Shaking the Runoff Blues
This time of year it’s very easy to let the high and dirty river conditions get you down. However, there is definitely fishing opportunities out there for the can be very effective. Just remember that because of the limited visibility the flies will almost have to hit the fish in the face before they see it, so really work these promising slack water areas. The limited visibility also makes wading a lot more risky of an activity, so be careful and go slow!creative and adaptable angler. Some of the rivers and streams aren’t as high or dirty as others, but nymphing will be the name of the game on just about all the moving water you’ll encounter. If you find a river or stream with half a foot of viz or more then nymphing the back eddies or the insides of protected seams with worms, dark stoneflies, firebeads, etc
If you don’t want to play in the mud or don’t feel comfortable wading in high rivers (I wouldn’t blame you either), then lakes offer an excellent retreat during runoff. I know some people look down on fly fishing lakes and that’s fine, just means more fish for the rest of us! Runoff coincides nicely with prime early lake fishing conditions on many of our local lakes. The ice isn’t long gone, weeds haven’t had enough time to get thick, and the fish are fresh, feisty, and hungry. There’s usually some early Callibaetis on most lakes, so there are some dry fly opportunities on lakes too. This time of the year most of the lake action is subsurface on leeches, chironomids, and Callibeatis nymphs fished on a slow retrieve or under an indicator.
So, what do you do if you don’t like fishing in the mud and lakes aren’t your cup of tea? Well, I’d rather be fishing, but I spend a lot of my free time during runoff tying all the flies I put off tying over the winter. The runoff is definitely a good time to hit the tying bench hard. You’ll also be ready for the fast approaching summer, and all the glorious fishing to come!