Slow down for successful spring fishing

Print Article

The best tip I’ve ever learned for catching fish in early spring was from two internationally renowned fly fishing guides named Simon and Garfunkel.

OK, maybe Paul and Art aren’t known for their tight casting loops, but they laid out the best early season fishing advice when they sang, “Slow down, you move too fast…”

Too often, on the first few warm, sunny days there’s a tendency to rush out to a favorite spot on the river, swish the fly rod back and worth wildly, and splash way too much fly line into the water.

And, even worse, swing and rip those big streamers or drag those chubbies qujckly across the surface of the water.

C’mon boys, once again, tell us what to do.

It’s important to remember that all fish, regardless of species, are poikilothermic, meaning their body temperature is similar to their environment.

Call this “cold-blooded” if you wish.

In the cold water of springtime, the metabolism of fish is much slower than mid-July.

Fish move slower, chase food slower, just do everything that requires the expenditure of energy much slower.

Available energy levels for getting food are low and, for spring-spawners, reproductive activity also consumes this limited energy.

In biology, this relationship between energy and temperature is known as the “Q10 Rule”, meaning for every 10 degrees C rise in temperature, the metabolic rate doubles.

What does this mean for fishing now? Several things…

Retrieve flies, lures and baits slowly.

Look for fish in areas where they don’t have to expend much energy. Not raging riffles and white water, but rather deep pools and quiet eddies

It’s not unusual for warmwater species like pike, bass and perch to move to shallow, warmer water in late afternoon, then move back deeper at night

Lake anglers can use strike-indicators to suspend baits and flies for longer periods of time without retrieval.

So, slow down on your first several fishing trips this spring. Feelin’ groovy optional.

Jerry Smalley’s Fishful Thinking column appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.

Print Article

Read More Outdoors

Jones book a coffee table classic

April 18, 2018 at 6:55 am | Hungry Horse News Renowned Troy wildlife photographer Don Jones has a released a new book “Wild Montana.” The photo book features a host of Montana’s wildlife and birds, all of them taken in the field of wild animals ...


Read More

FWP: Poachers cut out the best cuts of game, left the rest to rot

April 18, 2018 at 7:00 am | Hungry Horse News Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks game wardens are asking for help from the public on several incidents of poaching between Columbia Falls Stage Road and Highway 206. FWP spokesman Dillon Tabish decl...


Read More

Forest looks to move Polebridge boat ramp

April 11, 2018 at 7:33 am | Hungry Horse News The Flathead National Forest is proposing a new boat launch ramp on the North Fork of the Flathead near Polebridge. The current boat launch has problems for floaters because the river dynamics have c...


Read More

Late season ice

April 11, 2018 at 7:31 am | Hungry Horse News If there’s any silver-lining in the cold-windy-snowy-sunny-rainy-squally-grauply, typically April weather we’re having, it’s a few more days of ice fishing. And that sounds good to me! If you reme...


Read More

Contact Us

(406) 892-2151
PO BOX 189, 926 Nucleus Avenue
Columbia Falls, MT 59912

©2018 Hungry Horse News Terms of Use Privacy Policy