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High water effect trout?

Joined:
3/27 0:20
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I'm new at fly fishing and not experienced in what to do in certain situations and With all this rain we got this past few days I was wondering if the high water will effect the trout and if it does how and what should you doing this weekend for opening day.

Posted on: 4/9 15:10


Re: High water effect trout?

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2009/3/30 9:52
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Well first of all, the effect depends heavily on what the conditions are in the specific stream (and even the specific part of the stream) that you intend to fish.

One good heavy rainstorm in an area might leave a major creek unfishable for 2-3 days, while a high-gradient trib to it might only be blown out for a few hours, if at all. Likewise, a rocky, swift flowing creek will tend to stay clearer, and clear faster than a slower, mud bottomed stream which may stay cloudy for days.

That aside, though, assuming your particular creek is fishable, but just somewhat high and has some color to it, it may actually improve the fishing.

Typically a color tint in the water, in my experience, makes the fish less spooky, and more willing to strike than clear. Faster/higher flow may convince more fish to get out of the main current and hang out in relatively calm pools near the banks, and stick closer to the bottom.

In these conditions, again, in my experience, dries are drastically less effective, and the nameof the game is nymphs and streamers in the slow current areas. For those nymphs and streamers, I usually go bigger (by about 1 or 2 hook sizes) and darker or brighter than I normally might...black, purple, dark red, claret, dark brown, dark olive...or chartreuse, hot pink, neon green, fluorescent orange, etc. Estaz, metallic tinsel, flashabou and similar reflective materials will also help your fly to get noticed in the low visibility conditions too.

This is all general trends, though. Above all, don't be afraid to experiment.

Posted on: 4/9 15:34


Re: High water effect trout?

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2013/7/30 17:16
From Fairborn, OH
Posts: 308
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Quote:

Cold wrote:
...That aside, though, assuming your particular creek is fishable, but just somewhat high and has some color to it, it may actually improve the fishing.

Typically a color tint in the water, in my experience, makes the fish less spooky, and more willing to strike than clear. Faster/higher flow may convince more fish to get out of the main current and hang out in relatively calm pools near the banks, and stick closer to the bottom.

In these conditions, again, in my experience, dries are drastically less effective, and the nameof the game is nymphs and streamers in the slow current areas. For those nymphs and streamers, I usually go bigger (by about 1 or 2 hook sizes) and darker or brighter than I normally might...black, purple, dark red, claret, dark brown, dark olive...or chartreuse, hot pink, neon green, fluorescent orange, etc. Estaz, metallic tinsel, flashabou and similar reflective materials will also help your fly to get noticed in the low visibility conditions too.

This is all general trends, though. Above all, don't be afraid to experiment.


In my short time fly fishing, I find everything that Cold wrote to be very true, especially the bold part above. Moderately high, stained water is my favorite water condition to fish in. I watched a guy I fished this past Monday repeatedly pull in fish on a bugger that were within 5 feet of him as he walked the water because the stain offered him very effective cover. It offers the fish comfort and protection from predators that fly overhead, but not from a phony bug that they think is food trolled through the water by a 2-legged beast.

Posted on: 4/10 0:31


Re: High water effect trout?
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2006/9/11 8:26
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If you check out the USGS streamflow data, the temps of most creeks has been hovering around 40*F. Ideal temp for trout to be most active feeding is in the mid 50's to 60*. We have been 15-20* below those temps. Combine that with high water making it hard to present flies low and slow in the cold water, and it's not surprising a lot of stream haven't been fishing that well..

The weather appears to have turned (finally!) and the streams are warming up. Also the hatches should soon begin to appear. Better fishing is around the corner.

Posted on: 4/10 7:57


Re: High water effect trout?

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3/18 18:54
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That advice is crucial. I've been reading a lot of recommended books on fly-fishing while the season kicks off slowly here in SW PA, and one of the most overlooked aspects is the stream's temperature. I believe my success this past Friday in Gettysburg was due to the temps being almost perfect for such an early day in the season. When I dipped my thermometer into the water, it read about 52 degrees, a little on the cooler side, but combined with the overcast sky it made for a pretty good combination for this first-timer. :) They wouldn't take the dries I presented even though I thought I had a pretty good match for what they were smacking on the surface right above me, but the nymph got 'em. :)

Posted on: 4/14 13:25


Re: High water effect trout?

Joined:
2007/6/19 21:49
From Lancaster County
Posts: 1513
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Quote:

BTRobertson wrote:
That advice is crucial. I've been reading a lot of recommended books on fly-fishing while the season kicks off slowly here in SW PA, and one of the most overlooked aspects is the stream's temperature. I believe my success this past Friday in Gettysburg was due to the temps being almost perfect for such an early day in the season. When I dipped my thermometer into the water, it read about 52 degrees, a little on the cooler side, but combined with the overcast sky it made for a pretty good combination for this first-timer. :) They wouldn't take the dries I presented even though I thought I had a pretty good match for what they were smacking on the surface right above me, but the nymph got 'em. :)


For early season, 52 is a good temp. I wouldn't say that is cold at all. The one stream I was fishing was 42 on Saturday. Tribs I fished the two previous days before were 45 (warming to 48 by late afternoon, with bright sun) and 46 (in all day rain shower), respectively. Fishing was pretty good in the 45 degree, warming stream, and slow in the 46 degree stream. The trend of the temperature is often what matters.

Also, when factoring in color, it helps to know some of the local disturbances as well. For instance, I was fishing in the ANoF (Allegheny National oil Field) for the opener. Every stream there should run clear, even with a substantial amount of rain. None of them were, because of all the new shallow well pads and all the access roads built to them over the past 10-15 years. The main stream remained cloudy for several days. If you're fishing in pristine, undisturbed forest, high water is your friend. But if agriculture, or energy extraction is occurring, it can really throw off the color of the water for a much longer time, and you have to budget that into your estimate on when the stream will be fishable.

Posted on: 4/14 13:43


Re: High water effect trout?

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2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
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Agreed, it has a major effect, but it can be good or bad. Most of the advice here is sound. Properly reading conditions, and using it to decide when and where to fish is 90% of what it takes to be a truly good fisherman. A few points to add to the above.

1. There is nearly ALWAYS somewhere that is not only fishing decent, but fishing better than average. Don't get married to a stream. Pick which stream to go to based on conditions. If you've had flooding rains for 3 days, guess what? Tailwaters are holding back and often at their best when low. Everything low and clear? Pick a bigger stream, where such conditions are usually better. Just get a big thunderboomer? Well, the little streams came up, but there's a day or so delay before it hits the big water. Fish there today. Tomorrow, the big stream will blow out, but the little streams will be prime again, up a little, but not blown, which is when they're at their best.

1a: Every stream has a different run-off rate. Get to know them. Generally speaking it's correlated with size, bigger streams taking longer to come up and drop. But lots of things affect this. For instance, a fully forested watershed slows it down, a urbanized one speeds it up. A limestoner with very large source springs can be pretty large but act like a small stream in terms of runoff rate.

2. In regards to temps, I consider 60 to be prime. 58 or 62, it doesn't matter, I'm not going to argue the exact prime. But overall, direction of change often matters more than actual temp. You want to be moving TOWARDS the prime. i.e. if it was 34 and raises to 40, that stream may turn on. If it was 50 and lowered to 45, that stream may turn off.

2a. Water temperature is very much a function of water conditions. If you got snow on the ground, that 50 degree day seems like it should bring water temps up. It doesn't. Snow melt dumps a bunch of 32 degree water in that stream. Likewise, it's August and you have water temps in the mid 60's, air temp highs around 90 everyday. But one rainy day it's 75 degrees and rainy. You'd think that water temp cools down. Nope. You have a whole bunch of 75 degree water entering the 60 something stream.

Also keep an eye on urban waterways. There's a few where the watershed has a high % of improved land (roads and parking lots with storm drains). A very typical summertime situation is for all that concrete to bake in the sun all day and then get rained on. That rainwater hits hot pavement, heats up, dumps down a storm drain, and into a stream extremely quickly. Water temperature spikes can be extreme.

Posted on: 4/14 14:22






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