High-water fishing tips for a Rocky Mountain spring

High water is a reality during a Rocky Mountain spring. Runoff starts in May and, in wet years, it can last through June. If you’re an avid angler and an investor looking for ranches for sale in the Rockies, you don’t have to let runoff spoil your spring fishing. While you’re out shopping for ranch real estate, there’s no reason you can’t bring your fly rod along.  

Here are some tips to help you keep fishing through runoff.

Beat the banks

It’s a simple solution to high water. Even the fastest-flowing rivers eddy out during runoff, and those eddies scour the banks and offer slower holding water. Don’t be afraid to go deep along the banks. 

And be sure to offer trout some good options. In the spring, worms and leeches end up in the water. Weighted streamers, like Slumpbusters and Woolly Buggers are good options to toss at the banks when the water is high. And don’t forget the San Juan Worm. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with offering trout an accurate imitation of their natural food sources.

Don’t listen to the purists who might tell you that fishing a worm pattern is cheating. It’s no different than offering trout a caddis pattern during a caddis hatch. 

Remember, too, that high water will often cause aquatic nymphs to become dislodged. It’s a great time, in rivers that have stonefly hatches, to drift big stonefly nymph imitations, like a Girdle Bug, through like runs.

Go higher

Sometimes, doing something counterintuitive actually works. In the case of spring fishing, it’s often a good idea to go higher. Getting above the runoff is a great way to start fishing earlier in the year.

If you’re considering a ranch for sale that has river access, but the river is high and muddy, take a look at the map. Are there tributaries that pour into the river on public lands higher up in the drainage? If so, take a drive. Often, the higher you go, the clearer the water gets. 

And, in many cases, this translates into better fishing. 

Consider stillwater angling

It’s a fact. Rivers and streams will blow out in the spring when the snow melts and rushes downstream. But there are many lakes and reservoirs near some prime ranch real estate in the Rockies. 

With a float tube or a pontoon boat, you can access these stillwater reservoirs and do quite well fishing for trout. Using a sinking or sink-tip line, you can get down to bigger fish without much trouble at all. 

And, on warm afternoons, stillwaters boast some great hatches. Many anglers do very well using dry flies on small impoundments and reservoirs during runoff. Mayfly and damselfly larvae are common in these waters, and hatches are dependable. 

Don’t turn up your nose at fishing stillwaters. 

Beaver ponds are worth a look

Many anglers despise beaver ponds. This is a mistake. These natural impoundments made by the enterprising rodents of the Rockies can offer great trout habitat. And, during high water, they offer a refuge from the fast currents of the river or stream. 

These natural ponds on rivers and streams — and sometimes on ranches for sale in the Rockies — allow sediment to settle out. These ponds can turn out some surprisingly big trout that are looking for slower water during runoff. 

And they offer the opportunity for dry-fly fishing, usually before casting dries is an option on rivers and streams. 

Final word

Investors in the market for ranch real estate don’t need to leave the fly rod at home when they’re looking for ranches for sale. Instead, be smart, and offer trout what’s naturally in the water during spring runoff. 

Look for eddies and beaver ponds — anything that slows the flow of the river you’re fishing. This is where trout will hang out in the spring. And don’t scoff at fishing stillwaters, either. In the spring, small lakes and reservoirs are coming to life, and fishing can be very good.

We have over 30 years of experience throughout Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Montana and New Mexico. We know these states well, including some “undiscovered” places. We are offering best hunting ranches for sale along with other premier properties
Rectangle 58