A few Monday tips for higher water!
So we have some spring time higher water here fishing Montana’s Missouri River. Some of the other rivers in the state must be coming back into shape, or not, as we move into the last week of May.
We are higher and fishing well. Bigger water for us does not mean poor fishing. Unless you are some sort of dry fly only feller. If that is the case, don’t come. Not too much happening on the surface. The reason being that the trout do not like to travel that far up the water column to get the top water baits.
The best depth for that kind of fish behavior is 18″-36″. And while we have some of that depth, it is where the bank used to be. Not saying that you can’t find rising trout out there, but not as many as you would like to see this late May period. And June is coming!
A few HH Tips for your High Water Pleasure
- Deep is the key. The fish are not near the surface. They are not suspended yet either, expect sometimes. Most, if not nearly all the time, they are glued to the bottom. The water is moving faster out there in the middle and the fish simply don’t like to battle the deluge. Fish are efficient creatures meaning that they will not do stupid things. Other than eat your fly, with the hook hanging out of it.
So get your flies Deep! Deep meaning on the bottom. Adjust your rig so that it touches the bottom once in a while. Meaning about every other drift. That means using split shot too. Some are using a couple “B’s” or a “BB”. A wire worm is one of the sinkers that many like to use. De-barb them please. Easier on the trout and easier to remove from your cheek.
Splits and bobbers. Use the bobber to suspend your flies over the bottom. While it also indicates what is happening below in the watery environs, it suspends the flies at whatever depth you want. If you are not having success, the fish may not be seeing the fly. Don’t be scared. Change the depth first.
The old addage…”The difference between d good guide and a great guide is one split shot!”
2. Bigger flies can/do work in bigger water. When fishing the canyon or lower you can use some of the the classics with success. Big Prince Nymphs, Purple Prince’s, large Hare’s Ear’s, giant Pheasant Tail’s, that sort of stuff. Don’t be afraid of tying on some freestone style bugs. Buggers as the top fly. The Zirdle Bug. Rubber Legs. I think you get it.
3. Straight Leaders without too many knots. What? Yep, lots of knots like Surgeon’s and Blood Knots increase the time it takes to get the flies to the fishes’. Really? Yup. Trust me, I’m a fishing guide.
I love using the RIO Indicator Leader for high water. Why? Because it is designed for bobber fishing success. That’s right. Indi Leaders are knotless and sink rapidly. The design is simple. The 2X RIO Indi Leader is 2 foot of butt section raptly tapering to 2X for 8 feet. 10 foot in length. A 10′ leader with 2′ of butt and taper. Sinks quickly. Then when you have an issue, i.e. extra knots?!?!?, you can tie in a piece of 2X without thinking about it. Or getting out your tippet gauge.
You may have to tie on a piece of 3X for your top fly, and 4X for the bottom. But some are using 2X to the top and 3X or 4X for the bottom fly. Keep in mind you gotta have a weak point in your system for breaking off the rig when hung up on a subsurface tree, bush, and the like. I like 4X or 5X on the bottom fly for breaking off the rig without losing everything. Gotta have a breaking point or you will lose the entire rig. And breaking strength of the tippets we use these days is damn strong. So point the rod at the snag and pull. Don’t test the breaking strength of the rod. Broken rods suck!
Ad there you have it. A quick look at how to catch more fish in the higher water here fishing Montana’s Missouri River. How high will the water get? We will look at that tomorrow. Or this week sometime. Keep it tuned in here for the best in Missouri River information.
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