Trout Fishing photo

Tim recently asked for your [high, dirty water tricks](/blogs/fishing/2010/05/romano-tell-me-your-high- dirty-water-tricks). Here is my most desperate measure.


When high waters abound, sometimes you have to take the gloves off and use the ugly bugs — big, gaudy streamers and fuzzy attractor nymphs. But in my book, the deadliest dirty water trout trick is a double nymph rig involving a hot pink San Juan Worm and a nuclear Glo Bug (egg fly). The infamous “spaghetti and meatballs” combo.

Using either one of these so-called “flies” leaves me feeling unclean at the end of the day. Using both on the same rig is downright dirty, almost shameful. That’s not to say, of course, that I won’t do it from time to time. Especially when Mother Nature throws me the high-water curve ball, which she is doing practically everywhere in Colorado right now.

Why does this rig work? First, high water flushes quantities of worms out of the banks and into the river, and the fish delight on these globs of protein washing downstream. Egg flies can produce strikes almost all year, even in months far removed from the spawn. With the scuba gear on, I watched trout gobble egg flies (often passing up other nymph patterns), in gin-clear, low water in the dog days of early August. The second part of the equation is that these patterns are highly visible… and unless you are a total cheater who scents your bugs (even I won’t go there, and I’m pretty shameless), a subtle flash of added visibility can spell the difference between success and failure.

Fish eat in dirty water. The trick is to keep your casts tight to the banks, and look for the slow currents. Don’t try to dredge a raging run… work the subtle seams with a shorter leader. If you swallow your pride, trout will swallow the spaghetti and meatballs. Promise.