One of the biggest challenges that springtime trout fishermen face are high and muddy water conditions in the rivers and streams that they fish. I know this because I have been fishing for trout, primarily in rivers, for almost 30 years and experience this problem first hand every single year. The winter finally breaks, the weather begins to warm up, and I start to ache for being on the river like an alcoholic aches for a beer after a twelve hour shift on the factory floor. Then I get down to my favorite trout river, only to discover that the river is running high and muddy, which can make catching trout a challenge to say the least.
In my three or so decades of trout fishing I have learned some simple tricks that can make your springtime trout fishing excursions more successful than they have probably been in the past. Below I will outline a few of these tricks so that you can use them to your advantage the next time that you hit the water in search of a few trout.
Let’s start with when you are fishing. Many anglers aren’t aware of the fact that trout are more or less active depending on factors such as the weather and moon. These two events, both of which are beyond or control as anglers, have a tremendous impact in whether or not the trout that we are fishing for are going to be actively feeding. And, as you can imagine (or already know), when trout are active, they are much more likely to be feeding.
Which is why is always a good idea, especially when the rivers are flowing high and muddy and trout are much more difficult to catch, that you do your best to be on the water when the weather, the moon, or both of these things are in your favor as an angler. A little research about the weather, the moon, and their relation to fishing will go a long way towards you being on the water at the most opportune times.
Your technique usually needs to be altered a bit during high and muddy river conditions. Just remember, the trout have a harder time locating food when their vision and sense of smell in compromised due to water conditions, so therefore techniques that are employed need to take these conditions into account. For example, during what we would all consider “normal” trout fishing conditions, I prefer to “drift fish”, often with live bait. Well, when the river is high and muddy, this technique is much less effective, therefore I like to switch it up a bit.
I find that during these times, baits that make a lot of noise, are very effective and are a great way to catch trout. Baits like rattling crank baits (the ones that are often used for bass fishing) are very effective when the rivers are high and muddy, and I have found that ravenous trout will often attack such baits with nothing short of reckless abandon. The underwater commotion that these types of baits make, enable hungry trout to ‘key’ in on them easily when they would otherwise have a difficult time.
So, if the rivers are high and muddy, don’t think that fishing for trout is out of the question. Employ these simple tricks and you will be able to catch trout even when the river conditions are less that ideal.