Guiding on public water brings many challenges, among them are crowds, poachers, tubers and, of course, “high-holers.” The key to overcoming these types of challenges associated with pressured water is simple: HAVE NO FEAR.
As an example, I have no fear to go fish a run or riffle after one or several anglers have already been through it. I’m going to play the odds that the previous anglers didn’t have all the pieces of the puzzle put together, and left plenty trout eager to take my rig.
Along the Deckers section of the South Platte, for example, the ‘pressure’ is significant and frequent. The trout are accustomed to all
this “people-activity.” Last summer, I watched a 22″ in brown dodge a flotilla of tubers then slide right back into his feeding position immediately after they had passed. Other anglers may have left the run, assuming the tubers had “blown up” the run. Not true. We dialed in the right rig, and focused on a quality presentation. The trout happily took the fly.
The trout along these pressured rivers have become so accustomed to the presence of people – it doesn’t change their feeding behavior.
During particularly busy days, I will seek out knee high riffle water and sight fish these eager eaters. My rig of choice will be a large rubber legs stone followed by a tan worm with a small emerger pattern that mimics the insect most prevalent that season. Almost always the trout will eat up the stone or worm – its too hard for them to resist, even amid all that “pressure.”
Quality eye wear is the key. Sight fish the riffles looking for flashes or movement and get your flies to them quickly. Fish pressured water with confidence. Have no fear and watch your hook ups increase greatly.