March, April, and May are quite possibly the best three months of the year to find yourself out on the water doing some form of fishing. Sure, there are other times during the year that can be magical, but these months offer such a variety of possibility that is tough to discredit them as the best time of year to fish. Lakes and ponds are warming up, which brings waves of bass, crappie and panfish into the shallows. Trout streams also get a big boost from the amount of insect life that starts to pick up this time of year. Typically caddis and a variety of mayflies start making a daily appearance that puts the trout in a good mood. So, generally the toughest thing to figure out is just what fish to chase on any given day. I usually try to fit it all in if I can, making the most of the fabulous conditions. Some trips on the lakes, and some trips on the rivers, and do it as many times as you can before the hot summer sets in. Some really nice bass can be caught this time of year as they start their shallow migration looking for spawning areas.
Always a great time to be on the lake, and by the month of May, the top water bite will kick in which makes it even more fun. The first heavy waves of bedding bluegill typically happens here in the month of May as well, so there is no better time to probe the shallows with a fly rod on the local lakes and ponds. The trout streams start to warm up in March, and the added insect activity usually means more aggressively feeding trout. I usually see caddis hatching before the majority of the mayflies start to take over. Plenty of caddis out this past week as I was on the river, and an elk hair caddis trailed by a soft hackle did the trick more than once.
Caddis do not float along the surface of the river and dry their wings before flying away like mayflies do. Instead, caddis will bust through the surface film already flying, and have a very erratic flying motion as they dry their wings in mid flight. Because of this, trout are usually taking the emergers just under the surface during a caddis hatch, and that makes the soft hackle a good option to trail behind a dry fly during these hatches. Spring is for sure an awesome time to be on the water, so I encourage to get out there and give it a go if at all possible.