Effects of Seasons on Backcountry Fishing
Streams: Mountain streams can become raging torrents during snowmelt in the spring time. High, muddy water makes fly fishing difficult, especially with dry flies. At this time of year you’ll probably need to fish under the surface with nymphs.
If water levels are high, try searching out smaller tributaries or going higher on the stream you’re fishing. You’ll find that water volumes are reduced considerably, and trout lies are more abundant.
Summer is the high time for fly fishing. Water levels come down, and water temperatures are still cool. Trout are hungry and actively feeding at this time of year. In fall, water levels drop and trout become more skittish. Insect life becomes sparse at this time of year as well. You might have to work a little harder to catch fish in the fall.
Lakes: High-elevation lakes are often frozen over well into the summer. You’ll have to do some research to get an idea of when lakes in certain areas are clear for fishing.
Ice-out is one of the best times of the year to fish a lake. As the term suggests, it’s the time right when the ice is clearing from the water. Fish will cruise and feed actively near the surface during ice-out. If your backcountry fly fishing trip coincides with ice-out, you’ll have a shot at hooking some of the largest fish in a lake.
Wading in Backcountry Lakes
Wading in lakes is a variable experience. Sometimes it’s a walk on the beach; other times it takes a bit more concentration. Beware of sudden drop offs and mud that tries to suck the wading shoes off of your feet. Test the places where you’re planning on stepping. A wading staff can help out immensely. Before wading into a lake, take a walk around the perimeter. Keep an eye out for a nice, sandy beach that’s safer and more accessible for wading than other areas.
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