40- Top Tips - High Water Flies - Terrestrials

Chub and High Water Terrestrials

Staying local this summer and enjoying all that the UK has to offer? Then dont forget to pack the rod you never know when you might come across a stretch of water that is ready for a cast and there are many species of fish that provide great sport. From Chub to Perch there is always something to target when out. Unpredictable weather can also be something to deal with and the water might not be what you expect. 

We have all been there. The day trip has been planned, the troops have been rallied and you and your friends are all ready to go. You make it to the river and what you see does not fill you with confidence. The water is high, murky and fast flowing. As with any well laid plan changes must be embraced and what better time to try some new flies and different tactics.

High Water Muddy Tactics

The water is fast flowing and dark but don't be put off there are fish in there. You might be tempted to go for the sinking flies and plough the deeper faster moving water. Why not try the something else - floating buggy flies right in close.

Cover all the spots available. Get your fly into all those areas where the fish might be. Accuracy will be important. Try the slower moving water where fish might be lying in wait for bugs floating down in the faster water. Little bays and cut outs in the riverbank provide slower water where fish might lurk. Vegetation such as reeds and weeds not only provide a break against fast moving water for the fish to hover in but also cover for the fish to hide in.

Don't forget in close. We sometimes focus on those areas where we make a great effort to cast to forgetting that the fish may well be right in front of us literally at our feet on the near side bank. A slow nymph style technique will soon find any fish hovering near your feet.

Try planting your fly close into the bank to lure the hiding fish into a take. In a strong current the fish will avoid the strong current and seek the shelter provided in the bank. A fish in hiding will soon take a fly as it drops into the water so no need to let your line travel right down the river with the current. Cast out and allow the fly to travel a little and then reposition your fly.

With a fast flowing river drag will be an issue. On a cast to the far bank, the fly line will get taken by the faster current in the middle. Mends can help, but another good solution is to throw a bit more slack or a bit of an “s” shape into your cast. This way, you can buy yourself that extra second or two of decent presentation, before the fly drags unnaturally.

If on a narrow stream no need to have reems of line on the bank - keep it short and work out the length of line you need to reach the opposite bank. This not only avoids tangles at your feet in the bushes and overgrowth but also avoids snags in trees if fishing in closed in spaces! The other advantage of getting the right amount of line out is that it helps you to cast right in the spots you want.

With reduced visibility in murky water, you will have to drop the fly very close to the fish for them to take a look. A splash or disturbance on landing will also help trigger a take so be ready for a quick strike.

Chub Flies

Chub are a common species that eats a wide variety of insect life and grows to a good size. Chub is a fantastic fish to catch on the fly and although are not dramatic fighters provide a good run. Any time during the coarse fishing season on rivers (16th June to 15 March) is worth a go, with dry flies fun in the summer and streamers and nymphs in the winter. 

Fishing terrestrials in high water means you will want a fly that lands with a splash and floats well. Legs and shaggy bodies add great movements to flies and create a good disturbance in the water.

During the summer terrestrials are a must have pattern to try.

Muddy Water flies  (L to R): Black Woolly Bugger, Kicking Hopper, Jasper, Death Wish Ant

Go to Chub flies would range in sizes 6-10 and with a darker faster flowing water something that is visible and provides a good splash will help make up for the lack of visibility in the water.

Don't be afraid to change up the flies quite regularly at the start of the fishing to get an idea of what is working. With a few of you in a group working the water you will soon find out who has chosen the right fly as they begin to land fish when you are not!

Find any bushy cover and breeze and there will be casualties as bugs are blown off into the water! Naturally, savvy fly anglers have been copying these creatures for generations and patterns such as the Coch-y-Bonddu still catch their share of fish today. However, modern flies can also be deadly, making maximum use of materials like foam bodies and artificial legs to add even more attraction.

In murkier conditions your tackle may be more forgiving with up to 5lb lines. Larger leaders and tippet will be hidden in the darker conditions and in fast flowing water where you may be working closer to the banks will help with the possible debris your lines may run across.


 Some must have Flies

Death Wish Ant Hi Vis Beetle  Hi Vis Ant  Red Legged Hopper  Kicking Beetle