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Early Season Stripers

A calendar to the fly fisher in the North East begins something like this; early spring Quill Gordon, Red Quill, Hendrickson, March Brown etc. And then Memorial Day comes the stripers migrating up from the South and time to hit the sand.

But lesser known; before the summer fish, striper action is inland in the estuaries and ponds. In the spring months, that’s right the spring. And the nice thing for the predominantly trout inclined is the fishing feels familiar.

Estuaries can be complex labyrinths creating currents, made up of various features like flats, channels, islands, and sand bars. Each estuary is unique and a haven for those who like to explore on their own, and who’s best fly fishing joy occurs when fishing new water and catching fish on their own.

Alewives and herring show in Southern New England as early as March. Silversides are right behind them in the early season. And the Stripers can be quite active following them in the early season, for the mid-day fisher this is the time to hit it.

For the trout fisher understanding tides can be something new. Tide charts are readily available online, in local papers or local sporting goods stores. Depending on the distance from the coast, estuary and salt pond water can be rising several hours after high tide and lower in the same fashion on the ebb. The smaller the estuary or pond the more it is affected by the tide. If too small fish will only be present during mid to high tides.

Fishing is relatively similar to trout, seams channels, bars, etc will affect stripers’ lie. Stripers work the baitfish like trout do nymphs, and often will key on just one species when more than one maybe present. Great early season patterns include Deceivers, Beast master, Hot Flash Shiner.