Wildwood Outfitters Blog and Fishing Report
Water Woes Part 1: Low & Clear
Low and clear water is the prevailing stream condition for much of the year, especially from June until October. Wary trout and steelhead make for a tough challenge, but that doesn't mean you should pack it up and wait for another day! Much like other water conditions to be discussed later in this series, low and clear can afford the angler many an opportunity to best our finned quarry!
There are few things better than seeing a fish before it sees you, then catching it. That isn't to say blind casting to fish isn't fun or rewarding, but seeing the fish first adds another element to the game. When water is lower and/or clearer than you'd want, sight fishing becomes the name of the game. This is especially true for steelhead, particularly early in the season. Once fish have been located, stop and take in the surroundings. Skinny water does a terrible job of masking any sort of mistakes or casting deficiencies we might have, so make every drift count! Look at which way the fish is facing, which way the currents are swirling, and what obstacles might impede a cast. After that, get your body into an appropriate casting position and send one out there! Those extra seconds of consideration and planning can pay huge dividends in terms of fish caught.
A key element to success in these water conditions is moving slow. It's very easy to start walking on a stream and before you know it you're watching fish scatter before you. The sight fishing method sounds good, but making it work requires a slower pace than usual. Take a few steps and then stop to observe. It's amazing how fish will reveal themselves after an extra moment peering into a pool or run. The better the spot, the slower an angler should walk. When water is low and clear stealth becomes paramount, and all that starts with a methodical and careful approach to prospective spots!
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