Over the last few weeks we here in Michigan have just been getting pounded with rain. That of course means the rivers are high and muddy. But don’t let that stop you from going out there and fishing. The high water is a real blessing cause it groups fish up near shore. Once you understand a few things you should be able to catch fish even when the river is high and muddy.
Part One- Understanding river flow.
When a river becomes swollen with water and the begins to rise the fish begin to move to long current breaks along banks or any long structure like an islands, bridge pilings, or wing dams. Now if there is back water areas around try fishing the opening of those or where the water exits the back water areas. Now one other key point here is the amount of flow. I have found over the years there is a key point where the fish will start to become catchable again. In the early spring time like we have now , and the water temps are in the 50 degree range, the flow I look for is about 3,000 cfs or less on Med size rivers.
For many rivers and streams in this state the USGS has gauge stations on the river that will tell you amount of flow or CFS. CFS stands for Cubic Feet per Second. This is a standard measurement used by the USGS. These gauges can be found online at thier site. You can also set up a text message and e-mail alerts for the stream or streams you want to keep an eye on. I wrote about this service in a past blog. Click Here
Part Two- Lures
When it comes to lures for this kind of fishing I like to fish things that make noise. Baits like lipless crankbaits, or series 200 bandits tend to make up my box for fishing this time of the year.Both of these baits work great in the high flow and they make a bunch of noise for you.
How you fish these baits is pretty straight forward. Let the current make them move for you. What you want to do is cast down stream along the area you want to fish. Then slowly work the bait up that edge, shoreline, etc etc
Think of it has trolling. If I have a wall I am fishing I will walk up it slowly with the bait about 20ft to 30ft behind me.This seems to be the ticket for water that is 3 to 5 ft deep.If your not hitting the bottom let out more line until you are. I reach for Bandit Series 200 for this duty the most.
If I am going to be casting out to large eddy areas I will throw a lipless crankbait. The good old rattle traps works great for me here in this case.When you are fishing the lipless you want to fish it just fast enough that they are not snagging the bottom.
Color wise I like to pick baits that are loud in color or have whites and very dark backs on them. Here is a few that I carry in my box.Hope this helps you make the most out of high and dirty water the fish are there you just got to figure out how to get the baits in front of them. Fishing the edges is a good place to start your search for every fish species not just bass.