So most of our rivers got big late last week and while most have returned to fishable levels, they may not fish the same as they did pre flood.
This is normal following a big fresh, so here’s a fast five to keep your rod bent following a good flush out...
1. Give them what they are feeding on.
Following a big fresh many mature mayfly get washed out. The remaining nymphs are often tiny juveniles which survived, secreted in the tightest of cracks and crevasses. Accordingly these mayfly are small and so 18’s and even 20’s become effective, as this is the size / prey image fish now look to. However Caddis are much more resilient post flood and so I look toward larger free living and horn cased caddis as my after-flood staples. Larger stonefly nymphs too will usually get a look and with temperatures again on the rise don’t forget those willow grubbers. Grubs will become a much sought after food source in the coming weeks.
2. Look for stability.
Focus on Backwaters, wider areas of river channel where the water won’t have torn through, and inside bends where the force of the current will have missed. Look for stability and darker, algae covered rocks... this is where the food will be.
3. Fish cover.
Trout will often feed closer to cover without an abundance of food to pull them into the open. Look along the drop offs, willow lines and cut banks and don’t neglect the faster water.
4. Hit it quick.
With flooding comes debris and fish will often sample a number of things, twigs, leaves and gravel included. With the abundance of debris in the drift now, trout will develop a very quick ejection reflex on anything they find isn’t legit. Notice an abundance of super-fast ejections on your nymph this past week? Fish eating and dropping your fly super-fast? You need to set faster. Control your drift, recover slack line and consider a fast, low side set.
5. Make the most of feeding activity.
With less food on offer fish will only feed when it is worth their while. This may be a few brief periods when the invertebrate drift is heavy, or mid-morning when the willow grub really get going. This probably won’t last for long so you need to make the most of any activity you find. If the fish are feeding and you’re tangled you are fluffing around trying to make the cast then you need to get with it - you may just miss the best shot of the day.