Everyone has their own favorite systems for catching fish in early spring. Bobber tactics for crappies and bluegills. Jigs for walleyes. Spinnerbaits for pike, and so on…
Well, here’s a little tip for doing something different, fun and effective.
Flyfishing is deadly effective at this time of year–and not just for stream trout.
Take fishing channels and back bays for panfish, for example. Bobber fishing is great–unless you’re the 77th person in the last week to dangle your jig in front of a brushpile. Once fish become wary or ignore your offerings, try something different.
It’s not unusual to pull in between a couple of other boats, or to fish from shore…lay out a streamer or nymph to the same area the bobberers have been fishing with poor results…and begin catching fish after fish from the same spots.
The near-weightless, slow horizontal movement of a fly is virtually impossible to duplicate with other tactics, and it stands out amidst the crowd when fish are sore-jawed or fussy. Catching sunfish is no surprise, although you’ll likely be amazed how well crappies respond to this universal tactic.
How about fishing for suckers? Sucker runs are on right now in many waters, and small creeks and streams are loaded with them. Sure, you could use a splitshot rig to slowly tumble a piece of nightcrawler downstream through pools where suckers gather. But why not try the same small streamer or nymph trick you’d use for panfish? It’s remarkable what you’ll catch, and it’s loads of fun. In fact, you just might nail a few trout along the way.
Carp are another species that respond well to a fly. When megaschools of carp flood the shallow back ends of bays in spring, they are spooky at best.
Most folks anchor and toss out a lightly weighted snell rig baited with corn. Why not try a fly rod, laying a nymph out in front of a school of approaching carp? Effective at times–admittedly frustrating at others–it’s a fun alternative to traditional spring tactics.
Oh, yeah. Along the way, you might even catch a few of those “other” fish–bass, pike, maybe even the occasional walleye or muskie. They’re all shallow in spring, in great position to be caught on a fly.