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Trout Season in Full Swing

Another trout season is underway, and I still enjoy getting out on a stream, even though I’ve been trout fishing for over sixty years now.

Over all those years, I’ve had a chance to fish with an assortment of equipment, lures, and baits.

Like a lot of kids, I started with worms and a bobber on a small stream, but I soon switched to salmon eggs and larger streams like Pine Creek and Sinnemahoning Creek.

The father of a high school friend of mine took me under his wing and taught me the art of drifting a couple of salmon eggs on a number 12 hook on the bottom and under complete control. I remember catching and releasing dozens of trout in a single afternoon using that egg drift technique.

I also remember in those early days of fishing, another friend showed me his live minnow technique, and we often hooked up with good numbers of trout and some really nice brown trout.

Years later, I met a couple of brothers who were definitely expert in-line spinner fishermen, and I learned a lot from them as well.

There’s no doubt about it: all of those fishing approaches mentioned above worked, especially when properly presented, but there was another fishing approach that I didn’t start using until my college years, which was the art of fly-fishing.

Although all of the aforementioned fishing approaches will still catch trout, fly-fishing has become my favorite technique when it comes to trout fishing. Yes, I know, learning to handle a fly rod is more complicated and requires a bit more practice, but it’s something that anybody can learn with some initial help and a little patience. There’s also a lot of satisfaction that comes with taking fish on artificial lures versus baits.

Another plus that comes with artificial lures or flies is that fish rarely ever swallow them, whereas bait is often swallowed, making a quick and harmless release more difficult.

Of course, if you are going to get into fly-fishing, there’s a good chance you may also want to learn to tie your own flies. Granted, most fishermen just go out and buy the lures they intend to use since making most trout and bass-type lures isn’t all that practical, but when it comes to fly-fishing, making your own lures is very feasible and a whole lot cheaper than buying them.

So, if you plan to go the fly-fishing route, what are some good flies to have on hand in these first weeks of the season? I could write a whole book on what flies you should have and how to fish them, but here’s a simple approach.

You may want to start this early season of fly-fishing with several dry flies; these are the flies you see trout taking on the surface. By the way, dry fly-fishing is one of the most exciting types of fly-fishing. April is a good time to have some Quill Gordons in a size 12. You may also want to have some Blue-winged Olives handy and some Adams in sizes 12 and 14. There’s a lot more out there, but these flies will get you started on the surface.

The fly-fishing approach is also very effective when fishing below the surface and even near the bottom. Here, I would recommend a few nymph patterns like the Gold-ribbed Hares Ear with and without the bead-head. A Bead-head Pheasant Tail Nymph and a Caddis Larva would also be handy. Some other patterns you may want are the Bead-head Wooly Bugger, a Green Winnie, several color egg patterns, and a San Juan Worm. By the way, a simple Mop fly in various colors would also be good to have.

These fly patterns will get you started in the early season, but there’s a whole lot more that can be added. Well, now it’s time for me to go out and practice what I’m talking about; see you on the stream.