As COVID-19 continues to force all of us to make changes to our daily schedule, the Department would like to remind you that together we can make a difference. To help minimize the spread of the virus:
- Practice social distancing
- Wash your hands regularly
- Avoid nonessential travel
- Stay healthy and safe.
In this time of change, the Department would like to encourage anglers to stay home, mend equipment and prepare for the upcoming fishing season. In the weekly fishing report, provided by Dustin Berg of Go Unlimited (supporting disabled anglers) and the Department of Game and Fish, we will be sharing tips and tricks to help you be ready to go on future adventures. Each week, we will feature some different flies, lures, activities or recipes that can be done at home.
In this week’s report from Berg, we will go over a couple of techniques for fishing with flies using a spin-casting rod and reel.
Fishing with flies using spin-casting rod and reel
I have had great success fishing for trout and bluegill using a traditional spin-casting rod and reel in combination with flies. It all started about 25 years ago during a summer vacation with my dad. We were staying at one of the many little cabins in Red River.
As with many of the cabins in the area, there was a pond within walking distance that was stocked with trout. The trout would rise to feast every morning and evening on an abundance of airborne bugs that would incidentally crash into the pond. The rising trout made the pond’s surface ripple as if there were a light rain coming down.
We were having a hard time catching fish using spinners; it was obvious the trout preferred the bugs peppered across the ponds surface. We cut the spinners loose and dug deep into the tackle box until we found several flies that probably came as a bonus to a tackle purchase from the past. One of the flies we found semi-resembled the bugs flying around the pond. In hindsight, I think the bugs that were hatching were mayflies.
I threaded a bobber on to about four feet of my fishing line, using a bobber that twists onto the line. By opening one end of the bobber, I filled it about halfway full of water, which provides the weight necessary for casting. Once filled with water, you twist it to secure it in place on the fishing line.
Then I tied my fly to the end of my fishing line.
I was able to cast about 30 yards out into the pond. The bobber hit the water first and was trailed by the fly, which landed on the water’s surface, much like a real bug crashing into the pond. A few moments later, a trout gobbled up my fly and I jerked back on my rod as I hooked my first trout on a fly. I caught several more trout that evening and many more trout in the years to come using that method.
There are a few tricks to maximize your success using this method. Instead of watching the bobber, you must watch the actual fly. You will see the fish eat the fly and the quicker your reaction, the more likely you are to hook the fish. Unlike bobber fishing with bait, the bobber’s only purpose is to provide the weight needed for casting. Treating your dry fly with floatant will increase your fly’s ability to float naturally on the water’s surface. It is very important that your fly resembles a natural bug floating in the pond.
Another popular fly to pair with spin-casting gear is the Pistol Pete’s fly. For this method, use an inline bobber (capable of filling with water), swivel and Pistol Pete in that order. First, thread your inline bobber onto your fishing line. Then, tie a swivel to the end of your line. Next, tie about a four-foot separate piece of fishing line to the swivel. Lastly, tie the Pistol Pete on the end of that line.
Now fill your bobber with water. The bobber full of water provides the weight necessary for casting. If your bobber is completely full of water, it can also help drag your fly further beneath the water’s surface, which can be more effective when the fish are deeper.
Fishing with the Pistol Pete and bobber method is like fishing with a spinner. You cast your line and then make a slow retrieve. You will notice on the front of a Pistol Pete fly there is a small prop. You want your retrieve to be fast enough to make the prop spin. When fishing this method, try different retrieval speeds and movements; fish might like one technique over another, so play around and try different things.
The Pistol Pete bobber method also works great with the woolly bugger fly. With the exact same setup, instead of tying on a Pistol Pete, tie on a woolly bugger.
I like black and green as general colors to try first when using a Pistol Pete or wooly bugger.
Some people like to troll these setups if they have a boat. I have had good success with these techniques at Hopewell Lake, Fenton Lake and Tingley Beach. My son has done quite well at Seven Springs Brood Pond. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
If you have personal tips and tricks that you would like to share with your fellow anglers as we wait out the current restrictions, please email Berg at email@example.com.
Social distancing is a challenge for all anglers; the itch to go fishing just keeps growing. But this is a time for all New Mexicans to pull together for the overall health of all our citizens and stay home. The Department reminds anglers it is their responsibility to be aware of closures and to contact land managers for properties of interest when restrictions are lifted.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) — blm.gov/new-mexico
U.S. Forest Service (USFS) — fs.usda.gov/about-agency/covid19-updates
New Mexico State Lands — nmstatelands.org/resources/recreational-access/
New Mexico State Parks — emnrd.state.nm.us/SPD/
New Mexico Open Gate Properties — wildlife.state.nm.us/hunting/maps/open-gate-program/
New Mexico Wildlife Management Areas — wildlife.state.nm.us/conservation/state-game-commission-lands/
Angler and outdoor recreationists should consult their local government’s website for information regarding fishing access in specific cities and towns.