Category Archives: Fly Fishing Tips

Water Visibility & Stream Trout Fishing – Part 5

Guest Blogger: Joe Dellaria, Woodbury MN

The bottom line is that water visibility is an important factor dictating where and how aggressively fish will feed. Most of the time under high water visibility conditions, when you can see the bottom of the river clearly, it is unlikely you will catch a fish in that area. While under medium or low visibility conditions the same stretch can be a fish factory. This does not mean you should only fish deep holes. It means different areas of the river will be more productive than others depending on water visibility. Pay attention to different portions of the river and try to fish them when the water visibility is low or medium.

Remember, there is always an exception to every rule in fishing. If an area looks fishy and you can clearly see the bottom go ahead and take a cast or two. If nothing happens move quickly to another spot. Try to focus on shallower (less than two feet of water) fishy looking areas where you cannot see the bottom. Under those conditions it is medium or low water visibility. If you consistently do this, your fishing success rate will increase dramatically. more…

Water Visibility & Stream Trout Fishing – Part 4

Guest Blogger: Joe Dellaria, Woodbury MN

Low Water Visibility Leads to Shallower Holding Areas: In the summer when the water is very clear, the fish will hold in six to eight inches of water just before sun up, at sun down, or during the night. These are medium to low water visibility conditions. There is little or no light so the fish often move into very shallow water where they can feed easily.

Twenty years ago, I was fishing a run that just screamed “big fish!” I fished it all summer long during low light periods at sun up and sun down. No dice. Not a single fish came out of that run. One morning I got up early and arrived before the sun had risen. In fact, there wasn’t even a glow at the horizon. It was pitch dark. My heart was racing partly because it is uncomfortable to fish alone when it is dark and partly in anticipation of a nice fish.

I made a short cast to avoid accidentally hanging up on a tree or overhanging grass. I heard the #4 olive wooly bugger plop as it hit the water. Immediately the line came to a stop. Instinctively I set the hook and the fish ran upstream. I had never felt a fish that heavy before. It just went straight up the stream. A couple of seconds the leader snapped with a crack. I never saw the fish but the memory was well worth getting up early and the long walk through the dark to that run. more…

Water Visibility & Stream Trout Fishing – Part 3

Guest Blogger: Joe Dellaria, Woodbury MN

Let’s look at the three different days described earlier in the series to see how water visibility influenced where the fish were caught. Recall that these three days occurred over three consecutive weeks on the same section of my favorite river while using the same or very similar flies.

Day 1: High Water Visibility (i.e. you can see the bottom clearly in two or more feet of water)

  • Time-first week of March

  • Weather-clear and sunny

  • Water-low and exceptionally clear

The first outing of the year started at midday and the water was clear. I could see the bottom in about four feet of water. I caught 13 fish. Ten took the #16 bead-head nymph. Three fish were caught on the larger mini-streamer. Fish were basically in their typical holding areas. Since it was a sunny day and the water was very clear, the fish were holding against obstructions in two to three feet of water. Some of the fish came in shallower water in riffles where the surface disturbances caused by the current and the rocks in the riffle decreased water visibility. The takes showed as subtle pauses on the strike indicator. more…