Water level high for opening day PDF Print E-mail
Written by FRAN BETTERS, Focus on Fly-Fishing   
Sunday, April 01, 2007

With today comes the official opening of trout season, and the large volume of snow still melting in the high peaks has made rivers and feeder streams quite high.
The ice has mostly gone, making most of the water accessible so you can get to the sections of streams that are most fishable.
Some salmon will most likely be in the lower sections of the Ausable, the Saranac and the Bouquet. There should also be some steelhead coming up from the lake, so it's a good time to take advantage of the nice days and try your luck at catching one of these trophy fish.
Your best patterns to use in the discolored water will be brighter-colored streamers. Mickey Finns, Smelt Patterns, Yellow Muddlers or Marabous are all good choices until the water clears and then you can go to more sedate colors. Remember, imparting a little action to the fly will improve your catch, as it will get the fish's attention quicker than fishing the fly with a dead drift.
You can use the high water to your advantage to fish the smaller feeder streams for the native brook trout, or speckles, as they are affectionately called. Smaller fly patterns with color are also in order here. My favorite is the orange-bodied bead head Picket Finn. A small spinner fly is also a good choice. If I had only one pattern to use for brook trout, it would be the Picket Finn. There is nothing tastier than a breakfast of fresh-fried brook trout.
Most of the feeder streams in the Adirondacks have an abundance of these tasty fish, so taking a few home to eat will not deplete the population. In fact, one of the reasons most of these fish don't get larger is due to the competition for food in these small streams.
There is one aspect of spring fishing that I want to bring forth: I have often heard the expression, "The river is too high to fish." This is false. A stream may be difficult to fish but there are always sections of backwater or calm areas where the fish can congregate.
By taking the time to search out these sections, you can often catch a large trout that has taken up refuge there. Enjoy the day and the nice weather, and start the new season with a good day of fishing. One more thing, the name of the sport is fishing and not catching. The fish you may catch is the bonus for just being out there.
Fran Betters is a fishing and fly-tying legend on the West Branch of the Ausable River. He and his wife, Jan, own the Evening Hatch restaurant-motel in Wilmington. Contact Fran at 946-2605.



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