June has arrived and with it, the high muddy water that fly-fisherman dread. This is typically a time where anglers put their rods away and turn to the vice to restock fly boxes for the coming months. Muddy water tends to scare the average fly-fisherman into thinking "If I can't see the bottom I can't fish!". WRONG! Just because the water is murky doesn't mean the fish have stopped feeding. High muddy water can be an excellent chance for the ambitious angler to avoid the crowds while sticking fish. Before you go out there and lob your bobber there are a few tactics to high water fishing that you should know prior to hitting the river.
1. Understand where the fish are.
During runoff, the water has risen quite a lot and the flows become more and more aggressive. This forces fish to move out of the main current of the river and stick to softer water near the banks and behind obstructions. Doing this allows fish to conserve energy while still eating bugs moving down the water column. We recommend fishing between ten and three feet from the bank. This will give you the best chance of hooking into fish.
2. What are they eating?
The month of June is pretty straightforward when it comes to fly patterns and fishing these patterns. The rising water plays a huge part in this by dislodging large amounts of bug life from the bottom of the river, this in turn makes the fish more active and aware of bug life. The main hatches of June are small caddis hatches in the evenings and more importantly the arrival of Salmon Flies! The closer we get to the salmon fly hatch the more keen fish will be on targeting large stonefly variations and very large salmonfly nymphs. The days leading up to the hatch can be some of the more productive days to nymph in June. Fish are still keying on small mayfly patterns and caddis pupa as well. We recommend you fish these patterns: #4 #6 Black, Brown Pats Rubberleg, #4 Mega Prince, #4 #6 Tan, Brown Zirdle Bug, #10 San Juan Worm, #16 #14 Hares Ear, #16 midges.
3. Salmon Flies!
Salmon Flies are almost here! That means we get to throw enormous bugs at hungry trout. This is an especially exciting time of year for all anglers in the Madison Valley. If you are lucky enough to have caught the hatch perfectly then you know it's importance. Massive bugs move up the rocks near the banks of the river to hatch and shed their exoskin. Big bugs moving through the water column leads to lots of hungry fish.
If you are patient and persistent than fishing in June can lead to plenty of fish and big fish. Use big bugs, remember that in high muddy water fish aren't looking for flashy bugs as much as big bugs. Fish flies that match color and profile and you will surely have a good time.