After enduring the cantankerous Georgia winter, I am dying to get out and catch some wild trout. Many of you are willing to brave the unpredictable weather catch trout all winter, mostly dredging lead and tungsten with clunky 10′ rods. But by March even the most avid anglers yearn for opportunity to catch willing trout with dry flies and a crisp casting cane or glass rod. For southern Appalachian anglers small streams are starting to warm up a bit, and the rest of the country won’t be far behind.
Small black stones seem to be consistently successful for early season trout across the country, and that is especially true around the southeast. When I joined the Monthly Fly team and first had an opportunity to examine some of the flies sent out to anglers in my region, I was especially impressed by the selection of dry flies imitating small black stones. I’ve toyed with several patterns for early season stones, but I think this pattern from Monthly Flies will probably be my new go-to. Stoneflies generally climb from the water onto rocks adjacent to the stream. Wild trout often feed in rifles along rock walls and ledges, or in eddies behind large exposed rocks. Cast the fly tight to the rocks, within an inch or two. A nice, soft presentation is key. These bugs usually fall off of rocks just above the water level, so they often hit the water without much fanfare. A large “plop” will likely put any feeding fish down for a while. Consequently this “hatch” is missed by most anglers expecting splashy rises and swarming bugs.
If you find yourself with a kitchen pass in the coming days and weeks, definitely think about tossing some small stones to your local wild trout. If you haven’t already, pick up a Match the Hatch subscription and become a member of the team. Letting us match the hatch and send the flies to your door will allow you to focus on fish instead of your fly box.