We have gotten pounded by rain this month. We have had over 12 inches of rain in Asheville, NC as of May 29. A lot of people have called to ask us whether or not we can still fish and if we have any tips for how to successfully fly fish when the waters are raging. There is a point where we just cannot safely or productively catch trout on the fly, and we have cancelled several trips for that reason. The good news is that the Delayed Harvest and Wild Water trout streams in our area clear fast and while they may stay high you can catch trout. When you have high water the fish look for slower spots. That means they go to the bottom of the rivers or the side. We either add a ton of weight and dredge the bottom with stonefly nymphs and worms flies or we put on a shallow dry and dropper rig and fish the eddies along the edges of the river. In the spring trout metabolisms are at their peak and so are the aquatic insects hatching. We have yellow sallies, cahills, small blue winged olives, drakes starting, some salmon flies, and assorted caddis. The high water knocks a bunch of nymphs off their perches and the water is full of food. The other advantage of high water is that the fish usually can’t see you coming. Rough water is hard to see through and its very noisy so sneaking up on trout is usually much easier in high water. We typically catch fish on high water within 20 feet of us. You can also fish with pretty heavy tippet. Typically in Pisgah National Forest and other Streams around Asheville we use 5x and 6 x tippet. When the water is high we can use 3x and 4x. That makes fighting trout in rough water much easier and we lose many fewer flies. The photo on this post is a 7 day history of the Davidson River. It’s a stream that clears very fast and as soon as you can safely wade it fish are on the banks feeding. Give us a call if you ever need a guide to show you some of the high water techniques listed above.
Leave a Reply