Is fishing luck or skill? This debate has been going on for ages. There are fisherman that think the difference between a good day on the water and getting skunked is completely out of their control, while others believe success is a product of careful preparation and experience. No matter which camp you reside in you can definitely improve your chances with a few tips from our resident angler and real estate agent, Spain Short.
First thing, timing is everything:
As the days get hotter and the windows for great dry fly fishing get shorter, one overlooked aspect of Spring Creek style fishing is timing. Although August is upon us and the mountain west is following in its usual pattern of hot, high pressure, windy afternoons, there is still plenty of great fishing to be had. Focus on the windows that are going to be most productive. While the afternoons are hitting the high 80s and low 90s, we still have lows in the 40s. Getting on the water at 6 am is not always advantageous, water temperatures must rise before bug activity can occur.
Although fishing does vary, in general, the most productive time to fish in the morning will be 8:00 am-12. After 12pm, things typically slow down as far as mayfly hatches go. This certainly does not mean the fishing is over for the day. Focusing on shaded banks with terrestrial patterns can be an extremely effective way to cover water during the heat of the day. As the day cools off, expect to see bug activity increase as mayfly spinners begin to appear on the water. The 6pm- 9pm window in the evening can be extremely rewarding as fish once again feel comfortable feeding on the surface.
Position yourself for success, and what you wear matters:
One overlooked aspect of spring creek fishing is clothing. Anglers can do a number of things to increase their chances of hooking up on a great fish, and this starts with what you are wearing. Drab colored clothing is encouraged, and a minimalistic approach will help keep your profile down as well as prevent yourself from casting large shadows on the river. When approaching fish on Spring creeks, stealth is key. Avoid being in the water as much as possible as vibrations will pulse throughout the creek and alert fish. When fishing on the banks use natural cover to conceal your body. Take it slow, and put yourself in a position to succeed. Fish have cone vision. Use this to your advantage. Approaching from below the fish helps you get in position to cast.
While there are many opinions are rods, in general a 4 weight is going to rule spring creeks. Having a rod soft enough to enjoy the little fish, but still having the backbone to fight the giants is the ideal rod. Many people prefer a shorter rod for spring creek fishing, although this is a personal preference. A 9 foot 4 weight, or an 8 ½ 4 weight is going to cover most all types of fishing you will find on Spring creeks.
A weight forward floating fly line is key to spring creek fishing. These lines help load the rods in various situations, and allow the angler to utilize their rod to the fullest potential.
Long leaders are the name of the game. 9 foot leaders and longer will greatly improve your chances of hooking up. Long leaders allow your flies to be laid on the river as softly as possible, making sure the fish does not spook away when the flies do touch down. When terrestrial fishing, 3-4x is the perfect tippit size. Having spools of 3-6x will cover all types of fishing that will occur on these creeks.
These tips are sure to get the fish to bite!
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