Through much of spring, the best trout action on Southern streams typically occurs after the sun warms the water for a couple of hours. The fish tend to feed fairly aggressively, and they congregate out of the strongest currents in normally high streams. At some point all that flip flops most years, and that was what I found on my most recent trip to the North Carolina mountains.
The day's best action occurred just after first light, and the bite gradually diminished as the day progressed. That was partly due to fishing pressure. We were fishing a very popular stream, so by early afternoon most runs we visited had just been fished by someone else. That said, summer mornings tend to produce better than summer afternoons around here, and I believe the rising sun and warming day impacted the bite.
Also contrasting all previous spring trout outings, I did far better with tiny, natural colored hair jigs than with flashy silver or pink or any kinds of plugs or spinners. With the water much lower than I'd seen it this year, instead of trying to stay out of the strongest current, the most active fish had their noses in the moving water.
I expect trout to be mostly in a cautious frame of mind throughout summer. That means small offerings, natural presentations and stealthy approaches. Fishing will remain good. I just need to tailor my approach to what the stream and its trout show me each day.
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