by Capt. Roan zumFelde
Summer is definitely here and boy she got steamy fast. Water levels in the canals off 75 have been rising and the fishing slowing down a bit. Warm water and slow-moving fish will necessitate you slowing down your presentations a bit. Smaller poppers and wiggle minnows should still work, but you might have to start targeting deeper fish off the drop-offs or deeper waters of the lakes, canals, and creeks in South Florida. Dust off the weighted flies and go a little deeper for the larger fish.
Lake Okeechobee in June should get easier to traverse for the boaters. With added rain of June the fish should start spreading out to the main lake and into the scattered cover areas to feed on bait that has been safe out in the lake because of the lower water levels. Fly fishing the Lake should still be pretty good until the water levels get high, then it is all about shiners and Flipping and Pitching heavy cover.
The Everglades Canals are starting to slow down on the catch rates. Now that the heat and rains of June are here things might start getting a little tougher to find 100-fish days. When water levels rise I like to target canals that are less affected by higher water, like Interceptor and the Miami. The Golden Gate System can be pretty good as the waters rise. Another great canal that has a lot of fish in it and can be very good this time of the year is the Faka Union Canal out of Port of The Islands. When the waters start to run over the damn from the freshwater or north side, the small tarpon and snook really gang up early in the morning and late in the evening on the south side. (Bring Bug Spray) Boaters can put in on either side of the dam and fish south in the salt water or go up to the gun range ramp and fish the Big T on the north side.
I was asked what was my favorite fly rod for fishing the canals? I would have to say a 4 or 5 weight fly rod, with an overloaded line of usually 6 or 7 weight. I like fly rods to be shorter also. I usually like to throw an 8’ to 8 ½’ rod. This is not set in stone, but it is usually easier to cast in the tight quarters sometimes experienced in the canals. Short leaders about 7 ½’ with at least 12lb – 16lb. class tippet.You may have to pull through heavy cover and the fish are not leader shy. Top water is my favorite fly, either poppers, sliders, or gurglar type flies, but if you need to go under the surface a small muddler or even a weighted Clouser is fine.
At Mike’s Bait House and Indian Pass Outfitters on Danford Street next to Bayview Park, we carry a full line of tackle including all your fly fishing needs, saltwater and freshwater gear, food, drink, and bait. Thanks and good fishing. Roan z