5 Tips to Successfully Fishing High & Dirty Water – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
Close x

Category_News & Updates -

5 Tips to Successfully Fishing High & Dirty Water

Gallatin River


If you’ve been out fishing around Bozeman lately you know that most of the rivers are on the rise and have a little color to them. Some have even blown out and come back a few times. Although this may only be the beginning of high and dirty water, not all hope is lost. Historically we get a couple waves of this pre-runoff before things get real ugly. Runoff is coming though, and to prepare you here are 5 tips to help you successfully fish high and dirty water.

Fish Slow Water

– Fish don’t want to fight a raging current. The slower the current to better the chance there are fish taking refuge there. Ideally you want to find slow water with some depth, but in muddy water fish don’t have a problem holding in any tight or shallow pocket along the bank that offers some relief from the fast current.

Use Contrasting Flies

– Fish still have to eat, even when things get dirty. In fact, fish are usually less pick about fly selection in dirty water. So, selecting a fly that is more visible to the fish will improve your chances. Common dirty water colors like yellow, red, or firebead flies, as well as the flashy or shiny ones, are all good choices and work well in off-color water. Don’t overlook the dark colors though that also contrast and show up well in off-color water. Also try some bigger flies.

Be Persistent

– Even if you have found a good fish holding location, the fish still have to see your bugs in order to eat them. This usually means getting the fly a few inches away from the fish’s face. This in turn this means making more casts into the same run than you normally would. Keep at it!

Use Weight

– Fish will be holding near the bottom, which means throwing lots of weight. Don’t be scared to add two or three BB’s in high water conditions.

Think Out of the Box

– Perhaps the best advice to successfully fishing in less than ideal conditions. Think of anything you can turn to your advantage. For instance, where do the tributaries dump in and which may be running clean already?

Keep in mind, that catching fish in our Bozeman area rivers during runoff is not impossible. You just need a little luck and determination. Everything an angler needs to catch fish in dirty water can be found in our Bozeman fly shop. So stop bye to pick our brain about fly fishing these next few weeks and pick up last minute flies and supplies!

Dirty Gallatin River