When is Fly Fishing Season?

When is Fly Fishing Season?

Aquatic insects which are the main source of nutrients for fish start to move in after winter. Due to the abundance in aquatic insects that live, breed and float around different bodies of water, fish tend to feed more during the time they are there. This makes it ideal for us to start fishing, which is why most fishing seasons start late in spring.

When is fly fishing season? Not all fishing waters are open all year for the fish to recuperate in terms of population ensuring the viability of their kind. The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has declared that most states start their seasons at the beginning of Memorial Day Weekend.

What is Fishing Season?

Fishing laws have been in place for very good reasons, all of which gear towards the conservation and population growth of the fish species. Most aquatic and marine biologist study, the ecosystem of the bodies of water and assess the population as well as the living conditions of the fish. If there is any issue or concern regarding the number of fish in a specific body of water, regulations are put in place.

In addition to the regulations set forth by the local gaming department, officials patrol the area to make sure that the laws are being obeyed. Some of the regulations in place are as follows:

On and Off Seasons:

Aside from weather conditions safe for fishing hobbyists, fishing seasons are in place to ensure that the fish are given time to mate and breed to keep the species alive and thriving. Maintaining a good population number is important to ensure the balance within the ecosystem.

Limit of Fish that are Caught and Kept:

Some areas have specific restrictions on how many fish a single person is allowed to catch and keep. Depending on where you are, there will be specific regulations in place to control “overfishing”. This practice is carefully monitored by marine patrol officers and is diligently followed by hobbyists everywhere.

Size Limits:

As we know, different fish species come in a variety of sizes depending on their phase in life. Most fish and game departments prohibit the catching of small fish. If caught, these fish must be unhooked carefully and released back in the wild.

If you are new to the fishing scene, it is important to know the rules and regulations to protect the balance of the fish population.

Be well informed and contact your local Fish and Game departments to know the regulations they have in place to fish legally in your area. Remember, that the ignorance of the law does not excuse you from it.

Weather and Water Conditions:

When you’re packing up to go fly fishing, one of the first things you must look out for is the weather. Fly fishing requires a lot of cooperation with the wind and water currents. Here are some of the conditions you should take note of:

Water Clarity:

Fish, in general, have excellent visibility even in muddy water. But this does not mean they would be out swimming during times the water is unclear. The cause of dirty water would often be high current. Even if some fish are strong swimmers, they will opt to be in a calmer environment.

Water Level:

High water levels are not conducive for fly fishing. During high levels of water, either after rain or winter, most of the fish would cower to the bottom of the body of water and will be unable to see the lure or fly sitting on the surface.

Water Temperature:

Fish are more active in colder temperatures, and they become more sluggish when warm. As the temperature increases and the oxygen depletes, the fish begin to stress out. The ideal temperature would be between 45o F and 65o F.

Sky:

Ideally, you would prefer to go fishing on a sunny day. But for fly fishing, you would need to take into consideration the habits of the insects as well. Most insects nest, feed, and lounge during cloudy days. The gloomy weather ensures an abundance of insects floating around, which gives you an edge with dry flies. The fish will be feeding a lot during this time, and with a dry fly ready, you’re bound to get a bite in no time.

Wind:

It can be terribly frustrating to fish during windy weather. It’s practically impossible to keep a dry fly from sinking into the water during this time. Plus, you would need to cast in a more controlled manner, short and strong.

Invest in good fishing gear that will keep you comfortable and safe. Weather conditions can be quite unpredictable. Just be sure to prepare for any situation you may encounter. At the end of the day, your goal is to de-stress and enjoy the process.

Freshwater Fish:

Fly fishing has been a common practice for freshwater fish and here are a few of the most common freshwater fish:

Bass:

Largemouth Bass
Largemouth Bass

Probably bass are one the most popular fish among beginning fly fishers. This fish has definitely been sought after by dozens of fly fishers and anglers alike. This is due to their strength and resistance to being caught. They are especially sluggish during extreme colder weather and are definitely abundant in practically every freshwater body in the US.

Carp:

Native to Europe and Asia, this oily freshwater fish has been named “the queen of the river” and is not usually fished for food but solely for a game.

Pike:

This species is sluggish in shallow streams, lakes and cold waters. They are known to be ambush predators thriving in waters that contain other fish for their prey. It is because of this cannibalistic nature. Young pike would need to hide in between plants to be safe from larger predators. Typically bony, they are not used for food but just as a sporting fish.

Trout:

Rainbow Trout

There are dozens of sub-species and have been found in a variety of fresh bodies of water all around the United States. They are exclusively freshwater fish that thrive in cool streams or lakes.

They usually feed on insects that lounge on the surface of the water, which is why it is quite easy to catch a trout when fly fishing. They are somewhat bony but are still enjoyed by many as food which is why trout farming has been quite a fad.

Salmon:

The Salmon is vital to the life cycle of a variety of wildlife. Bears, Beavers, Lampreys and certain parasites, need Salmon in order to survive. They often thrive in cooler waters and are quite resilient to current. Not known to many, Salmon actually spend about a year in the ocean, until they reach sexual maturity

Salmon Steak
A Nice Salmon Steak

When they have reached their peak, they return to the stream to breed. The fact that Salmon are quite tasty and an in-demand fish there have been conflicts between sporting and commercial fishermen.

This leads to the overfishing of the species that some states have banned the fishing of Salmon entirely. Farmed Salmon is quite popular holding a $10 billion dollar industry in the US alone.

The most common among these are salmon and trout, but ideally, any fish that does feed off surface insects and small animals fall under this type. Through this delicate and tranquil method of fishing, you achieve the impossible: relaxing while enjoying your favorite hobby.

Saltwater Fish:

It’s a common misconception the fly fishing can only be done in freshwater, but on the contrary, it works as well on larger bodies of water too. Some of the commonly caught saltwater fish are:

Redfish:

Most people think that you would have to go abroad to catch this beauty. But they are abundant in the Everglades of Florida as well as Padre Islands, in Texas.

Tarpon:

Angling for Tarpons is not surprising, but it is one of the best fish for fly fishing hobbyists. Their population is quite dense in Florida and is definitely abundant in Venezuela, Costa Rica, and Mexico.

Striped Bass:

The striped bass migrates to the East Coast around May to October, which would definitely be a good choice if you’re fishing in the New England coast.

Snook:

If you’re looking to score a Snook, South America is definitely where you should go, but they have also been spotted along the Atlantic Coast lining from Florida down to Brazil.

Bonefish:

These flat tropical fish are quite popular in the Bahamas and Seychelles but can also be found in Florida Keys.

Saltwater fly fishing can be more challenging due to the depth of the water, but with a fast action rod and quick reflexes, you’re bound to catch a bonefish or two.

Fishing Tips:

A misconception about fly fishing is that it is hard to do. This is definitely not true. This is the easiest variant of fishing that even children can learn easily. Here are some quick and easy tips for you if you are just starting out.

Be Silent, Be Still:

Fish are highly sensitive to vibration and noise. Any unnecessary movements will scare them away. It is important you tread lightly on the river banks and avoid making a lot of commotion.

This is especially true in still waters like lakes or ponds. Remember, we are trying to mimic the normal environment they are in to fool them into thinking the lures we are using are really insects.

Be Observant:

Take a look at your surroundings and watch the bugs on the water. Choose your lure wisely according to the types of bugs that are present around the area and then follow their movement patterns.

Start Close:

Whether you are on a large river or a small stream, when you are situated on the bank, you would want to work on the areas closest to you. This is a common mistake made by most fly fishers. They cast over the fish and miss out on what is just within arm’s length.

Give The Fish Room to Play:

As mentioned, fly fishing is all about mimicking a fish’s natural movement and routine. Many people new at this would immediately pull back and try to stiffen their hold on the rod which doesn’t help at all.

Playing a fish requires a great amount of practice, a firm grip, and flexible movement. Keep your rod at a 45o angle or less. This way, you’re just moving the tip of the rod and not the entire pole.

Safety Above Everything Else:

There are hundreds of precautions you can take to ensure your safety in the water, but other tips that you may have overlooked. Here are some safety tips you may want to take note of:

Protective Eyewear and Hats:

Polarized Sunglasses
Polarized Sun Glasses

Especially when choosing to fish in bright conditions.  Invest in a pair of good polarized sunglasses will help out a lot in cutting through the glare of the sun. As well as protecting your eyes from direct exposure to UV rays. Choosing the right pair also helps you spot fish easier.

Wearing hats is very important especially on hot days. Even if you are technically in a body of water, the heat can cause you to dehydrate faster. If you are not fully protected, the probability of getting a heat stroke is definitely high.

Good Quality Boots:

Most fishing areas are quite rocky. When choosing the pair of boots needed for the job, it is important that you have added support on your ankle, as well as a good grip on the sole of the boot.

Waders and Wading Belts:

Waders allow fly fishers to stay in the water for hours and hours on end, especially during winter time to keep dry and warm. The belts, on the other hand, are built for two purposes; comfort and safety. During long fishing days, wading belts provide lumbar support, allowing tension and discomfort to be released. They also prevent water from entering waders, which could be a threat during strong currents.

Choosing the best season for fly fishing is dependent on your personal preferences as well as the local laws of your state.

What’s important is that you enjoy your day out in the water. With these tips and tricks, you are definitely equipped with the knowledge to successfully fly fish anywhere.

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