March Fly Fishing Report

by Henry Cowen

So I thought the Falcons would win Super Bowl 51 over the Patriots, and now I am to try to prognosticate how the fishing in March will shape up when it is clearly THE most unpredictable weather of the year. Probably the best advice I can give anglers fishing the lakes in North Georgia in March is twofold: take advantage of the moon phases and take advantage of the pre-frontal systems. Try to plan your trip around both the full and new moon phases for best results. Fish will respond well to both of those moon phases. Also, if you are going to fish before a front moves through the region, in all likelihood you will be rewarded. If you choose to fish post-frontal, you better be happy to just be out on the water rather than sitting behind your desk in the office.

We actually have two types of patterns that exist for March. The first is the pre-spawn, which is a big fish pattern. This takes place during the entire month of March. However, this could be delayed if temps stay cool. If someone is going to land a trophy on Lake Lanier or any North Georgia impoundment, it is usually done during this time period.

Striped bass are seen crashing threadfin shad on the surface in the coves all over the lake. While the fish can be caught on both the north end as well as the south end, I still give the nod to the north end for this pattern. Look for birds to help find these fish. They can be in the backs of the coves in very shallow water or in the mouths of the coves over a 30-40 foot bottom. Either way, they will be feeding on threadfin shad in the 2” to 3” size and possibly herring in the 4”-5” size range.

Josh England with a 24 lb March striper caught on fly

Fly anglers need be prepared with both a sinking line as well as an intermediate (slow sinking line) in order to cover both sub-surface as well as to twenty feet down. The sinking line comes in handy if you cannot get to the fish while they are on top. Fish up into the mid-teens and even pushing into the twenty plus pound range can be seen on the surface at this time of year. Somethin’ Else, Coyotes, Clousers and baitfish patterns can all be the ticket. If you start with the bigger flies and get refusals, then simply size down until you get a bite!

The second half of the month offers a slightly different pattern to watch for especially if the water temps warms up to near sixty degrees. Now the stripers, largemouth and spots will be feeding in the coves and you will come away with a mixed bag of fish. What I love about the second half of March is the sheer number of bites an angler tossing flies can expect. For conventional anglers it’s hard to beat either a 3/8 ounce Fish Head Spin with a fluke attached or simply a weightless fluke thrown on a spinning rod.



For those anglers who have been sitting in their recliners the past two months, now is the time to clean the equipment in preparation of some fabulous March fishing. Get the honey-do list completed and make the time to get out on our area lakes. See you on the pond…

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