SPRING is HERE! Looking through my fishing logs back to 2001, I discovered that even though water surface temps on a favorite lake seem much lower this year to date -- my records indicate that they are NOT! Last year our water temps were just reaching into the upper 60s at this time, and this year, I see water temps currently holding in the low to mid 60s.
What does this mean for fishing right now? Fish are just beginning to become active and fish are still scattered and fewer are sluggish in many still waters. Back sloughs on rivers are warming up and active fish will be holding in those warmer waters.
As with each spring, WIND, and stained water may make it challenging, but the fish are there!! Some species are even bedding. Massive hatches are coming off and trout are activating. All the sunfishes are becoming active. The action is breaking loose! Get out there -- right now you'll have interesting trips and catch lots of fish.
Explore more new waters this year, and you may be surprised at the amount of fly fishing available now in the SE Region. Rising temperatures are making wonderful fishing opportunities available to us!
In the past few weeks in the southern most SE states, we have already had temperatures rising and falling, rain, storms, and true spring type conditions. Our drought is over, and much water is still high and stained. Dogwoods are budding out some fish species are moving up to spawn. Although the WINDY conditions are a hassle, I have caught many fish in cloudy to muddy waters in sun drenched wind protected areas in these bodies of water. I have even held my position in strong winds to catch fish in the shallows. These spring conditions turn on fish as well as fly anglers. They turn on huge hatches as well. We'll see some more cool temperatures before full summer hits, but the water is heating up, and so is the fish activity level.
If you WANT to enjoy the great transitional fishing, just get on it now!
In this image left "shellcrackers" (redear sunfish) are getting active, and in warmer waters will hit small surface flies like sponge spiders. Most species are active at some level right now. I have caught some of my nicest fish at this time of year in the southeast.
Fat bluegills are on the prowl in warm shallow waters, and on the drop-offs that border them. Start probing water on surface, then try small suspending flies to fish the 1 to 4 foot water. If that doesn't find fish, switch to a small heavier weighted streamer and probe 4 to 10 feet.
Big bass are on the prowl, feeding up for the spring spawn. Hybrids are still actively smashing forage on top, and stripers are turning on for the final weeks of their season.
River fishing picks up across the southeast during this transitional season as well. Sun drenched shallow sloughs will hold many species this time of year. You can actually go and catch as many as 7 species of fish in one outing in many river systems. Stripers are active in many fine rivers across the southeast region now.
From bluegills and bass hiding deep in small farm ponds just waiting for a meal, to fat silvery trout lurking in warming mountain streams all over the southeast, to chain pickerel, we have great opportunities all around us, close to home.
What do you need? The desire, bring warm to cooler clothing, fishing gloves, waders and a place to go. You can fish from a boat, canoe, kayak, float tube, or wade. I have MANY articles on this website that will give you insight into fly fishing this time of year.
My point is fish the transitional season NOW for some of the best fly fishing of 2008. Just be properly dressed, properly equipped, and have a plan to cover the ENTIRE water column. You'll catch fish. In the SE Region, whether warm water, cold water or salt species, there's something ALWAYS happening. I'll see you on the water!
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