Spring Fishing Checklist

By G. Chambers

With Spring here and ice soon off Ontario Lakes, now’s the time to get prepared for the long fishing season ahead. . .

1. Renew Your Fishing License

Don’t leave home without them. In Ontario, if your are between 18 and 65 year of need to purchase an Ontario Outdoors card and a fishing license. If you have them, check to see they are still valid. If not, you can buy them online.


2. Check the Regs.

Fishing regulations do change in Ontario from time to time. Before hitting the water check the 2017 regulations to confirm season opening dates, catch limits, etc. for the zones you plan to fish.

3. Sharpen Your Fish Hooks

Sharp hooks catch more fish. Go through your fly and tackle box and look for rusty hooks or dull hooks that could use some sharpening . The best way to test for sharpness is to place the tip of the hook on your thumbnail. No need to apply any pressure, just set the hook tip on the nail. A sharp hook will stick to your thumbnail, while a dull hook will slide off.

4. Clean & Lubricate Reels

Over time, dirt, sand and gunk can get into the moving parts of your reels. A dirty reel can reduce your casting distance and shorten the lifespan of your reel. Separate your spool from the reel and wipe away any built up crud with a Q-tip or a lightly oiled piece of soft cloth. For a deeper clean and lubrication, check the following sites:
Cleaning a Fly Reel
Cleaning a Spinning Reel

5. Inspect and Clean Fly Line

Overtime time fly line can deteriorate due to UV  damage, chemicals (sunscreen, bug spray) and general wear and tear. If your fly line is cracked you’ll probably want to replace it (a crack in a fly line acts like a hinge and prevents flies from properly turning over).

– Partially fill a bath tub or sink  with with enough soapy water (1 cap of dish soap) to submerge the line.

– Peel off the line in long loops and let soak for 30 minutes.

– Drain the soapy water and rinse line.

– Dry the line by pulling it through a dry, soft cloth. As you do this stretch the line to rid it of  any memory.


6. Dress Your Fly Line?

Back in the day when fly lines were made of silk, it was pretty much mandatory to dress your fly line. With today’s plastic coated fly lines, many say line dressing isn’t really required. It’s up to you.

Those who favour conditioning their lines say it improves casting distance (i.e line moves through the guides with less resistance)  and makes your floating line float just a little bit better.

If you are going to dress your line, the smart thing to do would be to use the dressing recommended by your fly line manufacturer. The frugal angler would say use any silicone based conditioner for use on plastics. Check auto the automotive section of any store for stuff like Rain-x, Armour All, etc.

7. Tie Some Early Spring Patterns

It’s not too late to tie some flies in preparation for Opening Day. In Southern Ontario,

Some good early season fly patterns include:

Olive Bead Head Wooly Bugger

Caddis Puppa

Yarn Egg


Black  Stone Fly Nymph

Egg Sucking Leech

Parachute BWO




About adminsfbca

Scarborough Fly and Bait Casting Association.
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