Spring Has Arrived….
Thurs. Mar. 2, 2017 ….Spring has arrived even if it doesn’t feel like this morning with the chilly temps and windy conditions. All things point to spring…things are blooming, we’ve had 75F to near 80F temps as recently as yesterday, and now we begin the up and down weather of spring. Usually its a few nice days, followed by the passage of a front which brings heavy rain or storms and cool and breezy conditions behind it. That is exactly where we find ourselves this morning.
It has been very warm the past few weeks, pushing things along pretty quickly. Water temps are in the upper 40sF at higher elevations and already 50F or low 50sF at lower elevations. The former are still seeing our usual late winter assortment of little black stones, small dun caddises, and smaller Baetis mayflies in sizes 18 and 20. Lower elevations things have moved further along, with us seeing early Black Stones #14-16, Early Brown stones #12-14, Blue Quills #16-18, a few Quill Gordons #12-14, Dun Caddis #18, and even a few early Hendricksons/Red Quills #12-14. Nymphing remains really good, and will remain that way. If you can’t catch them any other way you can do business effectively with a nymph rig.
Where you can find Quill Gordons and Hendricksons some dry fly fishing with a fly you can actually see is possible. A parachute Adams is a great “I’m not sure what the fish will eat but notice a few rising and want to catch one on the surface” dry fly right now. Also, don’t forget swinging wet flies….soft hackles. This works great in spring and mimics many of our faster water emergers very well.
The long term weather forecast looks like what the past week has been. A warmup followed by a cooldown. Rinse, repeat. Typical spring weather. Overall, the trend is ‘warmer’ than usual, though not by much and certainly within what we’d call normal. No need for climate change alarm, things have been like this in the Appalachians since I and my ancestors have been walking this part of the planet. Business as usual. Weather is not an exact science though, and it can change quickly, so forecasts aren’t perfect. But things do look good.
A lot of flies will work right now. During our first early spring hatches, Quill Gordons and Blue Quills most notably, an assortment of nymphs, wets, and dries will work. This is the season that prospecting with a large dry fly works well if the fish have seen a few bugs but you aren’t seeing a lot of them….once they eat a size 12 or 14 bug a few times on top they start to look for them. Most of these hatches are a large meal for the fish but very low in numbers like say a Baetis hatch where flies may dot the surface in droves. Wet flies can be effective also fished down and across and ‘swung’ through runs, riffles and in front of a rising fish. This time of year I’ll intentionally raise and twitch any subsurface fly I am fishing at the end of the drift just to mimic the number of things the fish see acting this way. Actually, its something good to do most of the time….not just spring.
Delayed Harvest waters stocking began yesterday and will continue through mid month on all DH waters. On those waters a healthy supply of junk flies …mops, eggs, Y2Ks, squirminators, squirmies, you name it…better have a box full for maximum fun. DH waters are NOT closed during the month of March. Hatchery Supported waters (1000 miles of water marked with green and white signs) are closed Mar 1 to Mar 31 so that NC Wildlife can stock all waters in preparation for Opening day on the first Saturday of April. DH waters are NOT closed during the month of March.
Heading out this morning to guide a group trip, Jim Noble, owner and restauranteer who owns Nobles Grill and Rooster’s South Park (Charlotte)….several of his staff are coming with him. We had heavy rain move through yesterday and many places are blown out but we are heading up to take a shot at it. Just taking what we get. Will post more later today when we finish…
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