High & Dirty [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: High & Dirty

11-18-2005, 01:24 PM
Used to think I had this one figured out. Heavy tips, big heavy fly run deep, aggressive swing to move water and then hang on for the big hit. Not so sure any more. Right now the Grand is totally blown and won't be much better by Sunday. I'll probably fish off the right bank, standing on dry land, casting to fish that'll be pushed into the slack water near shore. I could fish the slack water with a floater only and a modest fly.

Curious to know how other people handle high and dirty -- or do they stay home with their feet up, beer in hand, watching the game on the tube?

11-18-2005, 01:38 PM
West coast perspective:

Light sinktips in softer water of seams and shore breaks, multi-layered marabous or winter-sized wets in dark or pronounced colors. Let the fly dance a lot longer and play every hangdown for all it's worth. Slot selection was more important than anything else - if you had the fly in a rest stop for the convoy you were doing well.

I've been surprised at the fish I've caught in water I thought was only going to yield casting practice. I don't know that I've ever caught fish any other way in high / dirty conditions.

11-18-2005, 02:05 PM
Thanks Juro

Hadn't thought about working the extended dangle in dirty water as I've always considered pushing water to be of prime importance. Never been a big fan of long dangling moments but a couple of weeks back, I'm talking to another guy upstream of me and my fly had been on the dangle close to a minute when a decent sized fish took it and surprised the hell out of me.

The dangle WILL be worked from now on.

Oh ya, almost forgot -- do you find the fish will to rise a bit or do you hit them on the nose? I do realize that at midday, a fishing looking up sees the world differently than when we look down into the water. The fish will see a dark object silhouetted against the lighter backdrop of the sky even in dirty water.

11-18-2005, 04:50 PM
In dirty water I haven't ever seen them make their move so I really only wish I knew. But fishing light tips to let the fly linger in the soft seams I have to assume the fly will either fall into deeper voids in the changing currents or the fish will move a little to take it (or both).

Bob Pauli
11-18-2005, 05:48 PM
In your situation my best results have been with a Skagit or WC head plus 15-feet of type-3 tip of 129 or 150 grains with 3-feet of leader and an unweighted fly, fished from the farthest out "reasonable" seam to the bank. A modest current will keep the fly above shoreline rocks. This has been very successful in BC high water.

11-18-2005, 06:10 PM
While I haven't kept any records, I'm sure that my hookup rate in dirty water is better than when things are "normal" yet my regular haunts on the Grand have me hexed when blown.

The Grand through this section runs over limestone bedrock rather than gravel/sand/silt so it doesn't have the usual river channel features that other sections/rivers possess. This lack of regular channel features puts the screws to my usual methods. During high and dirty conditions, the bottom features have to be fished from memory, usually resulting in a lot of snags and no fish.

It's a psychological wrench for me to steer away from the successful fishing of the bottom of deep, heavy current channels (in other waters) during "high & dirty", to fishing the soft water margins. I don't have confidence in it. But the bottom features in this stretch don't leave me much in the way of choice.

We'll see how it goes Sunday.