May 7 –
Fishing traffic was light this week but most fishermen I talked to had nothing but good things to say.
It appear the smelt run was earlier than normal on the Moose River. No surprise. Fish are already throughout the river and all the way to the dam. Someone called here the other day looking for a taxidermist. He had caught a 4 lb brookie somewhere on the lake in the Rockwood area.
The East Outlet is down to 2400 cfs and prime for picking. We haven’t started running the river yet but fish should be throughout the river.
The beautiful weather last week got the ponds perking. Folks were catching plenty of brookies using sinking lines. Dragon fly nymph imitations were doing the trick. Nothing on top just yet.
It’s sucker spawn season. If you haven’t fished them yet you’re missing out. Suckers will start spawning around the mouth and in the rivers. Trout love to lay just downstream of the beloved beasts sucking in their eggs. Suckers are good for something. It’s a short window of opportunity but the window is now open.
Streamer fishing is probably the most productive way to catch early season fish. You’ve got your favorite streamer on and made a great cast. The fly is right where you want it. Now what do you do? There are two schools to fly fishing. The 1st is learning how to get your fly out there. You just did that. The 2nd is what to do with your fly now that it’s where you want it. It’s all about the retrieve. Different flies, different fish, and different times of the season require different retrieves. Ever been with someone who was doing all the catching and you’re using the same fly? Who hasn’t. Don’t focus on where they are fishing but what they are doing with the fly. It’s got to appear natural, if it doesn’t you’re not playing the game right.
I’ll try and make some sense of it all, starting with early season streamer fishing on moving water. When you’re fishing streamers in the spring your fly is supposed to represent some species of minnow, mainly smelts in our neighborhood. Bait fish scurry about not hanging in any one place for any length of time. They stop in the wrong place and they stand the likely chance of getting eaten.
In moving water, as your fly swings across the current, flip the tip of your rod slightly to give your fly a little life. Flip the rod tip 4 inches and your fly accelerates ahead 4 inches. Pump the rod a foot and so goes your fly. A fish may slam the streamer as it moves cross current but we all know most strikes come at the end of the swing when your fly stops in the current for a second or two. Try leaving it there for a bit and give it a couple more jigs before you start the retrieve. You’ll provoke more strikes. Now as you retrieve it stop the retrieve every few feet. Your fly may go right by a fish that may not be in the mood to chase it but then it stops and becomes a easy target.
So many times fishermen recast a streamer before they can see it. It drives me crazy. If we had a fly camera to prove it, I bet anything they may be taking the fly away from an interested fish without knowing it. I always, always, always retrieve my streamer close enough to see it, stop, then jig the fly in that spot a couple of times before making another cast. A) I’m making sure the fly is not fouled. Streamers are notorious for that. Ever reel up to leave or change your fly and find your streamer in a tangle. Who knows how long you’ve been fishing a fly that won’t even catch bottom. B) A fish may just make a try for your fly before your very eyes which is always a thrill you’ll be talking about later around the campfire.
If one retrieve isn’t working, change. I like to not cast all the line I have out and as the streamer swings cross current feed more line allowing the fly to drop downstream then use a couple quick jigs to turn the fly giving it a little different presentation. Subtle changes sometimes make huge differences. If a fish makes a pass at your fly at the end of the swing leave the fly there. Do not recast, you’re taking the fly away from an interested fish. Leave it in the water and jig the fly, move it just a little to the right then left. Do a strip tease. Tickle him. It’s amazing how many times you’ll get a fish to chase your fly again. Some are down right suicidal.
So I’ll just finish by saying “It is important where you put your fly but I believe it’s way more important what you do with your fly after it’s out there.”
Have a great time on the water.