Spring Trout Fishing Trips has been written by guest writer Colton Conner
Well it’s that time of year for you to get into your garage, begin wiping the dust off your fly rods, start opening your fly boxes, organizing your spinners, and to mentally prepare for another year of sleepless nights and long days casting on the water. If you are anything like me, you have been anticipating the day the ice goes out since December. Before you hit the water, you may want to check your gear to make sure you are completely prepared for success while doing some spring trout fishing.
When you grab you favorite casting trout rod make sure there has been no damage or cracks that may have occurred during storage, or maybe during the reorganization of the garage. Also check the cork handles on your rod, especially if you stored them in a non-heated environment.
The layers can start to separate and the glue can crack. If this happens, most manufactures will fix it for a small fee, and complete the job fairly quickly. Also, you want to grab those old spools of monofilament leaders and tippet and check to see if they are in good condition and see if they have rotted. Just pull some of the spool and if it feels abrasive or like wire give it a quick firm tug. If it’s bad, this will typically cause it to break immediately. Lastly, you want to open up your fly box and throw out all rusty hooks and flies. You don’t want a hook to break on the fish of a lifetime because it was your lucky fly and didn’t want to throw it out. ALSO REMEMBER, THE NEW LAW: NO FELT-SOLED WADER BOOTS ARE ALLOWED. IF YOU ARE CAUGHT WITH THEM IT IS A MANDADORY COURT DATE. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Spring trout fishing can be challenging for various reasons, but one is fly choice. There are so many options, but trout can be picky this time of year. Here are just a few recommendations to grab before you leave home or when you head to your local fly shop. I would first recommend any type of streamer fly that is weighted, and in olive and black colors. Trout love sculpins and this is a main source of their diet before the salmon show up. Some that I recommend are the loop leach in both black and green, and any articulated sculpin fly with heavy weighted yellow eyes. Fish these right on the bottom swinging them across the current. Another fly I use that is a little out of character is a smolt pattern. Typically you won’t use these until mid may or so, but I have had great success spring trout fishing while swinging this pattern right at ice out. The Thunder Creek is a good one to try along with a larger profile smolt with some painted on eyes. Last but certainly not least is the “steak and eggs” of Alaska, flesh flies and beads. Since there have been no live salmon in the river since about October of last year, any flesh or dead eggs that have been lodged up in frozen log jams or ice have been washed out of all color. Flesh and beads is a great go to fly if nothing else seems to be working with much success. This time of year, stick with white flesh and very faint peach or blush beads. 8mm beads are most likely your best bet, and you must remember that with all of these flies, your aim is to get it down int he water and present it at the fish’s level. The only exception to this is the smolt pattern, as sometimes just under the surface can work extremely well for spring trout fishing.
Stick to the mouths of more major streams like those that flow into the Big Su drainage. Most trout will hold in stretches near the mouths for quite some time before they move up the Parks highway tributaries. Don’t be afraid to move and move often. Fish spots thoroughly and move on. If the Big Su is running clear, look for long deep runs and corners with deep stretches. Trout with sit in these spots eating anything that flows into their area. They are lethargic, so try and get your fly right in front of them. This can take some time and multiple drifts in a specific spot. Also look for trout that are moving through shallow water or in long steady flows. If you can see them make sure to stay back and cast well above them in the run.
You don’t have to be out there at the crack of dawn. I have I much better luck waiting until the sun has been up awhile to help warm up the surface water. This seems to make the fish more active and to feed better. Typically mid-morning to late afternoon is the best time to target trout that have been covered by ice for that last 7 months.
Last but not least, some of the nicest fish I have ever hoisted from the water have been in late April and May. These fish have beautiful colors and chances are high to put one of your largest trout in your net. Stay warm and stay patient, this is a great time of year to get out there and pursue wild Alaskan rainbows.