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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Pro-Tips Revisted...Early Spring

Bright sun and trout 

A beautiful spring snowfall in Truckee! We received 4" last night at my  6500' home. Sun is out now.

Thankfully, because of 2018's MIRACLE MARCH; there will be sufficient water flowing during spring.

Below is a "Pro-Tip" excerpt I authored that appeared in the Spring 2012 Sierra Fisherman magazine. The advise provided are point-on suggestions and concepts we fly anglers consider during spring's snow-melt/run-off during high flows/pool on running and stillwaters; respectively.
High Water of Spring in the "Fornicating Rock" area of the Big Truckee

Early Spring
Most freshwater fly anglers anticipate springtime.  Unfortunately, every year’s conditions are unpredictable; dependent on the amount of rain or snow that has fallen during the winter. Eventually both will run-off immediately or melt into the waterways and lakes; respectively.  It is important to remember that the snow-pack’s melt in the higher-elevation mountains is weather related; it can be steady and gradual or unpredictable and erratic. One general assumption is that the waters in early spring will be high and cold; eventually subsiding and warming by early summer.

So how do we strategize our fly angling? For a start, this issue's pro contributors provide you with their astute advice. (will send upon request...Frank)

Water volume and water temperature are key factors governing strategy. In streams consider venturing-out at mid-day seeking warmer water exposed to solar heating. You’ll find warmth in “soft water”; mild currents such as edges, eddies, slow moving runs and pools. You can “load & lob”, fishing with big/small, tandem rigs or strip streamers. Whichever technique used think “low & slow”, but get it down along the bottom…where the fish are.
During springtime it is a good plan to fish lower elevation waters first.  As the days get longer providing more solar heating, start venturing out of the foot-hills and into the mountains. There, the hope is the waters have warmed, the melt has subsided, flows are ideal and the trout’s feeding metabolisms are in high-gear.

Frank R. Pisciotta
During the “early season” of spring, lake levels are rising, full or overflowing. In the mountains there will be super-cold inflows from the melting snow. Look for warm water. A productive strategy is to stalk along the shoreline’s shallows; frozen edges of melting ice/open water or visible underwater shelves that drop-off into deeper and darker water. Exposed shallow water along shorelines have warmer water temps, vegetation...and bugs, which trout eat.   
At ice-free shallows, solar-heating will provide a temperature comfort-zone for cruising trout in search of vulnerable food-items. Here, assuming the visibility is clear, an angler can sight-fish to slow-moving, foraging trout that feed sub-surface or in the top-water, surface-film. Also, in these areas the drop-offs and lateral shelves into deeper water provide a quick escape route for cruising trout wary of airborne predators.

Tactically, determine a cruiser’s direction, speed, and distance between rises and or sub-surface moves. You want to intercept these susceptible trout by presenting your fly ahead of the feeder; letting them come to your current-menu imitation. Dead-drift or impart movement as appropriate and let the trout ingest the fraud; merely lift, tighten-up, ”give it head” on its first surge if it is a powerful fish.
da Dean
Shoreline angling during high flows of Spring at LT inlet at Boca

NOTE: Tahoe-Truckee Fly Fishers member, Jon Baiocchi, has authored a very thorough article on High Water Tactics in the 2018 March-April California Fly Fisher. Additionally, he will be conducting two clinics; Streamer Fishing and High Water Tactics during spring of 2018. For details go to