The warmer winter weather means warmer river temperatures and that will spur on the salmon fry to hatch earlier as the number of degree-days will be higher this year than in recent years. A degree day is a measure of water temperature x the number of days at that temperature. The higher the degree days in a month the more energy the eggs receive and the faster they develop and hatch. This means minnow patterns will be the go to fly if you are going after bull trout, cutties and rainbows that leave the overwintering pools or enter the rivers from salt water to start feasting on salmon fry.
Along with the predatory ducks, the bull trout are starting to take notice as well. This early in the salmon fry hatch some of the trout have definitely worn off their winter fat and are very streamlined but once the salmon fry hatch really gets going they will start to pork out and gorge on any minnow (real or a fly pattern) that happens to be unlucky enough to swim by. Four of these nice bull trout decided the above patterns were too good to pass up yesterday.
On the Squamish River, the month of April is traditionally the best month as its late run steelhead start to move into the river. Up to now, most fishers have been flogging the Cheakamus and some have had success with bull trout as well. The Squamish will also start to improve with the increasing salmon fry hatch.