HAVE NO FEAR – Pt. 2: Fish Runoff with Confidence


by 5280 Angler guide, Ron Pecore
The “runoff” season on our Front Range waters can bring high water and high anxiety. When the water is rising and turning off-color some anglers abandon their local rivers and head to the high country lakes, where ice has begun to melt, water is clear, and the trout are hungry. This isn’t a bad idea!

However, as a Front Range fly fishing guide I have developed some techniques and a mindset to deal with these ever changing conditions, so that myself and my guests can fish run off with confidence!

Here are a few of my tricks to help avoid runoff jitters while continuing to put trout in the net:

As long as there isn’t an extreme flow or a ridiculous amount of debris in the water, I believe the trout actually enjoy the higher and discolored water. The feel secure to move about the river freely and at this time. So, for we anglers, this means they aren’t as concentrated –  they could be anywhere. If the flows are real strong the trout will be right on the bank edge usually within a few feet. Many times I observe anglers standing where the trout want to be, especially during these higher flows.

My nymph rig set up will be larger flies that the trout can see easily. This high water dislodges all kinds of food and the trout know this and become eating machines. I’ll have a Rubber Legs stone fly on top followed by a tan peg worm and a size 18 PMD emerger or even a second peg worm.
The keys to consistent success is to adjust your weight and indicator till you start hitting trout. I have written previously about my weight adjustment and how I like to separate weight throughout my rig.
I also beef up my tippet because a average trout will feel twice a heavy in the stronger current if he takes you downstream. Try to work him over to your edge and move downstream to net him.

Don’t fear this high water time because the reality is the trout are aggressively feeding and can be found almost anywhere. Get out there and find them!