Tag Archives: Spring Fly

Fly Fishing Pre-Spawn Bass

Well hello there readers! It has been a while since we have been on this blog to update it with fishing and adventure stories. We have been busy setting up our Fly Fishing lessons and Guide Service out of Knot Just Flies in Blairstown New Jersey.

The lake spreads out before us.
The lake spreads out before us.

As has been the case with every spring in the last few years that I recall, the weather has been a tad bit wacky. After a warm winter we greeted opening weekend of a Trout with an all-day light snowstorm. Opening day did go well for fellow Moose Knuckle blogger Mark Beardmore with his over seven pound Rainbow Trout. I unfortunately have had few opportunities to get out and Fly Fish this spring due to Fly Fishing 101 and working on The Lazy “K” Ranch. Mark and I made some time to get out this weekend and check in on those Bass.

Mark landed the champion of the day in traditional tackle.
Mark landed the champion of the day in traditional tackle.

In the “wilds” of Northwest Jersey we are blessed with little farm ponds and larger Eutrophic Lakes that produce unbelievable quantities of Bio Mass consisting mostly of sunfish and Largemouth Bass. The commencement of Trout stocking signals the arrival of spring and the official beginning of fishing season. However, the good Fly Fishing really gets going about a month later once the smarter stocked fish have figured out how to actually eat flies. Right at this moment, the Bass start to move into pre-spawn or early spawn mode. .

Seasons of The Bass

Bass have distinct holding patterns and feeding tactics from April through June revolving around water temperature and spawning status. Bass commence feeding in the spring as the water temperature approaches fifty-five degrees. At this point in the season, Bass move from their deep holding positions to the shallows and begin aggressively feeding. If you have ever ice fished for Bass, you will recall in the winter, the deepest holes will contain a Bass if you catch any at all. Bass will at this team strike slowly fished streamers; this is all dependent on the temperature. As a general rule of thumb, the warmer the day, the more active the Bass tend to be.

Making Fly Fishing Great Again One Bass At A Time.
Making Fly Fishing Great Again One Bass At A Time.

As the spring continues, the air temperatures stay consistently warmer during the day and night. At this time, the Bass begin staging at the edge of drop offs. The spawning season continues and Bass become more aggressive. They will defend their spawning beds, in the shallows as well as engage in some feeding to support the spawn. True spawning begins when the water temperatures approach sixty-two through sixty-five degrees. Remember be ethical and release all fish caught during the spawn.

The lake produced many fine looking specimens.
The lake produced many fine looking specimens.

Where to find them?

During the winter, Bass seek the deepest location to survive and stay warm. The Bass is not a cold-water fish. As the water warms, during the pre-spawn and early spawn the Bass are located at the edge drop offs or cover. They will seek warmer areas, possibly the parts of the pond with darker soils. Early on you can look in areas of shallow cover, for example weed beds, creek channels, timber, brush piles and pilings. As the Bass begin to spawn, they will concentrate in water depths of one to four feet. Preferably in areas free of weeds with a firm bottom. Silt covered bottoms run the risk of smothering the eggs which the Bass will attempt to avoid.

This one was just sitting around, getting ready to spawn.
This one was just sitting around, getting ready to spawn.

What to throw at them?

Non Fly Fishers are always surprised at the smaller things that Bass will eat when tied up in fly form. To a Fly Fisherman it is not at all surprising; Bass are aggressive predators and fear not catching their next meal. Be it a juicy damselfly nymph, a worm or even a frog, Bass have a voracious appetite. Early season and during the spawn, Bass will not eat the poppers that they do in June or July. However, they will eat an assortment of flies. Below is a list of the flies that I tried during the last weekend:

  • Green Simi Seal Leech
  • Jan’s Carp Tickler
  • Large Woolly Bugger (Beaded or Non Beaded)
The Bass all had very strong coloration.
The Bass all had very strong coloration.

The issue with the smaller flies is that I find you catch a preposterous amount of Sunfish as by catch. Specifically, the Simi Seal Leach and to a lesser extent Jan’s Carp Tickler seemed to be Sunfish magnets, however the Carp Tickler was a favorite of the Crappie.

Other Fishy Friends

Crappie are great fun on a Fly Rod.
Crappie are great fun on a Fly Rod.

The lake I was fishing in these pictures also contains Crappie in healthy numbers. Crappie are larger than their cousins the Sunfish, they also put up a muscular fight on the fly rod. Similar to Sunfish and Bass, they spawn in shallow water, preferably with a little cover and a solid bottom. As opposed to Bass, they will take whatever spawning ground they can locate. Crappies are one of the first fish that can be caught on the Fly Rod in the early spring. You will need to fish for them when they are in the shallow waters and not following a school of baitfish into the deep water. Woolly Buggers work generally well to catch a Crappie in the shallows, I also experienced luck with Jan’s Carp Tickler when it was allowed to sink.

Key Takeaways

In lakes and ponds, timing your Fly Fishing to the seasons of the spawn will yield fishy results. During the Pre-Spawn, on warm days, after ice out, the fish are hungry after a frigid winter. The lake or pond water gradually warms during the Pre-Spawn period and the Bass and Pan fish begin to feed even more aggressively. Once the water reaches optimal spawning temperatures, your quarry will head out to its preferred nesting environment. In the case of Largemouth Bass and Crappie, these are shallow waters with some cover. Post-Spawn the fish will eventually leave their nests and seek cover in weedy areas. This is the time of year, when the water is in the 70s that the Bass will start to feed aggressively on poppers.

More to come when this happens…

New Jersey Opening Day

Well folks it has been one of the most difficult, cold and snowy winters I can remember. That has not stopped us from Snowmobiling, Snowshoeing and maybe doing a little ice fishing.

This year we are planning to reboot the blog with more video, better graphics, new articles and a product testing project for the Pequest Rod and Reel Company.

Stay tuned because 2015 is a brand new year and New Jersey will have a complete Trout season.

Mark's January Chub
Mark’s January Chub

Spring Travels

Down by da beach boiiiiiii
Down by da beach boiiiiiii

This spring I’ve been incredibly fortunate to do quite a bit of traveling in a short time.  It all started towards the end of April when my girlfriend I met up with my brother and some of his friends for a double birthday and fishing extravaganza in Florida.  See my brothers blog for his tales of the trip to Sanibel Island.  I had never done any Saltwater fly fishing prior to this journey so I didn’t really know what to expect…it was unbelievable.  Every fish we pulled out, I had no idea what it was, but they put up a hell of a fight.

Dave feeding a bird some bait fish
Dave feeding a bird some bait fish

The flies we used were way less intricate then some of the trout flies that I normally tie, but all you really needed down there was the schwminnow and a glass fish.  Our first day Jourdan ripped the most fish out of the Gulf and I struggled a bit to read the water.  What I learned was there is a lot of waiting for the birds and tides during the day time or just hire a guide and they will take you to where the fishing is on fire.

Celebrating Jourdan's BDAY
Celebrating Jourdan’s BDAY
Jourdan with a Sea Trout
Jourdan with a Sea Trout
Sunset on a boat
Sunset on a boat
Ripping snook up after dark
Ripping snook up after dark

 

Flying back to SLC
Flying back to SLC

Once Jourdan and I arrived back in Salt Lake I had the opportunity to drive the delivery van for the ski shop back to Colorado for the summer.  I brought my fishing and snowboard gear along for the ride.  The snowboarding did not work out, but the fishing did.

Sometimes when you have to drive 500 miles in a day you have to set out at 4 AM to get a half a day of fishing in
Sometimes when you have to drive 500 miles in a day you have to set out at 4 AM to get a half a day of fishing in
Traffic jam in route to the fishing
Traffic jam in route to the fishing

 

The "Gold Ribbon" stretch of the Frying Pan
The “Gold Ribbon” stretch of the Frying Pan

Fishing in Colorado is way different than fishing in Utah.  Stream access is not nearly as good.  There are some assholes in Utah trying to ruin our stream access, but that’s a whole different story.  I stopped by Taylor Creek Flies for some advice before hitting the stream.

There knowledge worked.  There are a ton of fish in that river, but also a ton of people.
Their knowledge worked. There are a ton of fish in that river, but also a ton of people.

After some nymphing and some midge dry fly action I had to pack up and continue on Frisco.

The road to A Basin
The road to A Basin

The next morning I woke up and dressed to go snowboarding up at Arapahoe Basin.  However, my pass that was lined up for me fell through so I had to fall back on my back up play to do some more fishing before catching my ride to Denver International to get back to Salt Lake.

Another small stream with a shit ton of people
Another small Colorado stream with some snow still lingering
However, there were some nice fish to be caught.
However, there were some nice fish to be caught.

Once home, Ted and I went to some more familiar territory for me.

A moose spying on me
A moose spy
Ted with a fat Rainbow
Ted with a healthy Rainbow
Tala and Jefe
Tala and Jefe enjoying the beautiful weather
Healthy Trout
Healthy Trout
This adventure comes to a close, but there will be more.  Fishing and the sites you see is awesome
This adventure comes to a close, but there will be more. Fishing and the sites you see is awesome