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Tips for Fly Fishing High Water

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1) Go big or go home: High flows will have the golden stones and salmonflies pushed down into the lower reaches of the rivers. These poor swimmers are ideal pray for large trout. So, fishing large Jimmy Legs and other salmonfly/stone fly patterns are the ticket. Speaking of going larger, you may want to fish heavier tippet and rods as it will be much easier to fight fish in the heavy current. Streamers are also a great option in high water conditions. Hell, I love dead drifting a sculpin or a crawfish pattern along the edge of the fast water. Still no luck? Try swinging or stripping a big nymph or sculpin on a short leader around the banks and hang on for a big grab. Oh, and don’t be stingy with split shot when needed.

2) Fish the soft water and the edges: Don’t start by wading out into the water. Not only are there safety concerns but during these high-water years you will find the fish lying very near the bank, in large pools, and buckets, and where ever else they can catch a break.

3) Don’t be a such a Nympho: Sure nymphing is great but a large salmonfly dry with a big nymph off the back is a great way to fish the soft water. Also, don’t be surprised if you see some nice BWO hatches and March browns this weekend.

4) Lakes & the Bay are a great spring time option as the fish and bugs will be very active with the warmer weather and increasing water temps.

5) Fish the tribs: Spring is a very common time for trout to spawn. You will often find trout in the smaller tributaries escaping the high flows of the main rivers

6) Longer rods, shorter rods and bow and arrow casts: When rivers are pushed up into the banks the bow and arrow cast made upstream, along the bank with a dry fly can be a great way to present the fly and keep from being tangled or stuck in the bushes. If you are on larger river a longer rod is a great tool to mend line effectively and high stick in the high flows. A 10ft 4 or 5wt is my favorite trout set up.

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