Recent rains jacked River levels nearly five feet in just 72 hours. The River is on the way down now on pool 9 and fishing should start to pick up again tomorrow–five days after our recent major rain event.
When you’re out there essentially every day its good to have touchstones to get a better handle on the River’s mood. The River is always changing, but there are certain spots i check which are driven by River level. The spots change as both the River level and seasons do, but it is important to have a couple starting places as you head out for another day on the water.
As a general rule fish move into the backwaters on a rising river and back towards the mainstem as the River falls. Either way, there are funnels which fish must pass through. These are obvious touchstones.
Water clarity is a major driver in fishing success. On pool 9 your chances of hooking up are much better with 1+’ of visibility. This is the first thing I look for when approaching a touchstone. If the water is too dirty, I’ll just keep on movin’ to the next spot.
Time of day also determines which touchstones are worthy of a few quick probing casts. Generally, fishing is better on the east side in the morning and west side in the afternoon in high summer. Although fish are opportunists, they are also creatures of habit. If a shady spot produces every morning under sunny conditions, it will likely be just as good if the sky is overcast.
Touchstones are also driven to some extent by species. If folks want walleyes instead of bass, I might start fishing rocks instead of weeds. With perch and gills this time of year, its weedline changes and wood–at least for starters.
Regardless of desired species, think of what you’re quarry eats not about what you want to feed the quarry. THE major force behind fish movement is food, coupled with other survival components. Predators are also prey.
Fish get an important vote in the grand scheme of things. They will tell you to continue to run and gun or stay and play. Once you find ’em it makes little sense to leave fish to go looking for fish.