I would buy a FFO tag. Fly fishing is so much different than other types of fishing. Sure you can troll a fly horizontally in a FFO water and unless they were just stocked, you will be lucky to get a handful of fish. However, with a vertical retrieve over a spring or working the shoreline for established territorial fish, you can easily get into double digits or more, especially if you have deciphered what their quarry is. Oh and by the end of the day, the tweaking pain in both shoulders reminds you of your time on the water.
You read every little ripple on the water, every slight change in wind direction, etc. No sonar, no water temp reading (although you can get a probe). Either in a float tube, waders or even a canoe, working two rods - 2 sinking or 1 floating and 1 sinking - it is such as different experience than it was years back.
That is the time they did allow spinning rods and my Dad use to sling a clear fly bobber with a wet fly a long way and catch a lot of fish. I know if I could do that, I would do quite well as I can cover a ton of water without spooking fish (false casts). Use a slip bobber to drop a conehead fly to bounce the bottom...
But now that they don't allow that, it takes a lot of work to constantly get your fly in the zone. Many fly fisherman prefer the thrill of dry fly fishing only which is way more relaxing than working 2 rods constantly.
I will say that with the quality water program, there is less fish stocked in these ponds than others, and with the exception of Profile Lake, most of the stocking is small fish. The reason is the high level of catch and release and much higher holdover rates.
Look at the amounts of trout and size they stock at lakes like Echo, Diamond Ponds, Clough, Fish Pond, Cedar Pond, Lucas Pond, Akers Pond, etc. The size ponds that are decent for a 2-3 mph troll, with no motor restrictions, and with somewhat decent launches.
There is no question that the state spends more money supporting open trout ponds than they do for FFO ponds.
The above information is based upon my 30 years experience in fishing the lakes region especially the fly fishing areas of Sky Pond, Newfound River, Sugar River, Profile Lake...
I do know that when I fly fish in places where it is an open trout pond, I will typically have more success than those who are spinning fishing. One time at Hothole pond, I hit a midge hatch and a size 18 pheasant tail was murdering the fish as all levels. Worm with a small spinner single hook was skunked due to the fish keying on the small biomass drifting up to the surface from the bottom.
All I can say is the following:
1) I don't believe that more cash is spent supporting FFO ponds than trout ponds without the restriction. In terms of fish stocking the numbers prove it.
2) I think everyone should experience full fly fishing with waders and / or a float tube. It is truly a satisfying and rewarding experience. You will appreciate this the next time you are trolling on the big lake.
3) Finally, see how blessed we are where we can rant about stuff like this. Where 90% of the world wishes they have high quality fishing waters like we do. MN - the state of 10000 lakes has only a handful that are 150 ft deep. It's is primarily a warm water fishery. To us cold water fisherman, our warm water fishery is a nice change. We have so many choices and one of the best choices is a FFO pond or river.