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Old 05-30-2013, 08:31 AM   #1
Pumpkin QAAD
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High Water - Myth, Excuse or Reality

This past weekend I ran into countless fisherman, mostly on barstools, that were using the high water as a reason for not [fishing] catching fish. I found the fishing in larger creeks/rivers very difficult and mostly because I couldn't reach the runs and pools seemingly need to be worked extra hard. All the while the ever-present thought that "If I turn a certain way or slip slightly I'm in the drink".

I disagree that the fishing is bad when the water is high. I think that we need to change our time-tested habits and that's what makes it more challenging-yet more fun!

Here is a great article I read today when thinking about the subject so often talked about by trout chasers:

http://midcurrent.com/techniques/tak...h-water-trout/

All that being said I had very good luck fishing ponds and I was not very successful fishing creeks (see avatar). Perhaps I am an old dog that can't learn new tricks, or the wives' tale that fish don't bite in high water is true. But I certainly had a wonderful time trying different things out and seeing how what I normally do wasn't going to work well with fast and high water. Learning, improving and spending time out on beautiful stretches of water is all that its about for me, landing a brookie is just the icing on an already perfect experience.

In conclusion, I think high-water is an oft used reason why someone doesn't want to go fishing-not a good reason for 80%+ of why I love to fish.

Feel free to add your stories about high water (or anything else!)
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Old 05-30-2013, 09:20 AM   #2
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I know very little when it comes to fishing, but. They say the only time you'll catch trout on the Moose River here in town (Old Forge) is when the river is very high. I have seen the end results, they were impressive.
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Old 05-30-2013, 10:54 AM   #3
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When the water is on the way up the big browns get careless and sloppy. Several were caught locally this week in the 21 to 25 inch range, mostly by some of our better guides.

When the water is really high look for micro-habitats. Fish will hold near the banks and in structure. Fish large flies that displace a lot of water and you will run into some nice surprises.

Bar-stool fishermen haven't thought through the problem sufficiently or have a different agenda
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Old 05-30-2013, 01:26 PM   #4
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Next time you get really high water try this, you may even be able to leave your waders off. Sometimes that's not a bad idea because it keeps you out of the water. Sometimes that is not possible and you may have to go in.

Put on a big bushy dry and use a 3X tippet. Pick an appropriate section. Walk the bank and make short casts or even just dapple or skate your fly in any slack spot or current break, logs, rocks, bushes etc. along the bank. The strikes will be quick and hard and the fish larger than average, hence the heavy leader.

It's worked for me on the Saranac, Ausable, West Canada etc.. On the famous Grand River I caught 3 browns over 20" within minutes on a cold wet long weekend day when the water was 3x's normal and the guides cancelled and the fishermen went home.
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Old 05-30-2013, 03:58 PM   #5
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Personally, if the river is blown out(meaning way up and mocha colored) I will not waist my time..I won`t be sitting on a barstool ,but maybe having a few while tying up some future fish catchers...been out and have hit those conditions and never really get any takes to speak of...just my opinion..but ,to be there during the rise of the river before it gets blown out like VT has stated is a great time and to be there when it is receding is special also..especially as it clears...the big boys are still out and about feeling pretty bold under the slight coloration of the water..anyway, just my thoughts..great topic BTW!!..love the input!!

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Old 06-01-2013, 09:31 PM   #6
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O.k..how do you fish this!!??





I think maybe with a few bricks tied to your tippet you might get your nymph deep enough


Even my brother contemplates on what we should try....maybe trebuche-ing would work!! But ,maybe not...:roll eyes:

Oh, and BTW, pictured in the second photo is my favorite hole on the whole river!! Not that day though...


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Last edited by wildbrookies; 06-01-2013 at 09:43 PM..
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Old 06-02-2013, 08:37 AM   #7
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vtflyfish is spot on......
High water fishing can be very successful if you know where to go.....Look for eddies and seams along the bank that are slow......
I will use a couple of different techniques depending on water, depth, and distance.....The most deadly in my opinion is Tightline nymphing....I like to use two heavy flies that are tied in a relatively sleek manner. My go -to is a Girdle bug as the point fly, and various different droppers. I use a very long leader which involves a bi-color "sighter"...cast upstream and remain " connected" to your flies.
If the area I need to fish is further out ( over 10' ) I will use an indicator rig. Streamers are also a good bet....This past week are local rivers have been ripping. I had a few clients opt to reschedule, but a few wanted to learn the techniques of high water....a good skill for your quiver, it is likely if you travel, that the river you are on will blow out- nothing wrong with a bar stool, but save that for the evening!
This fish was taken on a streamer last week. Another good thing to consider is to look further upstream for clearing water....
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Old 06-02-2013, 10:07 PM   #8
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Nice Brown WW!!...we(my brother and I) know what you are saying and have tried those similar techniques..don`t get me wrong..we had a good day!!..I actually hand landed 6 bows and lost 2 ..nothing over 14"`s, a few were almost as fat as their length....and my brother caught 4 or 5 losing a few too..!!..I just meant ,it was a heck of a lot harder to fish our favorite haunts this day..we had to hike farther and fish runs that were slower.....but, when it all calms down and we are there together, things might be different...but ,as in all fishing ,never ,I mean never ever feel too confident and develop an ego...things/conditions always change and you need to adapt to them...I really liked your post WW..makes total sense , and we both understand and use those techniques,also great that you are sharing these techniques with others for their possible increase in success in the future...again,thanks for sharing your nice photo!!...BTW, looks like a native brownie!!no??

Tightlines!!

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Old 06-03-2013, 07:27 AM   #9
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No worries WB....
chucking and ducking is an acquired taste........I do think this was a wild fish....my photo does not do it justice.....Gotta go, the water is high again and I have two older men who are about to learn the finer points of said method.......Sure wish we were dry fly fishing instead!
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Old 06-03-2013, 10:10 PM   #10
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Having success in high water, at least for me, is more dependent on water temperature. This time of year, with temperatures getting into the ideal range for the finny creatures, doesn't seem to ruin the fishing as it might with huge amounts of snow melt in the early season - then spring skiing is always an option... Later in the summer - when the water temps make the cold blooded critters - luke warm blooded critters - a good soaking improves things (yes I know - we all know this)

You can also lose your life - Many Adirondack streams can come up dangerously in a hurry - rain might deluge the headwaters where in the area you are fishing it is only raining kittens and puppies --- I was once caught on the wrong side of the Ausable when it started to pour - enough to send my more sanely brethren for their cars - The whole stream to myself and for good reason - suffice to say - a long, long, walk,trip,fall through some tough terrain for the closest bridge - Yup -

Oh - another no brainer - know the release schedule for any tailwater streams - if again the schedules are actually followwwwwwwwwwwwwweeeddd (me being swept off a mid stream bolder pushing my estimates for how long it takes a release from the dam to reach my now floating down river arse..
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Old 06-03-2013, 11:00 PM   #11
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I have a self imposed aversion to split shot. I will fish shot for steelhead or if the water is cold and I have too. It comes from reading too many old timey fly fishing books.

If the water temps are over 55F I will fish an unweighted streamer, wet fly, nymph but mostly a dry fly. In high water I will fish a big bushy dry like a #10-12 Ausable Wulff. I see it better and know what it is doing and I believe the fish can see it better.

I skate it on a fast seam next to a slack spot along the bank. I fish a very short line, start dead drift it, then high stick it and bounce it and hold it right on the seam and let it dance. Toss it in a foam covered lazy Susan and twitch it and drag it across the scum. Water temps are 55-65F....fish gotta eat! And as I said leave the waders off. I cover a lot of shoreline walking upstream seeking the best spots and using a tree, boulder anything for cover.

If that doesn't work I'll work downstream fishing the same water with a streamer or wet fly. If all fails I will put on the hard hat and resort to the old Joe Brooks power nymphing with split shot.
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