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High Water Hassles

The weather around the country seems to be heading for extremes. Some parts of the U. S. are parched with wild fires and historic droughts. Some of these areas, like in the south and west are then subject to rain deluges resulting in flooding and water damage.

Here in the Midwest, we seem to avoid some of these weather extremes. However the last couple of years have dealt us extremely cold winters and cooler wet spring and summer periods.

While this may all be cyclic, I’m hoping the wet cycle will end soon.

This season we river fisherman have been smitten with high water resulting in later than normal seasonal fishing. We normally fish larger rivers, like the Mississippi, in earnest beginning in late June and work these waters diligently throughout the summer into late September. This gives us at least three full months of river fishing and some folks squeeze an extra month in October for river smallies.

Normally when August and September arrive we are fishing low clear water and putting up solid numbers of out-sized bronzebacks.

Not this year.

Here it is early Autumn and we have spring-type water levels due to relentless rain cycles that just won’t quit. At this point the moisture doesn’t due anyone any good. The farmers have difficulty getting into the fields and the corn won’t dry naturally. Sugar beet harvest time is here and that process is slowed again owing to wet field.

We took an ill advised trip yesterday on the Big Muddy (Mississippi). That morning we’d gotten hit by a major storm that left a minimum of 2″ of rain. The morning mellowed and we decided to go.

Bad move.

BR250Upon launch, we had predictably high water, but there was the added pleasantry of floating debris from the storm. Tree branches, leaves uprooted weeds – were all in play.

In addition, the fish were tight-lipped and we managed only a handful of smallies on a four hour float. The section of river fished is far better than what it yielded this day.

The only pattern that seemed to produce were, not surprisingly, overhanging wood and noise-making flies and lures.

With the turbid conditions, we had to alert the fish via sound and water disturbance to let them know we were there. Visibility was quite limited so noise-making was a must – and that meant big poppers.

Next time we have a major storm, I’m going to wait for at least 2 days before returning to a river.

At right are brothers Ross and Bruce Miller with a super 19″ that ate a Blue Foam Popper.


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