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Mark Stangeland - NUFlyGuide
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Lighter tips in higher water

Posted by Mark Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I recently fished in some very high water and found myself going to lighter tips rather than heavier. Reason being that the normal holding areas of runs I generally fish would require a bike chain to get down in.

Every body thinks you need to get DOWN for winter fish which is true to some extent. It's flow dependent. In lower to medium flows where you can control a deep swing through a run by all means do it. But,some flows will not allow you to get DOWN no matter what you throw. I believe a lot of time is wasted by people casting a line that is not even covering fish for most of the drift. Either too fast a swing, too high in the water column, not covering where the fish is actually holding, or all three.

I started fishing the way inside shallower edges and found lighter was better. No T-14 here. Inside edges and corners are the traveling lanes for these fish.Don't overlook them. A lot of the inside soft dishes can be fished with intermediates, T-3 and T-6 maybe a T-8 here and there.This may be basic to some but I think many people over think, over line(weight wise) and over cast in winter flows.

In  really high water conditions last winter,I hooked three fish in a row in a place that is usually 20 feet inside of where I would normally stand. A little bay that usually has little to no flow. I was fishing a T-3 and unweighted fly and letting it swing all the way to the bank. Let's just say I am a believer in lighter tips after that little session. All three fish were in the space of a two car garage. Laying in tight, in very light flow. Big structure that normally could not be fished due to the lack of water speed became a fish holding magnate. I have made this same discovery on other various pieces of water over the years. Knowing where to fish at all water levels is critical. The fish gotta be somewhere, so pay attention to flows and don't overlook the lighter tip approach.

You don't always need 15 ft of T-14 and a 90 ft cast in the winter. I will be putting this method in to practice this week and I bet it works.

PS I will have some Schwinn bike chain in 8, 10, and 12 feet lengths just in case.....Ha!

1 Responses to Lighter tips in higher water

  1. Anonymous Says:
  2. Interesting reading. This works on our Swedish sea-run Brownies too. In high water conditions I often swing the fly all the way in to the bank and let the fly just hang there for a while. I sometimes get stuck but I also (to my surprise) find plenty of fish in these pockets. Both shallow and deep near-bank water is productive. The key for me has been patience when the fly has swung down.


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