The water levels in the Ausable and Saranac rivers were lower than expected after the spring melt and this produced some good fishing on opening day.A small group of fly fishermen from the New Haven Anglers Club in Vermont took some nice-sized trout over the weekend. Fishing streamers close to the bottom in the famous Flume Pool and the large pool below the dam in Wilmington, where they reported catches of trout up to 18 inches. A couple of other anglers visiting from the Albany region reported catching and releasing some nice fish from the trophy section of the Ausable using beadheads.The heavy rains on Wednesday and continuous melting of snow in the mountains raised the streams, but they will lose most of that run-off in a couple of days, making the water levels easier to wade.The higher water will bring salmon up from Lake Champlain along with some steelhead so fishing that section of the Saranac from the lake up to the Imperial Dam will be your best choice for catching a salmon.There is still a good amount of ice on most of the ponds and lakes, but the rains have begun to deteriorate the ice on the surface and the higher water action beneath will increase the speed of the melting process. Most of the ponds should be fishable in another week to 10 days with some nicer weather. Again, a reminder that this is a great time to go after the native brook trout in the small feeder streams. A small beadhead or streamer works great as does an ordinary garden worm for those who don't fly-fish.A good omen on opening day was reports of many small insects hatching out in the slower sections of the stream. They were tiny sedges that are some of the first insects to appear on the rivers. As the water begins to warm, the fish will begin to rise so try some small green caddis for a chance to take your first trout of the season on the surface.In the past, I have managed to take a number of large trout on opening day fishing dry flies so it's well worth a try. Remember when fishing, there are no set rules and the innovative angler and those willing to try something different usually excel.Best advice though, for early-season fishing fish streamers and beadheads deep and slow along the bottom with slight movement and be patient.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 in Wilmington. Contact Fran at 946-2605.
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