Warm water fly fishing

When I started fishing as an adult back in the early '70’s, I soon switched from a medium weight spinning rod/reel to a fly rod complemented with an ultralight spinning rig. Mostly, I used the fly rod though. I stopped fishing for a number of years, but when I started back, bought a fly rod. It was stolen out of my truck a few weeks after I bought it…stolen at a boat ramp parking lot, no less. So, I bought another.

Its been sitting in my closet for over 3 years, used just once. The lake I was fishing when i bought was filled with hydrilla weed and the only open spots were in 8-12 ft of water. The bass and sunfish liked to suspend 2-6 ft deep and right next to the hydrilla beds, making it difficult to work a fly in the soup. The lake I’ve fished mostly since stays very off-color much of the time, has a high silt content from sand mines upriver and isn’t the best fly fishing water.

However, I’ve decide to start doing a bit of fly fishing again. I know of some smaller streams…most are 30 ft wide and less with just enough flow and maneuvering room for my solo canoe or 9.5 yak. Things have changed since I last fished with the fly rod on a regular basis. I primarily fished with popping bugs. But, now I see a lot of warm water flies. Don’t know a lot about them, so I’m looking for some suggestions.

Water conditions are warm. Summer surface temps can get into the 90’s. Fish species I’ll be seeking are primarily large mouth bass, mostly in the 1-3 lb range with some larger of course. The rod I’ll be using is a 9 ft 5 weight with a weight forward tip. Suggestions are welcome.

Warmwater flies
Bluegill are some of my favorites to target with flies once the water warms. Foam spiders are killer (especially blue). Any type of trout dry fly works well, mosquitos are great. For wets I’ll use small wooly worms and microjigs, basically a beadhead with marabou or just a thick wrap of chenille with a couple of rubber legs.

Bass are suckers for green and black wooly buggers. Fish 'em down near bottom. Split shot will get it down but casting is no fun. Try using a long leader and a beadhead wooly to get depth.

Used to get these blue/green foam
spiders when I lived in Austin. They were killers on 'gills. Most of the ones I see now are bigger and elongated. The ones I used were fairly small and had a rounded body.

The best advice
I’ve gotten was to try to see what the fish are feeding on. Use a small net to see what kind of bugs you can scoop out of the water and check which terrestrials may be falling in. Then, try to match it with a fly. Also, check with a local fly shop and see what they are recommending. Most of the fly shops around here, and even Sportsman’s Warehouse, keep a blackboard listing fishing conditions around the state. They typically list, location, success rate, and flies/lures that are being productive. Some of these places will even list that info online.

Local fly shop? What’s that?
Closest is an Orvis shop…22 miles. They don’t fish, just sell clothes. I live in the land of big time, big boat bass fishing. If the lure doesn’t weigh 1/2 ounce, it doesn’t sell. Gander Mountain, surprisingly, sells a good selection of flies, its 16 miles away and I go only when I have business there, not much that they sell attracts me and I can get it for less at our home grown big box outdoor store.

used to carry a selectin of flies for bream and bass. That is where I got my blue foam spiders. E-mail me your address and I’ll send you a few of the flies that I have tied that are killer on the local gills.

Thanks for the offer
Academy has moved more and more to selling athletic equipment and clothing. It varies from store to store a bit, but, for the most part, the fly fishing section is pretty poor. No popping bugs, muddlers, wooly’s, or much of anything other than plastic crickets and poorly made packages of dry fly assortments. I do have a trip to Bass Pro planned. They have a half-way decent fly shop with a selection of flies.

Yea , the Bass Pro shop …
… around here has a whole section dedicated to Fly fishing , I’m guessing all B.P. are pretty much the same … I don’t fly fish , but my lady is interested in trying her hand at it , so we spent awhile in the B.P. shop Fly section talking with the floor person … I’ve pondered the thought several times before , especially when out wading for top water smallmouth in the rivers …

Not to brag, but
(yeah, right) there are 4 fly fishing shops that I can think of off the top of my head that are within 20 minutes of work or home. One isn’t just dedicated to fly fishing, they also specialize in WW kayaks, sort of a dual specialty store. Then, if you want generic, we also have Bass Pro, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Gander Mountain, and in about a year Cabela’s is building a new store. Aww, shoot, now I have to work all day thinking about fishing this weekend…