Thursday, April 28, 2011
Spring Time High Water Fishing
We all know its going to happen, it’s just a matter of when. Hopefully sooner in the season then later. Some of my best springtime days have been in really big water and this year we sure have had some crazy flow rates. Fishing big water is not as intimidating as it may look, but safety must be the number one concern for Anglers.
Lets break the river down to find fish in high water. Obviously this is not easy but we can narrow it down quickly. The heavy river current will push fish out of there normal holding spots and force them to the soft pockets along the riverbanks. By skipping over the pools and deep water you have eliminated 90% of the river. Now spend your time fishing the other 10% of the river. With the fish hugging the riverbanks they will find there way up the diversions and side channels, some of the side channels on the Salmon River a plenty big enough to swing flies in. With Steelhead holding along the riverbank approach the river with caution, start fishing at your feet (on the bank). The number one mistake that most anglers make is to reach the river and wade out over the knees. If the spawn has begun even in very little visibility Steelhead have a habit of giving themselves away. Look for a cloud of mud, this can give away an active spawning female on a redd or dark shadows on the bottom, fish for the active males downstream of the female. These males are very territorial and will smash large flies that pass in front of them. Fish will also hold on the inside seams of corners, in front of diversions and below a point of an island where the water forms a "V" in the current. Look for a current break below fallen tree's (Ellis Cove is a good example).
You can beef up your tackle in the big water, Steelhead are not going to be line shy now, 12lb to even 15lb Maxima wouldn't be to heavy for high colored water. Just because the water levels are high doesn't mean you need to fish heavier tips either. You are fishing soft slower water now, Having a fly with a big profile and alot of movement, fished very slow is the ticket for for success.
So the next time the rivers go high and off color don’t be intimidated, go fish! Just breakdown the river and remember safety is the number one priority.