May Newsletter

On The Fly South May 2022

May is a month when the fish we target with the fly really turn on in the spring. Here’s a look at the stories we will be delivering later this month in our May edition, along with angling news from the southland.

The South Llano River. Photo by Jimmy Jacobs.

We lead our May coverage with a tale of heading to the Texas Hill Country to catch the unusual combination of rainbow trout and largemouth bass from the South Llano River near the village of Mission. Then it’s off to the Florida Keys for a look at the options for wade fishing at Curry Hammock State Park on Fat Deer Key.

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We also venture over into northeast Alabama for some springtime popping bug action for largemouth bass on the upper reaches of Lake Neely Henry in downtown Gadsden.

As always, subscriptions to On The Fly South are FREE. You can sign up on our homepage. You get just two emails per month notifying you when we release a new edition and when we publish the monthly newsletter. NO SPAM! And we never give or sell your information to anyone.

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Around the South:

Fly Fishing Booming

Photo by Jimmy Jacobs.

The Outdoor Foundation (OF) recently released a special report about fly fishing on behalf of the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF).

The 2021 Special Report on Fishing focused on angling participation in the U.S. in 2020, covering who went fishing and the types of angling in which they engaged. Fly fishing was a major focus of the report, and the results showed that the long-rod sport has continued to grow. An estimated 7.8 million people went fly fishing in the U.S. in 2020. That’s up an astounding 42 percent from the 5.5 million who fly fished in 2010. Fly fishing was also up 20 percent from as recently as 2016.

Not only were more folks fly fishing in 2020, but they also were fishing more. The estimate for the number of days on the water for Americans increased to 97 million fly-fishing outings in 2020. That is up 27 percent from 2019 levels. Those levels of fishing also translated to an economic boom, with a more than 70 percent increase in fly-fishing tackle and accessories sales estimated by Southwick Associates in their 2020 Retail Fishing Equipment Market Size Report.

According to the OF and RBFF report, 18 percent or more than 1.4 million who went fly fishing were people who picked up a fly rod for the first time. Though many think of fly fishing as a sport for the older generation, 29 percent of fly anglers in 2020 were under the age of 25, and 47 percent were under 35. Most fly anglers were males, though females made up 30 pecent of the fly-fishing community in 2020. That is up 10 percent since 2010.

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Virginia Trout Slam

Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources

The Virginia Trout Slam is a challenge to anglers to catch all three species of trout (brook, rainbow and brown trout) all in the same day. Both stocked fish and wild fish of any size count toward the slam but catching all three in a wild trout stream is the ultimate trifecta. Chasing the slam not only offers a new challenge to anglers, but it also promotes some of our lesser-known trout fisheries. It adds adventure to a fishing trip by forcing the angler to explore new streams in an attempt to complete the slam.

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Float Fishing Mississippi’s Bear Creek

The swinging bridge in Tishomingo State Park. Photo by Jimmy Jacobs.

Spring is one of the most enjoyable times of the year to head down Mississippi’s Bear Creek on a float-fishing trip. Spotted bass are the main quarry, often staging up along the current breaks, making this a great opportunity for a quality angling experience. The gateway to this fishing is at Tishomingo State Park.

Bear Creek is a scenic stream settled within the bluffs of the park. The park offers a 6.25-mile canoe float trip down the rocky-bottomed stream with the take-out point at the park. The float trip operates daily from mid-April until mid-October, (weather and water level permitting). Scenic sandstone bluffs, lush greenery, a canopy of mixed hardwoods and pines, shoals, and Class I rapids with long pools between for fishing provide for an enjoyable and exciting trip for all ages.

A fee of $40 is required for the canoe trip and advance reservations are recommended. Contact the park office at (662) 438-6914 for reservations.

Everything you need is provided by the park: canoes, paddles, lifejackets, and transportation. Lifejackets must be worn the duration of the float trip. There is a limit of two persons per canoe. One small, collapsible, lunchbox size cooler per canoe will be permitted on the trip. No alcoholic beverages will be allowed. Coolers are subject to search.

The scheduled departure is 10:00 a.m. All persons wanting to take the float trip must report to the Park Office 30-minutes prior to departure time. Canoeists leave their cars at the park’s Swinging Bridge Area and are transported upstream to begin the float trip. Participants return to the swinging bridge approximately two and a half to three hours later (dependent upon water conditions). At the end of the trip, all canoeists are required to load their canoes on the trailer provided.

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Georgia Trout Stocking

Photo by Jimmy Jacobs.

As the month of May arrives, Georgia’s Wildlife Resources Division has just stocked trout in more that 70 waters in the northern third of the state. These waters range from small streams to rivers, and some smaller lakes.

Check out the weekly stocking reports from the WRD to find a stream near you.

Also, keep in mind that the delayed-harvest season on the Peach State’s five such waters runs through May 14. After that the creeks and rivers revert to general regulations, permitting the harvest of fish.

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Arkansas Fly Fishers Events for May

Sipping & Tying: May 2 at Flyway Brewing in North Little Rock. A social/fly-tying night, which starts at 6 p.m. Bring your fly-tying vise, tying materials and hooks, order some food and a beverage and we will tie flies and trade fishing lies. If you don’t tie (yet) and just want to see how it’s done, they’d love to see you. No experience necessary. Members and visitors welcome. Flyway is family friendly. 

Monthly Meetings. The regular club meeting is May 16 at the Whole Hog Cafe, 2516 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, at 6 p.m. Besides the opportunity to meet and socialize with AFF members, the meeting features a presentation from Daniel Roberts on Fly Fishing for Arkansas Stripers. Members and visitors welcome. Family friendly.

For more information visit the club’s website.

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