting overnight lows in the 30’s as opposed to the 20’s and teens. Start looking for rising fish and hatching bugs around 11:30ish and expect hatches to be in full gear between 12:30pm and 3:00pm. As the weather warms up the hatches will start earlier in the afternoon/late morning so be observant and have a steel trap memory to compare present conditions to previous day’s out. When dry fly fishing, don’t flock-shoot rising fish with random casts, take your time and pick a specific rising fish and cast specifically to that fish. This greatly increases your odds of catching fish on dries without spooking the rest of the fish in the area.
Craig’s Tip: When fish stop rising, stop fishing and rest the spot. Wait until fish are rising again and go back at it. This way you increase your fishing time in a spot and increase your chances of catching more fish. Also, you don’t have to move as much – don’t leave fish to find fish.
Nymph and streamer fishing is still going great. If you’re fishing 2 flies – a bigger weighted fly and smaller dropper fly – pay close attention to which fly the fish are eating because this will indicate if a hatch is about to happen. For example, if you’re fishing a scud and a pheasant tail and the majority of the fish are eating the pheasant tail this is a sign that a blue wing olive mayfly hatch is about to happen. With fish actively feeding it’s also a great time to streamer fish because fish are responding to territorial instincts and putting on the feed bag to regain calories lost over the winter. Streamer fishing is also a great way to explore a new stream because you can cover a lot of water quickly while still effectively fishing.
The steelhead run is in full swing on the Pike, Root, Oak Creek, Menominee, and Milwaukee rivers with fish taking egg patterns, stonefly nymphs, and a variety of marabou and bunny strip streamers. Hot streamer colors are purple, pink, black, and chartreuse and combinations of the above colors. The run is starting to progress further north with the Sheboygan still holding some lake – run browns from last fall and some fall run steelhead. Things will heat up there in the next couple weeks. As always a quick reminder, please don’t snag spawning fish – it is Illegal and unsporting.
Dries – Baetis Sparkle Dun #18-20, Improved Sparkle Dun #18-20, Parachute Adams #18-20, Quigley’s cripple BWO #18-20
Nymphs – Beadhead Flashback Pheasant Tail #16-18, Black Pheasant Tail #18, Hunchback Scud UV Olive/Orange, Tungsten Zebra Midge thin Red#18, Copper John Red #16-18, Titan Tube midge
Streamers – Squirrel Leech #10 Olive and Black, Dirty Hippy Brown Trout, Craig’s Spring Creek Leech #8-10 olive, Beadhead Woolly Bugger #6-10
Steelhead – Jon’s Egg Sucking Leech Purple/pink and Black/Chart, Nikita’s Nemesis, Sheboygan Bunny Purple/pink, Fishstress Sheboygan Special, Glo Bug Chartreuse, Orange, Pink, Black Rubber Legs #10
New gear is arriving for spring and here are some highlights.
The new G3 Guide Wader – lighter, stronger, and 11 times more breathable – they don’t feel like you’re wearing waders.
G3 Guide Boot – Lighter weight, better support, better fit-very comfortable and easy on your feet
G3 Guide Tactical Jacket – Finally a fishing jacket that’s lightweight, more breathable and bulletproof
Evolution LTX Reel – A lighter weight/ larger arbor version of a Ross mainstay. Super light w/a good drag
Gunnison Reel – An oldie but a goodie redesigned with a large arbor spool and guide proof durability while still maintaining the retro look and matte black finish of the older generation. An iconic reel.
Do you fish on rainy days? Fall in the drink more than you care to admit? Wade too deep?
Our new lineup of waterproof lumbar and sling packs will keep your flies, cell phone, and other important gear dry no matter what the weather.
Crux – A very nice all-water fly rod series that’s lightweight very smooth casting and good looking. This series has reaped the benefits of a good fly rod design by being associated with the SAGE brand. Give it a try you won’t be disappointed.
Streamers – Squirrel Leech-Craig’s design good search pattern, Circus Peanut-5”of articulated flashy rubber legged goodness. If you’re a big fish guy this is your weapon of mass destruction.
Nymphs – Squirmie Wormie-great for dirty water, Tungsten zebra Midge thin-great dropper, Balck Pheasant Tail, Tungsten Big Green Baetis
Dries – Improved Sparkle Dun-same great bug better visibility, Craig’s CDC Baetis Sparkle Dun, Purple Parachute Adams.
11th Annual Fly Fishing Rendezvous and Spring Men’s Pint Night
Wednesday, April 11 from 4-7 at the Junction RD location.
There will be new gear, once a year specials, expert local fly tiers, factory sales reps, must be present to win door prizes, fun contests, refreshments-liquid and solid, and a fun time by all. Bring a friend, come talk fishing, learn some new things, and have a beer with us.