Written by: Spencer Durrant

Excessive water presents anglers with loads of challenges, whether or not you’re fishing from a ship or wading.
Photograph by Ryan Kelly

From the Colorado River drainage to the Snake, western rivers could be excessive, muddy, and a ache to fish in springtime. If you recognize the place clear water is, you retain it near your vest. Nonetheless, each information and clothes shop will inform you an identical factor: the important thing to efficiently fishing in excessive water is the suitable approach.

Fishing excessive water could be attempting and irritating. And raging rivers aren’t as conducive to dry-fly fishing, as we’d all like, but it surely’s the worth we pay to maintain the West from drying up.

Regardless of the place you’re within the nation, you’re probably experiencing some excessive water, as nicely. Listed here are some suggestions that will help you take care of excessive water and benefit from your days on the river.

One of many hallmarks of an eddy or sluggish water is foam, and also you’ll typically discover fish there.
Photograph by Ryan Kelly

Lifeless water is your finest pal this time of 12 months. Trout advanced by way of durations of upper water than this 12 months, and intuition tells them to stack up in useless water.

You wish to fish eddies, slacks, and the sluggish edges of seams. Riffles are a no-go in excessive water as a result of staying in them requires extra vitality than trout can eat. Lifeless water requires little or no vitality to swim in, and it’s additionally an space of the river the place a great chunk of the meals will gather.

Throwing a streamer into useless water and making brief, concise strips is a good way to fish excessive water this time of 12 months. An enormous, meaty nymph underneath an indicator is an effective alternative, too.

That is one thing I’ve observed is a big downside for me this 12 months: Larger water creates extra and stronger currents, and as any dry fly fisherman is aware of, these topwater currents make for difficult drifts. That is the time to make use of an extended chief and heavier weight-forward line. Excessive-stick your flies to maintain as a lot line off the water as potential. It’s a distinct method, particularly while you’re dry-fly fishing, but it surely’s what I’ve discovered works for me on the times I’ve discovered fish nosing as much as the floor.

I used to be born and bred within the Rockies. The household stream (my ancestors settled the world and the city closest to the stream is known as after them) is essentially pocket water, and each backcountry angler is accustomed to the tumbling, quick-strike nature of pocket water.

Excessive water creates some new pockets whereas eliminating others, however within the pockets that do exist you’ll discover fish. A dry-dropper rig is my favourite technique to fish by way of pocket water, and when the rivers are this excessive I simply lengthen the dropper and ensure the nymph has a tungsten bead.

The tender water subsequent to the principle present is a good place to search for high-water trout.
Photograph by Ryan Kelly

I wish to fish three flies when the legislation permits. Right here in Utah, I can get away with it, and in a number of different Western states, as nicely. (At all times examine your native laws.) Throughout excessive water, fish are largely socked in on the underside of the river. Some, although, will probably be suspended at totally different areas within the water column, which is why you’ll wish to fish at totally different depths concurrently.

Fishing three flies additionally permits for the next:

  • Higher strike detection: Strike indicators are nice, however when the water is that this deep you’ll miss a ton of bites for those who’re solely staring on the indicator. Lengthy leaders and sophisticated currents means there’s typically a delay between the second a fish bites your fly and while you see the take. Changing that indicator with a dry fly – much less friction on the water and a extra direct connection to your nymphs beneath – will increase your capacity to detect takes.
  • Mimicking the number of bugs: Excessive water pushes tons of bugs into holes in the identical means it pushes fish. Throwing three bugs collectively will mimic the overall crush of bugs.

Exit and play within the excessive water this spring, and put these tricks to the take a look at. Simply bear in mind – for those who can’t catch a sure fish, the issue is at all times that it’s an inconceivable drift.

Spencer Durrant is a fly fishing author, outdoor columnist, novelist, and sports activities author from Utah. He’s additionally the information editor of Midcurrent. Verify him out on Instagram.


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