Well, take a look at any freestone stream in your area and you will probably notice that it is blown out! That’s right, running way too high, fast, and muddy to even think about catching a fish. As everyone knows, we are in the middle of the Big Melt or run-off. I know the feeling one can feel at this time; anxious, impatient, ready to go! And rightfully so, the weather has been nice and people are wanting to get out and fish. I’m here to tell you that there are many more fishing opportunities than you may realize!
Like I said in a previous post, tailwater rivers can provide some incredible fishing this time of year. We are just now starting to see more regular hatches, and the fish are still gorging themselves after ice-off! But to me, the beauty of fishing in the Spring is the variety of fish and techniques available to the adventurous and open-minded angler!
NORTHERN PIKE! If you have ever hooked a northern pike on a fly rod, then you know why people spend sleepless nights contemplating this toothy critter! They are big, mean, ugly, and down right exhilarating to catch. The only problem (which isn’t really a problem, just a fact of pike fishing) is that you may make thousands of casts and go many fish-less days before you come upon a northern pike that is willing to eat your fly. But hold on, because when a pike does eat your offering, the action is intense! We fish for pike in the Williams Fork Reservoir, and there are many other bodies of water these fish inhabit. When chasing pike on the fly, white, green, and yellow streamers seem to be the ticket. Do not forget a pair of long pliers to remove hooks. This is one fish’s mouth you don’t want your fingers anywhere close to!
Lake trout, or mackinaws, spend most of their lives in the depths of large bodies of water, inaccessible to a fly fisherman casting from the bank. This time of year is the exception to the rule. As the ice slowly recedes on Lake Granby, the mackinaws move into the shallows to spawn. This is the time they are easier (note: easier, not easy!) to catch on the fly. I had never landed a mackinaw until a couple of weeks ago, and let me tell you, there was a real sense of accomplishment! And a lake trout fights pretty hard, too! Like the northern pike, you will probably have to make many casts before you get a fish to eat your fly, but when they do the fight is on!
Just go fish in lower elevation lakes! Now is prime-time for these water. The water is still cool, fish are hungry, bugs are hatching, and weeds and scum haven’t developed. This combination can make for some incredible fishing. My friend and I camped at Delaney Buttes this past weekend, and we put the smack-down on some fish! We were fishing streamers at night with decent success, but the biggest fish came on a tiny black midge during the day.
Moral of the story: Get out and try something new! Ask around, get familiar with different waters, try new techniques! There is no reason to sit on the couch waiting for the water in your local stream to recede! The sense of adventure and accomplishment when you catch a new fish in a new location is hard to beat! Get out there and feel it for yourself!