Fly Fishing in High Muddy Water

  1. The first rule is figuring out where the trout are. Remember that trout want out of that hard flow of water as much as you do. They often times float out to the edges of the river or lay behind any object that can provide a break in the current. The other place they often head is to the very bottom of the river where the current is slower.
  2. The second rule is that you have to get your fly to the trout. The water flow has dramatically increased, it is moving much faster than normal. If you are still fishing the #14 BH you were a week ago, when the water was low, you might as well be fishing a dry fly the fish cannot find nor can it catch in the faster water. Large heavily weighted flies are the rule for muddy water. Streamers like the Bunny Leech, Double Bunny, or large Wooly Buggers, often weighted with large dumbbell eyes to hold them down on the bottom, are my first pick. Large nymphs like a Bitch Creek nymph or a Yuk Bug or Big Nasty all with full shanks of .040 lead wire or heavier depending on the flow will also produce fish. Muddy water flies generally range from a size 2-6. Your flies need to incorporate a lot of rubber legs or marabou or bunny fur. All of these products have a lot of motion to help trout find them in the muddy water, remember they cannot see as good in the dark water so the fly needs to be “in their face” and look tasty.
  3. The third rule is to not fish light tippet and risk a broken heart. I have seen a lot hearts broken because the angler was fishing 6x tippet in muddy water. Remember the fish cannot see 1/3 as good as normal, this allows you to fish very heavy tippet. Typically, you should fish 0x-2x tippet in muddy water, remember he cannot see it so put the odds in your favor and prevent a lost fish.
  4. The last rule is to be persistent. Remember he cannot see as well as normal, so it will take a few extra casts to those likely spots for him to find your fly. So slow down, and really fish any spot where a trout can get a little break form the current.

Hopefully these tips will help you out the next time you arrive to find you favorite spot high and muddy.

Good Fishing
Kevin Howell
Owner and Guide
Davidson River Outfitters