Each year melting snow and strong rains can bring a rush of water to your favorite fishing creeks. All that dirty water doesn’t mean you have to put down your rod and wait for it to settle. Change your techniques a bit, and you can be fishing through the highest of flows.
Pick your spots
Raging waters concentrate fish along banks, in eddies and behind boulders. Search the creek for those calm areas where trout can take a rest and group up. Find these areas and fish them hard. Let flies settle into them; use the current by casting upstream.
During high water, trout are concentrated near the bottom of the creek so take your fly to them. Use split-shot weights to bring your line down in the water. Sinking line also works in these areas. Get down to the fish, because it is unlikely they are coming to the surface for you. A double nymph rig can be successful with weights.
Dirty, fast water means the fish’s vision is significantly cut down. Use large flies, size 18 or bigger, to catch the trout’s attention. Also give streamers a try to really make them see you.
Dirty water means brown or dark flies are unlikely to be seen. Use some of your brighter color flies to make you stand out to those trout. Think oranges, yellows and greens.
Most importantly, be careful when you are fishing high water. Rapids can be extremely dangerous and you could be swept off your feet and down river in seconds. You may want to stick to fishing from shore during this time. Bring a buddy with you if possible so you can keep an eye on each other.