By Louis Cahill
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.
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
Knowing which hatches usually occur at the time you’re fishing can help you select flies. The adults may not be present but the nymphs are likely active and waiting for their chance to emerge. Fortunately, high water usually occurs around the time you’d expect some of the larger stoneflies. Large, rubber-legged nymphs are a good start in high and stained water. Worm patterns are always a good choice as the naturals are plentiful during high water events.
Not a silver bullet, but always worth a try. High water can make big predatory fish bold. You’re likely to find a trophy fish feeding in the middle of the day when the river is raging. Target the soft pockets and inside bends. Use flashy patterns or patterns with high contrast. If the water is high and fairly clear, white is often a good choice.
Don’t let high water keep you off the river. You may find it makes trout bolder and easier to target. Just be aware that high water can be dangerous. Sections of river you wade often and are comfortable with at normal flows can be bad news when they are high. Boating can be tricky too, so have fun but be safe.Louis Cahill Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com firstname.lastname@example.org Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!