Weekend Warrior: We back!

Surprise! Just like that, after an on-again-off-again winter, we’re back for another fishing season. The trout have been stocked in the ponds and rivers around the Cape. Largemouth are eating, getting ready to spawn. Pickerel and perch and bluegill are massacring your flies meant for trout. Oh, and by the way. The stripers may be a week or two ahead of schedule this year. In fact, there were rumors of migratory fish caught on the Vineyard a few days ago. This is most likely a rumor of the “not true” variety, but it’s still fun to think about, right?  With the start of the real fishing season, it means your favorite Friday fishing report is back in your inbox telling you about all the fish you should be catching during the weekend.  

A note on the “Weekend Warrior:” We call it that because, like so many of you, I work a nine-to-five and have minimal time to get out during the week. Now, this isn’t to say I don’t schedule a “me” day here and there or try to get a few trips in before or after work a few times a week, but most of my hardcore fishing time occurs during the weekend.

Let’s jump into it.

Here’s what I’m hearing about the freshwater fishing

The trout fishing has been absolutely bananas this year. Although this isn’t a first-hand report (see my previous note about having a nine-to-five and being insanely busy the past few months). Want to hear something terrible? I haven’t caught a trout yet this year. I know. I’m dying here.

But the amount of pictures featuring big beautiful browns, brooks and bow I’m getting via text from more fishy/less busy buddies? Insane. Seriously. Get out and fish one of the stocked ponds this weekend. Fish on the fly have come a little slower, but anglers throwing spoons like the Thomas Bouyant and smallish jerkbaits like a Rapala have been doing very well.

I think the fly guys are having a tough time getting their offering out deeper where the newly stocked fish are hanging. We’ve had some midge hatches already, but as the nights warm, we’ll get more insect activity. Then it’ll be the fly guys laughing all the way to the bank.

Here’s a tip: Expand your horizons when it comes to targeting trout. Don’t stick to the spots you know. Get out and fail somewhere you don’t know. I got the chance to fish a river yesterday with Lunchbreak Eddy and a few other seasoned trout anglers. We only caught one fish in the group—a spunky little brown–but the setting was beautiful. And it totally changed my perspective on how we can target trout in the Eastern part of the state. Get out and fish a new spot—even if it means getting skunked and almost tumbling to your death trying to hop the river.

Largemouth are pre-spawn right now. I’d be throwing crankbaits or Carolina-rigged Senkos and creature baits around drop-offs if I were you. Or, find a pond that empties into a herring run and throw a big swimbait. This is the time of year where the bass get fat off herring and stocked trout. Bluegill, perch, and pickerel are eating like crazy. It seems the bluegills won’t stay off the fly lately. Throw a little dry on your 3wt and go have fun with them. Let them bring you to the reel and loosen your drag a little bit. This is fishing—it’s supposed to be fun.

Here’s what I’m hearing in the salt

Holdovers are definitely stirring in the warm temps. We’ve got confirmed reports of “fish everywhere” in a few known holdover spots. In the brackish last night, we saw crabs and minnows. The bait is there, which means the holdovers are too. Herring are moving through all the runs. A mid-Ebb tide may be your best bet in finding some large holdovers hanging around the herring run.

The Mal de Mer should be going in the water next week, so we’ll have a bait report then. The mackerel should be hanging around, but it’ll be a few weeks until we get migratory bass in the Bay. Want to intercept the migration early? Head down to the Ocean State or out to the Vineyard. You never know when that first wave may show up. And all signs point to an early arrival.

I’m getting pumped and just a little overwhelmed thinking about the fishing opportunities we’re going to be afforded in the next few weeks. Get that tackle bag organized. Sharpen your hooks. Tie your last ten hollow fleyes and half-and-halfs. Get your trout trips in now, because you know when the stipers show up, your trout sticks will sit alone and forgotten in the corner of your garage. Fish on, folks. Glad to be back here. Try the veal.

Billy Mitchell

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