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Early Spring Fly Fishing Tips for the North Fork River at Harmans Log Cabins

By Timothy Caudill, North Fork Fly Shop Manager and Head of Guide Services.

The North Fork River, at Harmans Luxury Log Cabins, offers fantastic early spring fly fishing opportunities as the water warms and trout become active. Here are some personalized tips to maximize your success:


  • Rod & Reel: Opt for a 5 or 6 weight fly rod with a floating line. This setup provides good casting control and responsiveness, perfect for the river’s size and early season flows.
  • Leader & Tippet: Depending on water clarity and targeted fish size, use a 9-foot leader with 4x or 5x tippet. Lighter tippet offers better presentation but might be riskier with larger trout.
  • FLIES:

    • Early Season (March-April): Focus on nymphs that imitate emerging insects like stoneflies and mayflies. Popular choices include Pheasant Tail Nymph, Hare’s Ear Nymph, and Prince Nymph in sizes 14-18.
  • Warming Waters (May): As water temperatures rise, try incorporating streamers like Wooly Buggers and Clouser Deep Minnows in olive or black, sizes 8-12, to entice larger fish. Additionally, dry flies like Blue Dun and Black Gnat, sizes 14-16, can become effective if hatches occur.
  • Pro Shop. Need help picking the right fly? Pop into our North Fork Fly Shop (upstairs at check-in office building) and we will select what’s best for your current daily fishing conditions.

    • Early Season: Since trout are likely hugging the bottom in search of food, employ nymphing techniques like dead-drifting and upstream presentations with slight twitches.
  • Warming Waters: As fish become more active, explore streamers with strip retrieves imitating fleeing baitfish. Additionally, try dry flies with gentle upstream drifts, allowing them to imitate emerging insects.

    • Check water conditions: Early spring can bring high and fast-moving water. Adjust your tactics accordingly, using heavier nymphs or larger flies for better control.
  • Mind your surroundings: The North Fork can get crowded, especially near Harmans. Be mindful of other anglers and practice proper etiquette to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience.
  • Catch and release: Help conserve the fishery by practicing catch-and-release techniques. Utilize barbless hooks and handle fish with wet hands for minimal stress.
  • Local Knowledge: Don’t hesitate to inquire with the staff at Harmans. They have valuable insights on current hatches, productive stretches, and local regulations.
  • Guided Fly fishing sessions. Make the most of your time on the river with one of our professional fly fishing guides. They know the river and will help you land a brag-worthy trophy trout. Sessions are 4 hours or 8 hours with lunch included. Fish solo or bring your buddies for a group session. 
  • Remember, fly fishing is about enjoying the outdoors and the possibility of reeling in a big one. Adapt your approach based on conditions, experiment with different flies, and most importantly, have fun exploring our private, 2 miles of the beautiful North Fork River.