Fishing in Bad Weather
By Gerry Federick
Fishing in bad weather can be good, trust me, I know. I’ve spent more days fishing in the rain than I care to remember. Most were productive days, in the water, on the water, and covered with water. When I lived in Kitimat B.C., fishing in the rain is a way of life.
The bad weather can help the die hard fly fishers that just can’t stay home. I think the biggest advantage could simply be that there aren’t as many fools out there as you would see on a good day. There’s more room for you and less fisherman to chase the same number of fish. If you are fishing a body of water that is fairly clear, the fewer boats and people to spook the fish the better. Like my father would say about the broccoli I didn’t want to eat, “that leaves more for me”.
Fishing in the Wind
This last season sure has started out with more than our share of poor weather. Wind also has been a little much this year. That can be one of the worst conditions that the fly fisher faces. Casting in the wind is a bit dangerous too. I won’t go into the details of how a big grasshopper fly ended up in my eye brow, just know that wind can sure cause problems when casting.
The wind can work to your advantage if you put up with hassle. The wind breaks up the surface of the water. This helps to hide your line and leader. It does a real good job at hiding you too. Gentle wind can be the fly fishers best friend. It adds to the distance of your cast, it helps turn the fly line around behind you, it can cut down on the tangles when casting and when fishing down wind it will keep the fly line straight. This makes it easier to detect subtle hits. On the other side of the wind story, it can be the fly fishers worst enemy. Strong wind has sent more fly fishers home than perhaps any other fishing condition
Is Fishing in Bad Weather Better
I have been asked and it has been said that “fish bite better in the rain”. I don’t think that’s true. Only a very few insects hatch in the rain. For the most part the rain drives the bugs back to hiding in the trees and bushes. My 45 years of fishing have taught me that the fish react different in the poor weather. They’re still hungry and if you don’t spook them they will be interested in the little bit of food that is available when the rain and wind drives the daily lunch special back to the kitchen.
For fly fishers the wind and rain usually means fishing wet or sinking flys. One of my favorite approaches to these conditions is to cast big streamers. They attract a lot of attention in the water and I hope that’s the meal the fat ones have been looking for. Mayfly nymphs with a little flash or a bead head work well also. We have to remember that we still need to present a fly that will be easily seen in the dimmer light.
There, I’ve said it, “present”, or presentation. That’s always the closest thing to success no matter what the conditions are. The fish will bite if what you’re presenting them looks and acts like lunch. Another thing to know is that some mayflies and caddis flys start moving around in over cast or rainy parts of the day. They do this in preparation for emerging later, if the sun breaks out.
So I say go, go even when your common sense tells you not to. The fishing in bad weather will be better and you won’t have a line up at the boat launch. Take your kid too, they won’t mind the weather if they’re hanging out with you.