High water levels make for challenging fishing | SierraSun.com

High water levels make for challenging fishing

Bruce Ajari

Things are beginning to calm down a bit, but it has been a pretty tough stretch for most anglers due to the high water levels that we have been experiencing this early season.

The snow over Memorial Day weekend even got our attention and added to the run-off in a very small way.

While doing a little lake fishing that weekend I was struck by a couple of things. First, the water levels were about as high as I had seen them in quite some time. Second, the area meadows and hillsides were all so lush and green.

I saw water everywhere, and where there were springs, it seemed as though they were bubbling up to the surface. All this water does a number of things that put fishing off.

First, just the shear volume of water allows the fish to be spread over a much wider area. This makes it hard for the angler to find a concentration of fish.

The water is also colder due to the amount of snow and the volume of run-off still feeding into the lakes. Colder water generally means less active fish. Thus the angler does not get as many opportunities to find feeding fish.

There also is a lot of food being washed into the lakes due to the heavy flows from the creeks. More food means that the fish all are more likely to refuse anglers’ offerings.

My own recent experience and those of many pretty good anglers would confirm just how tough the conditions are at the moment. Fishing for an entire day only yielded me two fish during a recent outing.

There was little evidence of a major hatch occurring. I did see some midge activity and a few fish would occasionally take something from the surface.

Covering a lot of water is the only way to be successful when water conditions such as these are present. My fishing partner and I covered quite a bit of ground in our tubes.

Also, target the highest probable areas where fish may be feeding. During such periods inlets will wash a lot of food into lakes. As a result, fish can usually be found nearby these locations.

Be observant and you may find fish feeding in certain locations within the lake, even in open water. Such was the case when we were fishing. There were some fish sporadically feeding in open water on hatching midges. Another angler told us that he had seen fish rising freely for quite some time in another part of the lake in open water, as well. Coming upon some real active fish such as this would have increased our odds of catching fish!

Unfortunately, we did not have the other ingredient you need to catch fish. This is called the luck component. Some may say that we had plenty of luck; it was just bad.

It is always a great day on the water whether you catch fish or not. There is always plenty to see such as the deer and birds of different varieties. My favorite sight that I never tire of seeing are Ospreys at work. Watching them hover over the water until they see a fish and then watching them crash into the water to capture it is something I thoroughly enjoy.

Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.