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MikeT

Spate river fishing

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With all this rain recently, I've had to abort two fishing trips to the Dorset Stour and Frome because they were flooding.

 

I have read Chris Yates' book The Deepening Pool , in which he talks about fishing the Avon in flood, so I guess it is possible for a master angler. Looking at the rivers recently, I couldn't imagine finding a fish- never mind knowing how to catch it.

 

With more rain forcast this week, I am beginning to feel like the river will never become fishable again.

 

Can you actually fish a river which is almost overflowing its' banks?

 

If so, how?

 

Cheers!

 

Mike.


What's interesting is that, though anglers are rarely surprised by a totally grim day, we nearly always maintain our optimism. We understand pessimism because our dreams are sometimes dented by the blows of fate, but always our hope returns, like a primrose after a hard winter. ~ C. Yates.

 

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Mr Crabtree managed to find an eddy and had a nice mixed bag by rolling a drilled bullet round it, using lobtail as bait, IIRC. :)

 

In practice, these eddies are often so full of debris that you catch a lot more bits of tree than fish.

 

Why not just have a change and fish a stillwater instead?

 

If you absolutely must fish a flooded river, it's probably better to look for any obstruction (like a fallen tree) that breaks the flow a bit and fish just downstream of that, rather than looking for an eddy.

 

I've also heard of reasonable catches being made when rivers have burst their banks and anglers have fished over what are usually fields (never tried it myself, though).

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Mike

 

The secret of flood fishing is knowing the stretch in normal conditions. You`ve got to know what you`re fishing over. Otherwise it could well mean you`re dropping your bait right into a bush!

 

Personally I don`t look for eddies, the flow rates keep changing and while there are definitely fish in them I find they are very awkward to tackle. I`m looking for water thats slowed down by bushes or a bankside feature that cuts the flow away from the bank.

 

At this time of year I`m hoping for extra water in the Severn, one stretch we fish only really comes into its own when there six foot plus on the river.

 

When its bank high and really chugging through its still possible to catch but again you`ve really got to know the stretch well. If you can identify a few swims that are fishable then good catches are on the cards as you`ll have a captive audience so to speak. In time you`ll come to know a certain stretch and by staying mobile and giving each spot twenty minutes or so you`ll be surprised just how many fish its possible to catch.


wolf.gif

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Massive thanks, Severn Wolf.

 

The secret of flood fishing is knowing the stretch in normal conditions. You`ve got to know what you`re fishing over. Otherwise it could well mean you`re dropping your bait right into a bush!... I`m looking for water thats slowed down by bushes or a bankside feature that cuts the flow away from the bank.

If you can identify a few swims that are fishable then good catches are on the cards as you`ll have a captive audience so to speak.

 

I have only ever fished these rivers in their 'normal', non-spate form. Although I know the banks fairly well, the whole river looks totally different when in spate (fully five feet overdepth). It is hard to imagine fish lurking around behind bushes that would normally give me shade from the sun!

 

Apart from knowing where the newly-submerged bushes are, what other features can tell me where it might be worth having a go? I am guessing the slacker water on the convex (leeward) side of a river bend is better?

 

I just have this uneasy feeling that I would be sat there for hours fishing where there are simply no fish at all, with a bait often tangled in the twigs of a tree or equally unattractively presented. There's no worse feeling than that nagging doubt of wondering if you're wasting your time when there is literally no chance of a bite.

 

The other question is this; when the Stour floods near Sturminster Newton it carries a lot of colour. Visibility is only a couple of inches. What is the best tactic for this? Smelly baits, I suppose? Do fish actually feed in these conditions?

 

And should I be looking to fish on the bottom only- fish will not be moving around much, presumably? Is float fishing (even in the relative 'slacks' behind a bush) pointless when the river is charging through like this?

 

Thanks for your advice on this- I really appreciate it.


What's interesting is that, though anglers are rarely surprised by a totally grim day, we nearly always maintain our optimism. We understand pessimism because our dreams are sometimes dented by the blows of fate, but always our hope returns, like a primrose after a hard winter. ~ C. Yates.

 

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I just have this uneasy feeling that I would be sat there for hours fishing where there are simply no fish at all...

 

You don't want to be sat anywhere for hours! Keep on the move and just try dropping a few broken worms into every likely looking hole you can find. Fish right up against the bank. I wouldn't bother with a float, just pinch one or two swan shot on the line.

(I've hooked salmon in the Ribble on more than one occasion in these conditions. Unfortunately, not being able to get round the trees to follow them, I've never landed one!)

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look for cuts in the bank. Fish often lie right up along the bank or behind stones weedbeds etc. during floods. From a trout fishing point of view I have fished competitions on rivers in full flood (even over the banks) and succeeded in catching on weighted flies fished 6-12 inches out from the bank. The fish will lie tight to the edge and move out to take food brought past. Coarse fish will react in a similar manner as the shelter will be in the same places.


IF YOUR DOG THINKS YOU ARE THE BEST

Don't seek a second opinion.

 

http://www.anglingireland.info

Fish Paintings

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This is going to sound daft but just recently all my flood fish have been caught on..........pellet feeder and 2x10mm boilie hookbaits. The usual big meat or stinky paste just hasn`t worked at all. It goes right against the general consensus of opinion for high water tactics but if the fish keep coming the way they have been then it`ll do for me.

 

The only problem with using boilies in a flood is that the exposed hook picks up any crud within a 10 mile radius so if you do start getting problems then either wrap some paste round it or swap over onto meat so the hook is buried. I don`t usually like filthy river conditions and find it doesn`t really seem to agree with the fish either so luckily its not a problem I encounter very often.

 

One little trick I use quite a bit is the good old baitdropper. When you arrive at the stretch have a walk to make a mental note of all the likely swims. Put a dropper of bait in each (feed by hand and it`ll go everywhere, you`re looking to concentrate the attraction). That way when you get to fishing them you`ll be speeding up the process of getting them interested in the first place. Its incredible just how quickly you can sometimes have a take when fishing like this. Its also good as if theres any nasty snags you`ll feel the dropper hit them on the way down........sometimes!!!!!

 

Keep moving between the swims and baitdropper before leaving each one, especially if you`ve had a fish. When you do get one on the bank don`t be tempted to have another chuck, much better to bait it then rest the swim for an hour or so. (Don`t forget the fish will be right under your feet so a silent approach is the name of the game, real sneaky stuff)

 

I absolutely love flood fishing and when the conditions are right an absolute red letter day is on the cards.


wolf.gif

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It has been said before but i will say it again, unless you really love the challenge (and don't mind a blank and the possiblity of falling in and drowning) then leave the river alone and go to a nice lake. :)


take a look at my blog

http://chubcatcher.blogspot.co.uk/

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It has been said before but i will say it again, unless you really love the challenge (and don't mind a blank and the possiblity of falling in and drowning) then leave the river alone and go to a nice lake. :)

 

I can't agree with that. Fishing lakes in winter can be a real grueller (apart from commercials). At least in a river you know the fish HAVE to feed sooner or later, because they are using energy just to hold position. The Koi in my pond can happily go from November to February without eating a thing! Obviously it would be nice to only fish a spate river as it is fining down but unless you have the option of fishing every day that isn't going to happen often. I can see it won't appeal to the wheelbarrow/campsite or box/pole brigades, but working your way up a flooded river looking for fish holding spots is actually fun.

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You don't want to be sat anywhere for hours! Keep on the move and just try dropping a few broken worms into every likely looking hole you can find. Fish right up against the bank. I wouldn't bother with a float, just pinch one or two swan shot on the line.

(I've hooked salmon in the Ribble on more than one occasion in these conditions. Unfortunately, not being able to get round the trees to follow them, I've never landed one!)

 

I agree

Tight up against the bank.

Or look for a slack where the flow slows down.

 

Another tip is to wear waders and go for worm.

 

Oddly you can catch fish right by your feet.


"Muddlin' along"

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