Fish Sniffer On Demand Digital Edition 3812 May 24- June 7 2019 - Page 8

6 May 24 - June 7, 2019 VOL.38 • ISS. 12 Catch & Release Fishing! Hook More & Bigger Fish With Flies... The Low Down On High Water Nymphing! High water nymph tactics accounted for this impressive Sacramento River rainbow during an early May adventure. Photo courtesy of JASON THATCHER, River Pursuit Guide Service. The first few months of 2019 have been wet ones. Reser- voirs are at, or near, max-pool. Rivers and streams are running higher than usual, and probably will be for most of the spring and summer. The high water presents both unique challenges and unique oppor- tunities for the fly angler. One of the first things we should all be aware of is safety around the higher, colder water. Moving water becomes even less forgiving and extra care should be taken when boating or wading. When boating, the increased flows will make a river far more ‘pushy’ and an operator will need to plan movements such as obstacle avoidance well in advance. Looking even farther ahead and thinking a few moves ahead than usual is critical to avoid getting in trouble. If wading, consider wearing a PFD, use a wading staff, and always wear your wading belt. Pretty common sense stuff, right? A great advantage to fishing in high flows is it tends to concentrate fish in the soft water. Sometimes soft water is at a premium and it holds ALL the fish! For example, I often fish the Sacra- mento River at very high flows from a drift boat with nymphing gear. Every soft spot has trout in it. The flows become so heavy in 90% of the water, it pushes the trout to the edges. We will throw our rigs into the back eddies created by flooded blackberry bushes and trees. If the cast is accurate, its fish on! When breaking down a partic- ular piece of high water, look for current breaks, structure, back eddies, and softer water mere feet from the banks. Anything that In order to get your nymphs down in big flows, offers relief from the big water. You might be shocked at how you’ll need a selection of split shot. This English split shot consists of lead mixed with tightly the fish get sucked up to tin, so the shot are easy to remove from the a bank. The inside bends and the line should you want to go lighter. downstream side of islands should Photo by CAL KELLOGG, Fish Sniffer Staff. Fun Fly Fishing experiences for Beginners and Experienced Anglers. We Teach FLY FISHING! Steve Crosetti | 530-333-3484 • 3810 THE FISH SNIFFER (833)-347-4661 FISH SNIFFER DIGITAL!!! Jason Thatcher be targeted as well. I recall one particular summer of guiding in Alaska where there was an excess of water early in the trout fishing season. At first glance, the usually small streams looked too big to fish, however, on closer inspection we found that every inside bend was abso- lutely loaded with trout and char. Epic fishing ensued! As far as rigging goes, I commonly use an indicator When the water is high leave the small nymphs at set up with two flies and home. Instead go with medium and large flies like the split shot for extra weight. ones shown here. Length of leader, amount Photo by CAL KELLOGG, Fish Sniffer Staff. of weight, and size of the indicator is all dictated by what piece of water I’m on and how big the flows are. In general, though, I will size everything up. More weight, heavier leader and tippet, and a larger sized fly. The higher flows often mean less visibility underwater, and less reaction time for a fish to identify your presentation and decide to take a swipe at it. Go bigger and brighter or bigger and contrasting (black caddis or stoneflies) to give those fish an extra moment or so to see your fly coming. I will often fish an egg pattern with a nymph dropper. If I would usually be throwing a #16 prince for example, I would size up to a 12, maybe even bigger. Be prepared for extra strain on your tackle once you hook up. Often times you will be fighting a fish that’s using huge water to its advantage, or you will be trying to steer it away from submerged obstructions. Consider going up a weight or two with rod selection, and as mentioned earlier, scale up your leader/tippet (you can easily get away with it in the more turbid water). Just because the rivers and streams are big doesn’t mean you have to sit at home. If there is a little bit of visibility in the water, you have the option to be fishing. Who knows, it might be the best action of the year with literally nobody else out there. Keep safety at the forefront and enjoy a unique fly fishing opportunity! Want to fish with Jason Thatcher for trout, salmon or steelhead and learn the fine points? Book a trip with River Pursuit Guide Service! Indicators are must have accessories for working You can check them out online at www.riverpursuit. nymphs in deep water. 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