Happy Father's Day! I have repeatedly told the story of fishing with my Dad and Granddaddy who were both fly fishermen. I didn't really care that much about fishing, but spending uninterrupted time with my Dad was priceless.
By Saturday, the skies will clear and stay clear for the next week. We all know that conditions on the stream will not be perfect, but I am assuming there are quite a few people out there who, like me, really enjoy spending time with, or in memory of, their Dad. The little article that follows is to give you the best advice possible to catch the fish that are there.
Fishing the big muddy -
Have you ever pulled up to a stream after a heavy rain, ready to fish, but canceled your fishing plans because the water looked too high and dirty? I’ll be the first to admit there are times when this is the case, but very often anglers scratch their fishing plans when they should instead, have Fished-ON. The fact is, trout can see a whole lot better than we think, and if you fish the right kinds of fly patterns, and target the right water, in many cases you can do pretty darn good fishing in these water conditions. Even better, your odds at catching a trophy fish are increased, because the dingy water will both mask your approach and keep big educated trout from being able to scrutinize your fly patterns. So go ahead, call those anglers you despise and tell them the waters blown out, and you’ll have a good chance of having the water to yourself and wailing on fish all day long.
Tip 1. Target the Right Kinds of Water
So you’ve decided to take my advice and fish on, good for you. The first thing you need to do when fishing high and dirty water is target high percentage water. I search out the slower moving seams close to the banks, long stretches of fast shallow water that are followed by buckets or deep water where the fish will stack up, and eddies behind boulders or lay downs. These are all safe havens that trout search out refuge in during high water. They all allow trout to save energy by staying out of the excessive current, while capitalizing on the large influx of food sources drifting. Increased flows and rising water increases the amount of food available for trout. Many aquatic insects get flushed off the bottom of the stream, while others emerge from the freshly submerged stream banks. Examples of this are big stoneflies that are normally found hiding away in clumps of debris and under rocks, and cranefly larva that get washed in from the high water flowing along the banks.
Tip 2. Choose Larger and Brighter Fly Patterns
The second thing an angler needs to do to increase their success rate while fishing high and dirty water is choose the right kinds of fly patterns to fish. This is the one time when I feel I don’t have to carry my entire arsenal of gear. I’ll gladly leave my fly boxes with all my tiny fly patterns and light tippet spools at the vehicle. I’ll rig up a 9′-12′ 3x-4x fluorocarbon leader and carry only my fly boxes with large nymphs, bright attractors (eggs and san juan worms), and streamers. What ever you do, don’t be afraid to go big with your fly selection. For instance, larger than average egg patterns work really well in dirty water. The larger profile and bright colors allow the fish to pick them up quickly in the low water clarity. I also like to use big bulky nymph patterns, like Kevin Howells, “Big Nasty”. Any rubberleg stonefly patterns in black or brown will work. If you want to try something a little different you can fish streamer patterns dead drifted under an indicator, like white zonkers, which can be deadly. Most anglers do not realize how well white shows up in dingy water. Your standard Grey woolly bugger work fantastic for imitating cranefly larva, or you can take a more realistic approach using, “Barr’s Cranefly Larva”.
Tip 3. Don’t Be Shy with Your Split-Shot, Fish Water Thoroughly, Try Streamers
One things for sure, make sure you pack plenty of split-shot and don’t be afraid to use it. The higher water is going to call for adding more weight to your nymph rig to get your flies down in the strike zone. Be sure to take more time to fish pieces of water more thoroughly before you move on. Your going to have to get the flies closer to the fish for them to see them, and they usually won’t get spooked from repeated casts. Overall, I find nymphing most productive for me during high water, but you can also catch some really nice fish with streamers as well. Try pounding the banks with streamers patterns that push a lot of water. Rubber legs, some flash here and there, and rattles incorporated into your streamers, can increase their effectiveness. Lastly, your retrieve speed should generally be slower rate than what you would normally retrieve in normal flows and water clarity.
So there you go, that’s my tips for fishing high and dirty water for trout. I hope it persuades the anglers out there to FishON that normally avoid fishing these water conditions.
Keep it Reel,
Gink & Gasoline
We have had repeated calls to our store asking about stream conditions. At this point the Spring is receding but we are anticipating at least some rain in the next couple of days. The water will be muddy from side stream runoff. The spring is pumping out some pretty fast water which is much clearer.
Watch the facebook page - Weavers Tackle Store - for updates or the usgs site which is waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/uv?site_no=06923500. (usgs bennett spring - if you want to search the site). The USGS gives you real time water levels as well as history,
June 15, 2015 for Bennett Spring
Gage house level is 2.15 feet Down from 3.25 only 14 days ago
Daily Discharge levels:
All numbers are in Cubic Feet per Second
minimum was 78 in 1977
25th percentile is 127
Median is 170
Mean is 196
75th percentile is 229
current level is 216
Max was 754 in 1935
June 15, 2015 for Niangua River:
Gage House reading is 3.32 feet, down from 3.5 on May 31
Daily Discharge levels measured in cubic feet per second:
minimum was 61 in 2012
25th percentile is 125
Median is 249
Today's reading is 332
75th percentile is 420
Mean is 355
Max was 1520 in 2008
From the fly box
black or red zebra midge
zonkers - black or white
mohair leech - dark colors
Zone one & two
white sparkle jig
rabbit hair roach
bumble bee mini jig
Marabou :salmon, ginger, ginger snap, moss, black
Glo Ball- jimi hendrix, easter egg
rooster tails: white, tinsel fire tiger, skunk, brown glitter, black
larger - size 6 -orange or brown wooly with spinner
pink mouse tail
sherbet power bait
Evan Fuhrmann from Collinsville, IL
2 pounds on a brown globall in zone 1
Justin Laughlin from Arthur, IL
2 pounds on a skunk rooster tail in zone 2
Felix Owens from Chesterfield, MO
2-1/2 pounds on a black & yellow marabou in zone 1
Noah Daniel from Indianapolis IN
2.3 pounds on a red and white marabou in zone 1
Margie Bratz from St. Charles, MO
2-1/4 pounds on a florescent red power bait worm
Kim Cearlock from Vandalia, IL
2 pounds on a white and pink marabou
Ellie Gast (9 years old and first trout! Where to go from here?)
from Lenexa, KS
2-1/4 pounds on a tan with gold head marabou
Lonny Todd from Lee Summit MO
2 pounds on a black & yellow marabou
Keaton Smith from Higbee, MO
2-3/4 pounds on a white chenille
Melissa Maness from St. Peters MO
2 pounds on a white glitter jig in zone 1
Chase Baker (age 12) from Chatham, IL
2 pounds on a john deere in zone 2
Friday: Periods of showers and possibly a thunderstorm. High near 76. East wind around 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New rainfall amounts between a half and three quarters of an inch possible.
Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 89. Southwest wind 5 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.
Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 89.
Monday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 89.
Tuesday: Sunny, with a high near 91.
June/July from 6:30 to 8:30
August from 7:00 to 8:00
September from 7:30 to 7:15
October from 7:30 to 6:30
Calendar of Events
June 23rd and 24th - moss cutting
June 27th - 9-12 am -Wayne Simpson fly tying demonstration at Weaver's Tackle Store
"Wayne is an avid fly tier and has been tying flies for a lot of years. He's known around the Bennett Spring area as the soft hackle king because he loves to tie and fish with soft hackle flies. These flies have been around for a lot of years and are still great flies to fish with today. Stop in and watch Wayne tie, and listen as he effortlessly hands out priceless knowledge as he does. Wayne is one fine fly tier and loves to share what he knows about fishing and the flies he ties."
July 25th 9-12 am -Wayne Simpson fly tying demonstration at Weaver's Tackle Store
July 28th & 29th - moss cutting
August 22nd - 9-12 am -Wayne Simpson fly tying demonstration at Weaver's Tackle Store
August 25th & 26th - moss cutting
September 22nd and 23rd - moss cutting
October 10, Holland Derby
October 20th and 21st - moss cutting
October 31st - end of regular fishing season
November 13th - start of catch and release for 2015/16
February 8th, 2016 end of catch and release season 2015/16
Quote of the Week
Experience usually is what you get when you don't get what you want, but if there were no such thing as optimism, there would be no such thing as fishing.
Author: Micheal McIntosh
Thanks for reading!