Catch Trout At High And Low Water

To catch trout during high and low water during the summer, adjust your presentation with two flies.

Samuel A. Minick

High-Water Rig
Often as not, June begins in torrent and ends in drought. Fishing two flies—an old method that has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years—lets you turn fluctuating water levels into an opportunity. The following fly rigs allow you to adjust your presentation to any level.

1. Attach an indicator at the butt of a 3X leader. Tie on a size 8 weighted stonefly nymph [a] to the end of the leader. On the hook bend, tie 2 feet of 4X tippet with an improved clinch knot. At the terminal end, tie on a size 12 Hare's Ear [b] or a size 12 Sparkle Pupa [c]. The leader should be 1 to 2 feet longer than the water is deep, depending on the current speed.
2. Cast upstream and present the nymphs drag-free. When a fish takes, the indicator will twitch, hitch, or sometimes just stop.

Low-Water Rig
1. Begin with a size 12 Elk Hair Caddis [a]. On the hook bend, tie 3 feet of 4X or 5X tippet with an improved clinch knot. At the other end, tie on a size 14 Caddis Pupa [b] or a size 16 or 18

Beadhead Pheasant Tail [c].

2. Cast upstream and present the flies drag-free. Set the hook if the dry fly twitches or disappears.

  1. With both rigs, strikes often come at the end of the drift. Drag causes the dropper to rise, simulating a hatching nymph and triggering a strike. When you're about to give up on the drift, be ready.