By the time hints of spring start to show, many of us are itching to feel a tug on the end of the line. At this point, we are not picky, and happy to target anything that will eat a fly. Small, local ponds are usually the first to ice out, and many states tend to stock these ponds first. Now is a great time to shake off the cobwebs, or introduce someone to fly fishing as conditions are calm and fish are plentiful. Our staff has put together some advice that can help turn your day at the pond into a success.
1) Scale down your gear. When water temperatures are still just above freezing, fishes' metabolisms remain slow. They will be looking for easy, slow moving targets. Many of the hits will be subtle, and will occur as the fly sinks down the water column. Fishing lighter line and tippet may help detect these subtle takes.
2) Don't be afraid to change flies until you find one that works. Ponds host a number of aquatic insects. Oftentimes the fish are keyed in on multiple different species at once.
3) In heavily pressured ponds, or ponds with stocked fish, sometimes throwing an outlandishly colored or shaped fly will trigger the bite. Neon mops, bizarre looking nymphs, and streamers that don't get much water time may prove themselves valuable.
4) Broaden your approach until you are keyed in on fish. Don't focus on targeting a specific species or area right away. You may have some go-to holes that normally are productive during other times of the year. Early season fish may not have had the time to settle into their normal spots yet. Expect to catch a mixed bag of species until water temperatures more evenly stratify.
5) If you are fishing a stocked pond, be aware of stocking times. Fish tend to hang around the shallows for a few hours or days, and then tend to congregate in deeper water, further from shoreline fishing pressure.
We hope you get out there and have some fun fishing these often overlooked ponds! If you want a new set-up, click here to check out our reel selector tool.