Tips From The Guide Shack ft. Mike Price
Fishing in low/pressured waters can be a challenge for any angler, but with the right approach and strategy you can put more fish in the net on your next outing. I am one to admit that I myself sometimes get over-excited and see a fishy spot on the river and start pulling line off the reel before I even stop and think if maybe I should have fished this water right here in front of me before I rushed in and got at it. In low, clear water, trout are very aware of their surroundings and any sudden movements could be perceived as a potential predator. I first learned the value of a stealthy approach years ago on the popular Deckers stretch of the South Platte River. Like everyone, when I first started fly fishing and didn’t know much other than I had some good flies tied on and was fishing what appeared to be the right water. That said, I was still struggling to get many fish to eat. I decided to start working my way down river to a new spot (also a big no no in many situations) but happened to lift my rod and nymph rig over a high bush along the bank and when i got back into position to start casting I had a nice 15” Rainbow hooked on a red San juan worm! The bankside bushes had concealed my presence (and an inadvertant drift) to a holding fish that was not spooked by my movements. Now I will say that if you happen upon some obvious, feeding fish then sometimes you can get away with being a bit less “stealthy” because the trout are so focused on eating that they are less aware of movement around them. While I wish this was always the norm, it's simply not the case. When fish are not in a heavy feeding rhythm you can easily put them down by making a sloppy cast, moving too fast, or making too much noise wading around in the river. In summary, when fishing in pressured water or low/clear conditions always get into as much 'stealth mode' as possible when approaching a likely looking area. Use streamside bushes and structure to hide behind and walk as softly as you can whether in or out of the water. I also like using a clear or white indicator with a long leader and fluorocarbon tippet. Get into 'stealth mode' the next time you hit the water and I promise you'll start seeing better results!