Fishing High and Muddy Water

I am getting ready to fish, and with much-needed rain coming, I know many rivers will be pretty swollen. For example, here is a recent chart showing flows of the Westfield River below Knightville Dam:

One strategy is to wait for the flows to subside. Unfortunately, I usually don’t have much schedule flexibility: I have some narrow windows for fishing. So, I instead try to adapt. If the waters are high or low, I fish.

One video I found helpful is the one above, from Kelly Galloup of the famed Slide Inn. He debunks some myths, such as the assertion that fish don’t feed when the water is muddy. He also disagrees with the notion that you have to use a big and gaudy fly when the water is discolored.

Kelly also talks about techniques for fishing high and dirty water and shares thoughts on nymphing and streamers. In his view, high water is one of the best times during which to fish sub-surface. There’s a lot of food being dislodged and the fish are eating. The fish are also concentrated, as they are in soft seams or near the banks, away from the fast-moving water.

Last, Kelly also shows his “drop shot” nymphing rig. He’s not using a surface indicator. He’s doing the tight-line nymphing that I like to do. It’s a helpful video.

IMO, there is no “perfect” time to fish. I will fish when it’s rainy, sunny, or cloudy. I’ll fish high water or low water. I think the key is to see the environment and adapt to it.

In that way, I get to fish more.

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