I figure its about that time that we’re all thinking about opening day here in Ontario. After all, its only 18 days away. Each year, on the last Saturday in April, the streams come alive with eager fly fisherman seeking to remove months of the shack nasties. So what do you do with the last couple of weeks leading up to opener? This is the time of year I get critical about my fly inventory. I like to at the very least make sure my spring box(es) are full and ready to be spilled on opening day.
Its best to be prepared for any type of hatch or situation you may come across on that all important opening day. If it rains steady for the week leading up to opening trout season, you’ll want to make sure you are armed with big, oversided nymphs, streams and egg patterns. It the days leading up to opener are warm, sunny and dry, there is a good chance you might see some hatches coming off at the warmest times of the day. Last year for example, the night before opener, the temperature didn’t fall below 10 degrees celisius. The days and nights before that were just as warm, if not warmer. That led to some stonefly, BWO hatches and even the odd hendrickson was coming off the water. Luckily I had imitations of all and was quite satisfied with my opening day. Check out a video of Trout Opener in Ontario last year.
Early Season Ontario Flies for Different Situations
I’ll break the flies that you should have with you down into two parts. Some flies will overlap, and we’ll just call those all around opening day fly patterns.
The first part – Fishing streams for Resident Trout on Opening day. These streams will hold a vast number of insects, minnows and a number of terrestrial creatures worth having imitiations for.
Early Black Stonefly Nymph & Dry Fly – These little black stoneflies will be hatching on opening day. Its best to be armed with a ton of different imitations and sizes.
BWO nymph, emerger and dry fly – Blue Winged Olives are the first mayflies to start hatching in the spring. Personally, I find the emerger pattern to be the most reliable, but experiment and see what works best for you.
Hendrickson nymph, emerger, dry fly – Without a doubt, you’ll want some hendrickson nymphs in your arsenal, as these are another early season mayfly that may or may not make an appearance on opening weekend. The nymphs however, they will be active.
Caddis larva & pupa – Always have a good supply of caddis larva. They are always in the river, and they are active nearly year round.
Matuka Leech – Tie up this great rabbit strip pattern in a variety of colours and sizes to tempt the bigger fellas down there.
The second part – Fishing rivers for migratory rainbow Trout (steelhead) on Opening day. For the most part, you’ll probably find yourself fishing the lower reaches of most rivers for migratory trout. These areas are generally considered a warm water fishery in the summer months. Fly selection will differ somewhat from those you would use for fishing streams for resident fish.
Others that were mentioned above that would be great for steelhead are: Matuka Leech, Wooly bugger, Caddis larva & Pupa.