FLASH and TRASH!!! by Montana Grant
By angelamontana

Posted: May 19, 2024

High water is a reality of the seasonal runoff in Montana’s rivers. The melted snow must go somewhere. The result is high, cold, and often off-color water.

This change in Montana waters does not mean that you need to stop fishing. You just need to change tactics. Fish will be easier and more concentrated. 


Fish where the fish are.   High water compacts where the fish can stack up, out of the main current. They are often at tail outs or closer to the bank. 

Flashy and bigger flies will get noticed.   Seeing the fly is believing. If the fish can’t see the fly, you are wasting their time. The fish must eat, and they eat what they can see. 

A big rod helps.   Murky water means that you can use heavier lines and tippets. The heavy current needs a beefier rod and reel. Bigger fish are more willing to bite in high water conditions with cloudy/muddy water. 

Take the big net.   Big fish need a big net. The net is also useful to support the angler when navigating higher water conditions. 

Wear cleats for traction.   Action traction on your boots will keep you upright and dry. Off color water means lousy visibility. 

Big nymphs and crayfish    High, murky water hides small tidbits of fish food. Now is when you serve the whole sandwich, not just a nibble. 

Weights please     the fish are often on the bottom in high water conditions. To get the lure/fly into the right depth, use some split shot, weighted lines, or weighted lures/flies. Otherwise, the bait will be too shallow, and too fast.

The water may be high, cold, and muddy, but the water will be less crowded and can be more productive. 

Catch a Big One!

Montana Grant 

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