Fly fishing In the Rain Some Tips for River or Lake Fishing


Fly fishing In the Rain Some Tips for River or Lake Fishing

If you are like most people you only have a very limited time to fish, such as weekends or holidays. Then fishing in bad weather and the rain is sometimes unavoidable if you want to go fishing.

Personally, I like to fly fish in the rain and I have had some great days on the water. Understanding how the rain is going to affect the fish and your flies will make all the difference in the world.

While the wet conditions can be a bit of a downer on your spirit, the fishing can also be as good as it gets.

If you are thinking that going fishing in the rain could be a possibility. Then you need to think about what is going to be your approach about it. Do you fish when there is a chance of rain, do you fish after the rain has passed or do you head out during the torrential downpour?

Woman Fly Fishing
Woman Fly Fishing

This is for Stream and River Fishing:

Types of Rain:

Sprinkle or Drizzle:

This, type of rain is when the moisture is light and/ or intermittent. Stick with your, normal techniques and patterns. These light rain periods will not change the behavior of fish, their feeding habits, or hatches.

Steady Rain:

Is a type of rain that when showers have been continuous (for greater than 1 hour). You should be able to still fish the river but will have to change how you are fishing.

This is because the water levels will start to rise and the color will slowly be getting muddier. Fish will usually still be hanging around cover (rocks and logs) and will start to lose their desire to rise for dry flies.

Downpour:

This type of rain is characterized by heavy downfall rain conditions that will flood/ muddy the river.

Fishing in these conditions changes as ongoing dry fly fishing will slow as food items are being washed into the river and pulled below by the currents.

Nymphs and worm patterns will produce well while heavy rains are raising the water, and streamers will produce as the clarity decreases.

Warning: Please remember if there is lightning anywhere near where you’re fishing, do the smart thing and get out of the water!
Waving your 9-foot graphite rod is one of the worst things you can do in an electrical storm. It is like waving a lightning rod around. The fish will still be there when the storm is over then you can catch the fish.

Lightning Striking
Lightning Striking Don’t be on the water

When the Rain Starts:

If you are heading out fishing before the rain hits it can be very productive. The period before the rain hits is usually great for all types of fly fishing. Even after the rain first starts you are still able to fish all the different types of flies from dries to nymphs.

To me, it seems like that in the first hour or so of the rainfall (if it is not too heavy), fish really key in on the surface.

Hoppers, beetles, worms, and ants get swept from the banks, making easy meals for marauding trout. Since these land-loving bugs come in many shapes, sizes, and colors.

By keeping a good supply of terrestrials on hand should keep you prepared for anything you might encounter. In the first few hours of rain don’t be afraid of fishing on the surface; hatches will still go, and fish should lie in traditional stream reach areas.

As Rain Continues Switch Fishing Techniques:

As the rain wears on and the water level either begins to rise or becomes partly stained, then switching techniques becomes important. Fish will slowly move from feeding on the surface to feeding on the bottom.

I like using nymphs with flashy bead head patterns during this transition. Whether it is the shiny bead head or the hot colors added to nymph patterns. It seems like these nymph patterns really get the trout’s attention.

Fish these flies with a high stick technique, getting as much line off the water as possible so that your flies can dead drift downstream.

After Rain Ends Change Fishing Techniques Again:

Once the downpour has ended and the river is swollen and discolored, once again you should switch flies and techniques.

This transition is best suited for big, dark-colored aggressive streamer patterns. Not only do you want to pick a pattern that will stand out in the water black or dark brown patterns.

These produce a great silhouette in stained water you want a fly that will disrupt the water letting fish know it is there.
Bead head bunny leeches or bead head wooly buggers they are a time-tested favorite in these conditions because of their size, weight, and action on the water.

Fishing from a boat
Fishing from a boat

Lake or Reservoir Fishing in the Rain:


We have fished many rainy days on some lakes and different reservoirs and the results have been awesome. There are many times that when it starts to rain the fish will raise more to the surface.

When we are fishing from our float tubes it makes it easier to fish for them when it is lightly raining. Sometimes the falling rain will knock flying insects into the water and the fish will rise to feed on them.

We have been fishing Henry’s Lake in Idaho and, a storm front rolls in. Then the wind and the rain stir up the insects from the weed beds.

When this happens, if you don’t mind the waves going over your back in the float tube. You need to be prepared for some of the best fishing you will ever see.

The only problem is you have to paddle hard with your feet just to stay in the same place. If the wind is going in the right direction you can just wind drift. If it is not and you have to go to shore then you really have to paddle hard just to reach the shore.

When I am fishing from my boat it makes it easier when it storms because I have a motor to help me out.

I can also just drop my anchor and stay in the same place and continue fishing. We can also just wind drift and usually catch lots of fish this way.

Storm Fronts:

Henry’s Lake is well known for its storm fronts we were fishing one day and a storm front rolled in and I could see a wall coming at me.

Believe me, I started to paddle to shore as I was in my float tube.
Before I could reach the shore the wall hit and it was dime sized hail pounding me.

It took maybe five minutes or so and it had hailed so much the water was white just like it had snowed two inches on the ground.

Remember:


Warning: Please remember if there is lightning anywhere near where you’re fishing, do the smart thing and get out of the water!
Waving your 9-foot graphite rod is one of the worst things you can do in an electrical storm. It is like waving a lightning rod around. The fish will still be there when the storm is over then you can catch the fish.

Successful Rainy Lake Fishing:

Rainy weather can also create some desirable conditions for lake fishing. Many species of fish are more active under dark conditions than in bright sunlight. Particularly in clear water lakes.

Often, during hot summer months, the amount of dissolved oxygen in a lake becomes low, making fish inactive. Rain will aerate the surface water and often has a cooling effect, both of which can activate fish. Disturbing the surface of a lake also impairs the ability of a fish to see you.

Fish Smart

We certainly don’t advocate fishing in a thunder and lightning storm, but the next time you, see a steady rain, dress for it, turn on your enthusiasm and go after them. You’ll be glad that you did as the fishing can be very good.

The rain does not always have to ruin your fishing plans if you understand how it can affect the fish you are targeting. Get yourself some good rain gear and enjoy a day on your favorite, river, stream, lake, or reservoir.

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