|The Egg Sucking Leech is on the top of the author's list for the most productive and versatile patterns for early season trout.|
Driving home from a meeting the other day I was pleasantly surprised to see most of Lake Superior's tributaries flowing in the big lake. The open water got me thinking about how many bugs I still have yet to tie in preparation for the upcoming season. This thought wasn't settling realizing how few hours I can put aside from marriage and work to get my fly box to a to a respectable state. Prioritizing patterns to be tied is a must at this point, starting with the most productive and versatile. With that thought in mind streamer patterns like the egg sucking leech, wooly bugger and the muddler minnow will be on top of my list.
Since stream conditions are generally too cold for consistent insect hatches this time of year trout key on food sources that are energy rich and abundant. These sources of food include minnows, worms, leeches and scuds. If a trout comes across these types of food sources, they will not chance passing them up as many better options simply do not exist at this time.
When thinking about what streamers patterns to use the best advice I can give is to carry several large streamers that can be used to search the water you plan on fishing. Fishing in this early season means trout are going to be lethargic. Looking for trout to give chase is just not an option in early spring. To be successful fly anglers need to fish slowly and cover structure, runs and pools throughout the water column. Getting the fly in the trout's respected strike zone will give you a better chance at hooking up.
Typically fishing in the early season also means that stream conditions will be a bit higher, faster and muddier than normal. Darker colored streamers (blacks, browns and olives) will stand out better in these conditions and patterns that use soft materials like rabbit strips and marabou will help to entice fish. Fly size is another important consideration. Bigger flies make more commotion in the water and are easier to pick out in stained water. Larger flies are also easier to weight so fishing high fast flows is not an impossibility.
Fly fishing during this time of year can be hit and miss. Just like in summer, when the conditions are favorable, finding fish is not a problem. But fishing in early spring can also be really slow. Trying various streamer patterns that incorporate the right colors, materials and size will hopefully change your luck for the better.