While everyone loves to catch wild trout, many anglers have no choice but to target stocked trout thanks to their prevalence and proximity to home. There’s nothing wrong with going after these hatchery-reared fish, but sometimes the flies we use to target them are a bit different than on the wild streams. Spring is usually the peak season to go after these stockies, and here are four flies that are sure to catch tons of trout on your next outing!
A wide array of colors and tremendous fly movement make this pattern a killer choice for stocked trout. Spring happens to be one of the best times for worm imitations anyway, so the fact that it coincides with prime stocked trout season is an added bonus. It’s also an incredibly versatile fly, as it works well at any point in a multi-nymph rig as well as a dropper underneath a dry. Favorite colors of squirmy include pink, purple, and chartreuse.
Few flies match the effectiveness of the mop fly for stocked trout during the first few months of the season. While it can imitate natural insects like caddis or inchworms, it’s a general attractor that works fantastic on nymph rigs. Yellow, brown, and green are a few preferred colors that do well when the water is a bit off-color, as it so often is during the spring months.
Stocked trout are aggressive, and the wooly bugger is the perfect fly to take advantage of that! White or black buggers are a favorite for anglers that pursue trout in all capacities, but that’s especially true for those that come from a stocking truck. They can be dead-drifted or stripped to achieve a swimming motion that trout in spring can’t resist!
Egg patterns are notoriously productive for stocked trout, and that especially holds true in spring when suckers are actively spawning. Fish, even freshly stocked ones, understand that eggs hold significant protein value and more than enough bang for the buck. Any time fish are spawning in a waterway you’ll be sure to see trout actively searching for and taking eggs. When it comes to the sucker spawn, orange and cream are two great color variations. If the water is extremely muddy, anglers can adjust and fish another egg pattern called the crystal meth, which is basically a sucker spawn with more flash.
Once stocked trout start to enter the streams, the race is on for anglers to catch them. There are techniques to use and finding the right spot is crucial, but having the right fly is the first step. Carrying this set of flies with you on the water is a way to ensure success and end up with more trout in the net than you ever thought possible!