A new fishing year starts now

For fly fishers a new year can start anytime but in my corner of the world the start is now. With the May flies in full hatch along with other natural fish food, fish are eager to load up on their favorite foods, any kind of fly, bug or anything else edible. If any of you get around a stream or pond, you know the mosquitoes are already hatched and out in full force as are most all of the other pests, for us or food for fish.  May flies are a real favorite of all fish and we as fishers should take this in consideration when fishing. We should not buck the trend to feed the fish what they want. If you tie your own flies, you might want to replicate the bugs and flies that are native to your fishing sites. A friend of mine has a stream running through his property that usually produces a nice catch of Cutthroat Trout and right now the May flies are the food of choice for these trout.  Aside from the real looking May Fly flies,  your fly box should include a variety of all purpose flies such as Woolly Buggers,  Zonkers,  Muddler Minnows,  Prince Nymphs,  Birds Nest flies, mini Gurglers and other fly patterns work quite well in the beginning, but as the trout get more selective to size and silhouette you’ll have  to switch to more exact patterns .  Even then you will have to rotate through various styles of fry or smolt imitaions to find patterns individual trout will take. Salmon fry are about 1 inch long while salmon smolt are usually 2 inches or more before they reach the ocean. Favorite fry flies include the Sockeye Fry, Thunder Creek, Lord of the Fry, Little McFry,  Little Rainbow, Gummy Fly, Muddler (but trim it to a skinny profile) and the Airhead Fly.  You should have at least a half dozen patterns in different sizes from #14 to #6 to try. The list of fry and smolt flies are to vast and varied to list all here but change the pattern or fly often and you will soon find a favorite and stick with it for awhile. If one trout likes it so will others. Early hatches of mayfly, caddis, stonefly and blackfly will serve as food until the salmon start their runs in late July.  It seems like morning fishing with dry flies works in most cases, but as the sun gets higher fish tend to go deeper although you will still see a lot of rings on the surface, you will have to change what you present to the fish. If you had been feeding them fry, but now the bite slowed down you might switch to something like caddis pupa imitations.  It can be never ending as to what to present to these guys but that is why it’s called “fishing” and not “catching”.  Mouse fishing is not as popular with fishers as dry/wet flies but don’t discount the mouse and mole as bait. Most fish that go for the mouse/mole are  usually a bigger fish. Scientists found that 65% of Rainbow trout’s food in late August was mice. There was plenty of  dry fly action but the rainbows preferred mice as food of choice. The mouse fly should be as realistic as possible all the way to the tail which is very important, and keep it floating. If it gets soggy and starts to sink, make shorter casts and keep the rod tip high or just put on a new dry one. Remember fish that hit short or boil on the fly often come back for a second shot or even a third attempt. Mice flies are not for rainbows only,  char, pike and grayling will also go after mice flies. A lot of things come into play when it comes to trout fishing. Time of day, bright sun or overcast day, what part of the stream your fishing, does the stream have logs and things to hide under to wait for food to come floating by, how swift is the water, use a surface fly or submerged bait. Plenty of options and all are good for anyone to have a good time. Just remember “any time is fishing time”.

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