What can we do when the rains come, when the snow melts, or when the floodgates open?
Rivers rise in many different ways. From quick and heavy summer thunderstorms, to the steady light rain that remains for days at a time. There’s the gradual release of melting snowpack and then heavy rains on that same snow that pushes high volumes of cold water into the rivers. Then too, there’s the generation of hydroelectric dams where the river might triple in flow, on a schedule.
In all of these ways, rivers rise. And the responses from trout can be different in each case. Yet, as anglers, there are some things about our approach to high water situations that always hold true.
Muddy water is miserable. But to us, dirty water is an invitation into some of our favorite tactics on a fly rod.
These conditions are an opportunity. Because a changing river system offers trout new opportunities. It breaks trout from their routines and can have them feeding fast. However, as anglers who are approaching high water conditions, we need to assess those changes and see the river anew.
High water can be a wonderful time to be out there. At flood stage? Or in the near-zero visibility of muddy water? Probably not. But there’s a wide range of conditions that exist between what most anglers see as perfect and then . . . blown out. And for many of us, we’d rather fish on the high side of things than the low side.
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