When the high country begins to experience warmer temperatures, the mountainous areas of produce runoff from the snowmelt.  Increased water production from snowmelt will cause swollen high flow rivers with heavy sediment loads, causing diminished water clarity, and higher river bottom sediment churning into muddy waters.  While these conditions may not seem optimal for fly fishing for most, it also can be an opportunity to catch some trophy fish.

Search for lagging seams close to the edges of the banks as fish will cling around the inside bends and on gentler banks.  Fish will seek places where food would naturally settle into eddies behind boulders, behind newly down trees and other submerged structures, or a section of slack water where bugs and other food sources will sift.  Pursue lengths of choppy shallow water that are superseded by pots or pools of deep water where the fish will congregate.  These are all secure shelters trout will search out for refuge during high water.  These sections will give the trout to reserve energy by remaining out of the main current and to nourish on the large influx of food sources from the heightened flows and rising water.  Many aquatic insects get flushed off the belly of the river, while others emerge from the freshly engulfed river banks.

During runoff, rising water may create new variations to explore.  High water levels often will expose and conceive new holding buckets for fish.  Semi-submerged trees and freshly flooded rocks may move fish into new slack water areas as well as at the back of newly submerged or relocated structures.  For the fly angler, muddy water can still offer great fortuitousness fishing expeditions.



About Cat Toy - Mcfly Brand Shaman, Colorado USA

Cat grew up in Mammoth Lakes, California, next to the wild trout creeks and streams in a quaint ski resort town nestled in the magnificent Southern Sierra Nevada mountain range.  She learned to ski at an early age of 3 from her grandparents.  Her grandfather would take her and her younger brother fishing to the high alpine lakes and mountain streams.  They hiked the spectacular glacier carved mountains blanketed with vibrant wildflowers, tall majestic Jeffery and Bristlecone pines, and deep earthquake faults.

Her family moved to Reno, Nevada for new prospects to explore and college education opportunities.  As a young adult, she enjoyed several seasons as a ski instructor at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe.  Shortly thereafter, she took an interest and became a certified Emergency Medical Technician.

The gates dropped and the rumble of 20+ guys racing motocross dirt bikes exploded from the starting line, including Cat. Not just a recreational racer, Cat pursued points in the annual MX West State Championship motocross racing series in Northern Nevada. Cat knows racing motocross to be most adrenaline pumping perfect storm of both physical and mental concentration which is an absolute requirement for the most severe sport on earth.  Her swift progression in the male dominant sport kept her competitive for 10 years with multiple trophies and numerous corporate racing sponsors.

As an emergency medical technician, the aspiration to go further in the healthcare field led her into the journey of further studies where she graduated with a minor in Psychology and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2007.  Racing motocross, she said, kept her sane in surviving nursing school.

Cat’s nursing career started in Colorado with experience in psychiatric nursing, post surgical rehabilitation, and as a nursing educator.  In addition to channeling her medical expertise, she is also a ski patroller at the pinnacle summit of the Rocky Mountains gracing the slopes of Loveland Ski Area. Like racing motocross, ski patrolling is physically demanding, requires an aptitude of awareness, discipline, and superior public relation skills.

The opportunity to experience fly fishing occurred recently when she was merely handed a rod and reel and left to discern on her own. Cat used her past experiences of life skills to perfect the techniques that are necessary to be a successful fly angler, and her progression rate soared. Experienced fishing buddies, professional guides, and friends were stunned at Cat's expeditious passion to own the skills.  As a disciplined fly angler, she changed her approach by analyzing the intricate facets of fly fishing from spontaneous hatches to the most technical presentations required among the ever changing drifts of a trout stream.

Fly fishing can take Cat to some of the most ruggedly beautiful, breathtaking canyons found in Colorado.  The near future will unfold as there will be more to come with fly fishing for Cat.  There is so much to share, enjoy, and to treasure.

On tail water rivers that have a considerable amount of living matter in them, rising water can really churn up a lot of fish grub such as scuds and sowbugs.  The fish will gorge themselves silly on the abundance of bugs from the high water.  Amid these times of runoff, fish are still actively feasting.  So don't let the murky water detour the desire to fish.

Low visibility means usage of a heavier leader and tippet is welcomed, just remember that a heftier leader means your flies will sink slower.  Usage of regular monofilament is an option and the occasion to save on expensive fluorocarbon during these muddy conditions.  Fish are less inclined to spook due to the poor visibility high water and rapid water flow.  There are certainly opportunities that allow the ability to get fairly close to the fish near the banks.

I generally fish smaller flies and diminutive nymph patterns, but fly fishing in murky water with lesser transparency allows the angler to fish much larger flies.  Bring weighted flies such Stonefly nymphs, Woolly Buggers, light and dark colored streamers, worms, egg patterns, leeches, to name a few.  Bring an abundance of splitshots to deliver flies hastily towards the bottom to procure that effective drift presentation.  Dry flies are still on the radar, so be prepared for rising insatiable fish.

Safety is the ultimate priority when fishing during runoff.  With high water, it is not necessary to wade.  Obviously with wading, do use great caution with each step and foot positioning.  A wading staff is a must, wear a wader belt, and even wearing a PFD while fishing with your buddies is a smart option.  Always inform another of your whereabouts if you are fishing alone.

Runoff does offer alternative fishing adventures to the angler with great opportunities to catch some impressive, outstanding fish.  Be cautious out there, and see you on the river!