By Jack Denny
Well this is the month that things will begin to happen and it couldn’t happen soon enough. Stripers will be moving into local waters and some other species will start to become active.
But it is the stripers that we have been waiting for and if we have a normal spring then we should see some action very soon. The key is the sun and the bottom of your favorite early spring fishing hole, it should be a dark bottom.
Let me explain, the darker the bottom the more heat it will collect the heat and so the water temperatures will rise quickly. As the temperature rises everything goes into high gear from the smallest marine creature at the bottom of the food chain to the fish that feed on them at the top of the heap. The darker bottom will hold the heat and that is why one area has better action than another. Little Neck Bay, which is a traditional early season hot spot for stripers, is one of the first places to have such good fishing early in the season. Stripers that migrate from the Hudson begin to pour out and driven by an internal force and head up the Sound to do their thing. There are also bass that have wintered over in the deeper parts of the Sound that wake up and begin to search out the warmer temperatures of shallow bays and they are hungry!
The key to catching these early fish is "low and slow", the fish are not moving like they do in June. It’s like you waking up in the morning and getting started, you just don’t move that fast. Warm days in March can get up there so the fish act accordingly, they move quicker and chase the bait with more desire. The Clouser Deep Minnow is a good early spring fly or you can use a weighted Lefty’s. The bait is usually small so keep this in mind when choosing a pattern. Water clarity is also a problem, it is often murky due to spring rains and winds so make sure the fish can see your fly. Last year I had good success with a lime green and chartreuse Clouser during an afternoon fishing trip early in March. Don’t overlook black flies during the day, they create good contrast and can be picked out by the fish easily.
Take a trip early to find out what has happened to you fishing area during the winter. Things change and a trip, at low water, will give you a preview of what to expect on your first outing. Holes and bars may have come and gone since the last time you there. Safety is the prime reason to check things out, you want catch fish and get home with the memories. Good luck and be safe.