Most anglers stray away from hitting the local stream following a recent rain. The water is running high & fast, visibility is next to nothing. Sight fishing is a no go and so is getting a lure to hold in place. Sounds like a recipe for disaster but it could actually turn out to be one of the best trips of the season.
We’ve all been there it’s your first day off without a chore list in weeks and you have been looking forward to a day on the water. Sometime in early morning you are awaken from dreams of angler glory by the trickle of rain on the windows. As the alarm sounds you see the rain has stopped but the local stream is sure to be washed out. More times than not you would roll over and forget about fishing, but that could be a big mistake and the easiest way to miss a great day of fishing. What you need to do is get out of bed, get to the stream and get fishing – but you will also need to change your tactics.
- Forget about wading – high muddy water and wading equals a dangerous situation. Even if you have fished your favorite streams for years the current conditions stacked the deck against you. Heavy flow has likely washed new obstructions and obstacles from upstream and reduced visibility will make it difficult to pick them out. Plus, should you lose your footing falling into flood waters is more about survival than getting wet. Forgo the waders and fish from the bank today.
- Hit the edges – speaking of bank fishing that is exactly where you should expect to find fish. Despite the popular theory to the contrary high fast water does not wash fish downstream, they are designed by nature to adapt to various conditions. One way they adapt is by moving into the stream edges where the current is lighter. Not only does this allow them to conserve energy but it also allows them to intercept baitfish which are moving to the same area.
- Slack water is the key – aside from the edges another likely target should be any slack water areas. Target the downstream side of any obstruction that offers a break in the current. Bridge piers, large boulders and small land masses are obvious targets but don’t forget most fish do not need as much cover as you may think – even a small depression or what appears to be a tiny obstruction will offer a potential resting point.
- Match high & muddy with big & flashy – when the water conditions turn for the worse fish will have far less opportunity to locate, identify and catch a potential meal. This means you can focus less on matching the hatch or a specific meal and instead throw big, flashy lures & flies – something which will grab their attention and be easy to track in the reduced visibility.
Good luck, good fishing!