Hey Andy, I’m a high schooler that just got into fly fishing last year, took some casting lessons and fished throughout the summer with slim success, but got my casting down. I think something I don’t know a lot about is fly selection based on the time of year. Obviously during the summer months I use crickets, Chernobyl ants, etc, but what do you use through the rest of spring, and especially this weekend? I’ll be out on the Rush after the film tour Friday. Thanks

A great question. Lets keep it simple from the start.
The majority of the patterns I use at this time of year are sub-surface patterns of insects that are in the stream. There will be an occasional hatch of floating insects, but until air and water temps rise all life in the streams tends be sluggish or lethargic. The key is to locate the fish and get the food to them rather than expecting them to move to get the food. Truth be told many different patterns of nymphs will work at this time of year. Find the deeper, slower sections of the waters you like to fish and get the fly on the bottom. The best method is to use a strike indicator like Bentley’s Balls and set the depth to a bit deeper than the water you are fishing. Trout will tend to hang together in large groups in this type of water because thy don’t have to expend precious energy by swimming a lot and they are protected from predators by the deep water. Sometimes it is necessary to add split shot or some kind of weight about 8 or 10 inches above your fly to get it to the bottom. The bite will likely be ever so soft, so setting the hook on any movement of the strike indicator will be important. Make sure you focus and set the hook or there will be little catching. Bead head flies are heavier and will help get you to the bottom faster but the are not absolutely necessary for successful catching. I think most importantly is your presentation of fly to the fish and your ability to detect a strike. The fish should be hungry during the warmest part of the day this coming week.

Here are some patterns I would use with or without beads.
Prince nymph and other stone fly patterns size 8 to 16
Hares ear patterns size 14-18
Scuds(fresh water shrimp)- olive, gray or orange in size 12 to 16
Pheasant tail nymphs size 16-20
Soft hackles in tan, brown, black or orange size 14 to 20
Caddis larva or pupa in green or olive size 14 -18

Fly selection based on time of year is the broad and general question. Each stream and river can have slightly different populations of insects. Turn over some rocks when it gets a bit warmer, you will learn a lot about what imitations you will need to catch trout.
I hope this helps and great fishing.
Thanks Brody