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For a lot of anglers in the Northeast, rods get put away for the winter and don’t get pulled out ’til about now. Hitting the river early in the season is always exciting and a good way to shake off the winter’s rust even if there isn’t a whole lot going on on the rivers. With a little spring prep, you can make your first few outings more enjoyable and potentially more productive.

Spring prep has a lot to do with gear, and that’s what we’re going to cover right now. First and foremost is check your waders. Make sure any holes you had in them get patched, this will make early season fishing much more enjoyable. Check you boots as well, if you’re an angler that stubs your boots, make sure all the studs are tight and if any are worn down replace them.

Next up is your reel, make sure you clean your fly line with either a Rio or SA fly line cleaning kit, this will make your line preform like a brand new fly line. If your reel needs any lube, now’s a good time to take care of that. Check your loop connectors and make sure they don’t show any wear, if they do, cut them off and either add a braided loop connector from rio or take a piece of 25lb butt material and tie a nail knot to connect to you fly line then leave a 3″ section and tie a perfection loop in the other end. Also be sure to put on a new leader for the beginning of the year.

Lastly is pack organization. Go through your fly boxes and make sure you’ve got what you need but take what you don’t need out. In Vermont, the first month of the season is going to be nymphing and streamer fishing almost always. So, take your dry flies out, if you don’t need them all they’re going to do is take up space and you’ll risk having them fall out of your pack. Make sure you’ve got all of your leaders in one pocket, all of your indicators, split shot and other accessories. Organizing all of this stuff will also help you get an idea on what else you need to buy. There’s nothing worse then getting down to the river pulling your split shot bag out and realizing that you don’t have any left. With just a little bit of prep work before you hit the rivers this spring you’ll have a much less frustrating time on the water and might catch a couple more fish!