Clear Water Strategies
I’ve been fortunate to have spent a lot of time fishing Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. If you’re at all familiar with some the freestone rivers in these areas, you know what a gin clear river looks like.
Fishing crystal clear waters are a challenge. The clearer the water, the more stealth is required. Fish in clear water are spooky. They are a far easy prey item in clear water than stained water.
Sight fishing is key here, and learning to spot fish is an art all to itself, but that’s what you need to do. The biggest mistake I think anglers make is rigging up at their vehicle and trotting right down to the river. You can spook a lot of fish this way.
Observation is critical. I’ll spend a good 30 minutes at time spotting fish from an observation point where I feel comfortable that I can be detected. When I spot fish, I like to line them up with a landmark near by. I do this so when I do hit the water, I don’t need to observe the fish again and risk them seeing me. I position myself and present my fly in a way to where I know where they are, but I have less risk of being seen.
When possible, approach the fish from downstream. Why? Trout have a blind spot behind them. Not an easy skill to master, but a necessary on. This flies in the face of the conventional up an across. I get it. However, in gin clear water, the up and across approach has you directly in a trout’s line of sight.
Master some of these techniques and I guarantee you’ll catch more fish. Please remember, pack it in, pack it out. Leave no trace. Until next time my fishy friends.