It’s been a rough spring so far, but if May is normal, it’ll be a popping-bug lover’s paradise. Bluegills will be blowing up bugs in blue, green, or yellow. Cast under trees, near docks and along grass lines. 

When topwater activity slows, try a Jitterbee, BHER, Tussel Bug, Cap Spider or Slow Sinking Spider a couple feet under a tiny strike indicator. Twitch the indicator and pause. A lot of strikes come on the pause.

Topwater is the name of the game for bass. Work hair bugs, Flip Flop Poppers and Boogle Bugs along structure. For schooling fish, cast Crease Flies and shad patterns. 

It’s been a tough year for speckled trout so far, but with warmer, calmer weather they should be gangbusters in the lower bays and lakes. A good approach is to start with topwater early on calm days. Bubblehead Poppers, Perch Float Poppers, Bobs Bangers and Skipping Bugs will draw strikes.

Later in the day, move to weighted flies suspended 2 to 3 feet under a VOSI. While the chartreuse/white Clouser Minnow is my favorite fly for this setup, late spring and summer are best times for the EP Spawning Shrimp.

Reds will be active in the interior ponds. With small shrimp and crabs inundating the marsh, now is the best time to have imitations of those in your fly box. Grass is still thick in most ponds, so have a few bendback patterns as well.