High Water Flies for Spring

28 Feb

So we just got the big storm here in Ottawa, ON. I am guessing about a foot of snow fell everywhere. It is a good thing too.

After last years drought the watersheds are looking for a big drink this spring. While it won’t be enough to get us through the summer, it will be a good start.

In comparison with last year, however, it will make for tougher fishing in April. High water can be the most frustrating type of water for me. I will see fish rising, or moving around the surface but have difficulty getting them to eat.

bugger marabou clousers

Some big buggers and marabou clousers, perfect for high water conditions

I like to use big oversized dark coloured flies in these conditions. Size 4-8 buggers, size 8-12 beadheads or hot spot czech nymphs with a dark silhouette are my go to flies. For some variations, I will tie my buggers with flash and schlappen hackle, or add a soft hackle to the czech nymphs to increase the vibrations in the water. It’s possible the fish can detect these vibrations with their lateral line. Matt Grobert utilizes this theory in his Monster Bugger. I should really tie some of those.

If you are going to fish the fast water of spring, be careful. Lots can change in a river over the winter.  Pools can get deeper, and banks can become dangerously undercut. Just take your time, tie on something big and dark and find some hungry fish.

What are your favorite high water flies?

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