4 Tips For High Water Trout Fishing

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These tips will help you catch fish when the river is up.

Anglers in parts of the west are looking at high water for the foreseeable future. High water can be a fly anglers friend. A swollen river might spoil your dreams of big trout sipping mayflies in the film but if you adapt to the conditions you can still enjoy good fishing and the chance at a real trophy. Here are 4 tips to help you be successful during this season’s high water.

Head upstream

While the lower sections of larger rivers may be pretty stained, you can almost always find fishable conditions further upstream. If visibility is too poor on your larger rivers, it might be time do do some blue lining and check out those headwater streams where conditions are better.

Look for points of refuge

High water forces fish to stack up in places where the current is not so strong. Eddies and inside bends where the water is slower can be very productive. You can sometimes catch a handful of fish out of small pockets you’d walk past at normal flows. Structure becomes even more important in heavy water. Pay extra attention to blowdowns and submerged boulders.

Match the hatch that isn’t

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Lionfish – Tasty on Pizza, Hell on the Ecosystem

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Lionfish may be the mother of all invasive species.

Take a moment to think about this: a lionfish (native to the Indo-Pacific) has no natural predators in the Atlantic ocean. It can live up to fifteen years, reaching sexual maturity in less than a year. Once mature, a pair can spawn as often as every four days. A single mature female can produce up to two million eggs per year and they will tolerate a population density of two hundred adults per acre. Just the math involved scares me, but you don’t even have to get out the calculator to see where this is going.

Introduced in several locations in Florida as a result of aquarium damage during hurricane Andrew, lionfish have been making their way around the Caribbean and east coast of the US for the past twelve years, but in the last three years the population has exploded. They are now found as far north as North Carolina and south into South America. They are rampant in the Bahamas as well as the Florida Keys and are now common in the Florida panhandle.

Why am I so worried about this beautiful tropical fish? Here are a few more fun lionfish facts.Lionfish prey on almost every other species of fish. They also eat their spawn. They decimate populations of juvenile tropical fish including sport fish. They exhibit site fidelity and once established, reduce populations of other fish by as much as ninety-five percent. They grow to twenty inches and will eat fish over half their size. What they don’t eat, they out compete. Oh yeah, and they’re poisonous! Nice neighbors, huh?

So what do we do about all this?

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Use Side Pressure To Avoid Breaking Off On Snags

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You’ve got a big fish on and it’s making a screaming run straight for a big snag on the far bank. What should you do to decrease your chances of breaking off?

Your best bet is to apply low side pressure with your rod while keeping a perpendicular position between you and the fish at all times. Doing so you can put twice as much pressure on the fish than you normally can when your fly rod is in the overhead fighting position. Secondly, it’s much easier for you to steer the fish’s head and turn its direction using low side pressure. Always follow the fish up and down the river during the fight. The closer you stay to the fish the more leverage and power you can apply to steer and control the fish. Lastly, don’t tighten down on the fish trying to stop its run towards a snag, because nine times out of ten you’ll end up breaking the fish off. The harder you pull on a big fish the harder it generally going to pull back. If you find playing the fish aggressively makes the fish fight harder

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Kiss the Bank with Your Terrestrials

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One of the best times of the year to catch big brown trout is during the summer months.  

When the terrestrial bite is in full swing, brown trout will often tuck up under overhanging foliage super tight to the banks. Often they’ll be in less than a foot of water waiting patiently for the land born insects to fall to the water for an easy meal. Targeting this habitat on the water will increase your brown trout catch ratio over rainbow trout. Although rainbow trout will utilize overhanging foliage, they still prefer foam lines with current and deeper water for the most part.

Target Overhanging Foliage
This beast above devoured a beetle pattern that was placed perfectly in the strike zone. Kiss the banks with your terrestrials targeting undercut banks and overhanging foliage, and you could land a trophy like this. Just because they’re isn’t current doesn’t mean it won’t hold a good trout. The main factor is

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My Most Memorable Bonefish

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sn’t it funny, how certain fish we catch during our fly fishing trips can end up providing us with ten times the satisfaction over all the others. Sometimes, the size of our catch has little at all to do with the amount of reward it brings. I love catching big fish just as much as the next guy, but for me at least, it’s often more about overcoming the challenges along the way that’s what really makes one catch end up standing out amongst all the rest.

For example, my most memorable bonefish to date, only weighed around four pounds. I’ve landed much larger bones over the years, but what made this particular bonefish so special to me, were the extremely difficult fly fishing conditions I had to work through to hook and land it. Before it all unfolded, and I found myself feeling that special fish tugging on the end of my line, I was holding onto the last remaining tidbits of hope I had left inside me for dear life. I thought success was just about impossible. Never give up when you’re out fly fishing. For when you succeed when everything is stacked up against you, it will be invigorating to your very core.

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Improving Fly Tying Efficiency  

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By Bob Reece

Many beginner and novice tiers that I’ve talked to equate improved efficiency at the vise with rushing through the tying process. While applying the techniques below can speed up pattern creation, that result is not their sole purpose. The main focus of these tips is to help tiers get the most out of whatever amount of time they do spend behind the vise.

Material Prep Work

Some patterns require very little in terms of prepping materials. Others, however, involve shaping foam bodies, knotting rubber legs, cutting wing cases or beading hooks. For these flies it is highly beneficial to prepare the materials in bulk before you start tying. When I tie foam terrestrials, I cut all of my foam bodies and the knot rubber legs that I might need. With bead head nymphs, I bead all hooks that I’ll be using as well as cutting any strips of material that I’ll be using for wing cases. If all of your materials are fully prepped before you start tying, you’ll be able to create a larger number of flies in a shorter amount of time. Prepping your materials in mass also increases the consistency and subsequent quality of the bugs that you’ll be offering up to your favorite fish.

Hook/Bead Storage

Hooks and beads can be two of the hardest materials to handle and keep track of on the surface of a tying table. Hooks of all sizes can easily be brushed under other materials or into the abyss of carpet fibers that sit below some of our tying platforms. Beads are also shifty and hard to handle once they leave the confines of their plastic packaging. To prevent these happenings, I store all of my beads and hooks in plastic compartmented organizers like the one in the picture above. The clip down lids of these containers ensure that nothing escapes. Each compartment also has a curved bottom which makes it easy to retrieve the desired items. The containers that I use can be purchased in the sewing section of Walmart for less than two dollars apiece.

Pattern Material Kits

How materials are stored matters in terms of efficiency. I use plastic organizers, like the one pictured above, to create material kits for all of the patterns that I tie. Always knowing where specific ingredients are saves a tier the time of searching though bins, drawers and baskets. This type of setup also

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Choosing Flies for Tandem Nymph Rigs

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Today’s post is intended for beginner and intermediate fly anglers that struggle with choosing what fly patterns to tie on when they’re fishing a tandem nymph rig. Because most of our fly boxes are stocked with dozens of different fly patterns, it can be difficult at times to know where to start. I get the question all the time, “how do I know what flies to tie on?” The answer to that question is I don’t. Sometimes I can get a good idea by doing some bug sampling or observing the conditions on the water, but generally, I have to experiment with fishing different flies just like everyone else does until I figure out what the trout want. However, the key to my consistent success is treating my two-fly rig like it’s a buffet of food choices for the trout, and always fishing flies that imitate different types of food sources that the trout forage on. This increases the chances that the trout will like one of the food imitations in my rig and I’ll catch fish.

To make things easier for me, I categorize my nymphs into four different categories: Big flies, small flies, bright colored flies and natural colored flies. When I start out my day on the water, I begin rigging my two-fly rig with combinations of these.

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Yakima River trout Fishing: Video

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Recently I got the chance to float the Yakima River in central Washington.

While attending the launch of the new Sage X rod, the folks at Sage were good enough to host us for a day of fishing on the Yak with guides from Red’s Fly shop. I was fortunate to land on a boat with Jim Mauries of Fly South and Guide Nate Rollie. It was a great day of making loops and fighting fish on a beautiful river.

I took advantage of the opportunity to capture some of Nate’s eleven years of experience with Yakima trout on video. If you are in Washington state the Yakima is a must. The river is full of tough fish and the accommodations at Red’s are amazing.

Watch the video and enjoy “Floating The Yak.”

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Fish Every Cast!

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By Justin Pickett

From the great casts and the perfect drifts, to the ugly presentations and the drowned dry flies, if those flies hit the water, let ‘em drift!

Just about every day that I spend on the water with a client, I’ll find myself, at some point, explaining to them the reasons why I want them to fish each and every cast to the very end.

Flies only catch fish when they are on, or in, the water. Well, at least 99.999999% of the time anyway. All too often I see clients and friends lay their flies on the water, only to immediately rip them off the surface in order to make another presentation. If it’s a buddy of mine, I’ll often give ‘em some grief for it. However, more times than not, it’s a client, which brings me to a stopping point in order to educate them on why I don’t want them doing this.

For one, the act of landing flies on the water, whether it be a single dry or a gaggle of nymphs, and then ripping them off the water makes quite a commotion. The noises, ripples, and splashes that occur from essentially ripping a clothesline from the surface will no doubt either spook the trout you are fishing to, or at least alert them that the day’s contestants have arrived to play the game. If the flies hit the water, leave ‘em! Wait for them to drift out of the run, or at least well downstream of the fish, before picking them up to regroup.

Secondly, take your time and regroup. Yanking your flies from the water only to cast again without changing anything isn’t likely to make the next presentation any more successful. If you land your flies in a less than desirable location, let them drift out before taking them off the water and then take the time to makes adjustments before making your next presentation. Not taking the time to make adjustments only sets you up to likely making another undesirable cast. Move your feet, rotate your shoulders, check your distance. DO SOMETHING! Remember the definition of insanity? Take your time and maximize your chances to succeed.

The third thing that I emphasize to my clients is

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Time To Un-Match The Hatch

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By Johnny Spillane

Now that is a hatch!

Every year around mid April we start to see Blue Wing Olives on the Green River below Flaming Gorge. Most years the hatch is amazing, some years it is truly epic. This was one of those years. The best part about it, there is no chance to “match the hatch.”

When there are too many bugs on the water, yours gets lost in the numbers. Try throwing something 3-4 sizes bigger than what the naturals are and 9 times out of ten it will be more productive than a perfect imitation.

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