Changing River Levels
How many trips have people taken in the past where changing river levels interferes with your fly fishing trip?
My last trip to Alaska is a good example of this. I had been fly fishing for five days with nice weather and the river was dropping every day. The water was very clear with lots of King salmon holding and running up the river. Then an 18 hour rain storm hit which rose the river level several feet and completely muddied the water color.
So what is a person to do? NOT FISH??
People look forward to these fishing trips and invest lots of money to go on them. Here are some tips to help out in these conditions regardless of the type fish you are targeting.
- Remember the fish are still there but the holes and current has changed. The fish will be in different areas of the river then they were before. Fish spots were you can get a good slow drift and the water level is high enough to hold fish. You practically need to smack the fish in the nose to get them to bite at times.
- Fish the side channels. When the river is high, so is the current. Side channels offer less current where the fish don’t have to work as hard to hold. Also, good food sources float down these side channels. I really work the side channels early in the year when fishing local rivers. The river will clear, but the run off keeps the flows high on the main channel.
- Use fish scent where it is legal. If the river is muddy, fish will bite on scent if they can’t see well.
- Fishing will improve when river level start to drop again. Mark the river so you know what the river level is doing. Adjust where you fish by how fast levels drop because the river will continue to change also.
- Use more weight and brighter colors. Slow the drift and give them something they can see. When river color is green to muddy, fly fisher anglers may want to nymph or use streamers more often.
- Stay positive fishing will get better. On this trip to Alaska when the river rose and got muddy, a lot of people stopped fishing. We continued to fish, and although the fishing was not as good ,we still caught fish. In fact, after the river dropped about a foot again it stayed fairly muddy, but we had one of the best days of the trip catching fish.
Fish em up,