The April Fly Box


Posted on March 07, 192002 at 19:30:29:




The April Fly Box


Chances are when you sit back and daydream about trout fishing on your favorite river
you memory is back somewhere in the month of June. The grass is green and the red quills
are everywhere, disturbed only by an occasional splash from a rising trout. Great conditions.
But what about April? Forget about red quills and green grass. Maybe add a few snowmobiles.
The fish are feeding even though its not as obvious as in June. Yes ; they can be caught. It often
means going deep and fishing slow. Being successful during this challenging time of the season
is a combination of matching your equipment and techniques to the prevailing conditions. It all
starts with the right fly.


My April fly box is easy to find. Its the heaviest one i own. A quick glance inside would reveal several weighted fly
patterns, including bead head flies, standard weighted flies, and a few cone head
streamers. Weight can be critical to success when flows are high and fish
are not actively feeding in the top foot or two of water. Almost any fly can be tied
after first adding weight. Many fly tiers have no problem doing this
with nymphs but few do it with streamers or wets. Try adding cones or
beads to some of your other patterns such as traditional wet flies or
even streamers.


Trout and salmon are notorious for their rythmic feeding response
during a hatch. The pattern ,shade, size, and profile of your imitation
should be as close as possible to that of the natural during this time
when there is an overabundance of a particular insect species. This is
not an issue in the "off peak" months such as in April. It is much more
important to get the fly down to the fish and present to them
something that looks natural than to worry about matching a particular
insect order perfectly. My April fly box contains imitations that mimic
a vast array of natural salmonid foods. I seldom fish a pattern that is
is immitative of an individual species or even order during this time of the
year. As a rule I prefer generic patterns in the month of April.


Lets not forget about bait fish. I use this as a cumulative term to describe
small or juvenile fish. Fish such as dace, smelt, shiners, or juvenile
stages of larger fish make up a substantial part of a trout or salmon's diet
in the spring. It is best to have a good selection of streamers and bucktails
in your flybox in the spring.

Here's what my early spring subsurface box looks like:

Hare's Ear nymph- both bead head and regular- olive, dk. brown, and cream colors
Pheasant Tail nymph- both bead head and regular
Soft hackled Wet flys- several color configurations including bright bodied attractors (try these on a dropper above a bead head nymph-you won't be sorry)
Soft hackled Wet flys-bead head, olive, dk. brown, and cream colors
Heavily weighted stonefly nymphs
Montana Nymphs-weighted
Flashabou Smelt
Thunder Creek Smelt
Black Nose Dace
Wood's Special
Woolly Bugger- Black, Dk. Brown, Olive
Cone Head Woolly Bugger- Black,Dk. Brown, Olive
Flashabugger

The patterns above will hopefully provide you with a place to start if you are new to April fly fishing in Maine. If you've been at it for a while you will probably have your own recipe for success. I know one thing for sure...trout and salmon have a hard time resisting a fat juicy woolly bugger slow drifting in front of their nose. It doesn't matter how cold the water is! Enjoy your time on the water this month.


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