Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Freshwater Fishing After Floods

floodwaters pour over a dam
Floods can disrupt fishing for days or weeks. Eventually, high water levels subside enough for anglers to fish again. During these periods, anglers often gain valuable knowledge about lake structure and fish behavior.

In creeks and streams, anglers can look for areas where logs, rocks, and other debris are piled up by floodwaters. These structures can create large eddies where fish are likely to congregate.

In man-made lakes and reservoirs that are fed by streams or creeks, floodwaters can cause major structural changes. After major floods, anglers may find logs, brush, or other debris along the shoreline, partially submerged or sunken on the bottom. Where creeks enter these bodies of water, deltas are often formed by gravel, sand, mud, or other materials.

Immediately after flooding, fishing may be impossible, but as each day passes, fishing opportunities tend to improve. Forage is often abundant, especially along shorelines. During floods, insects, minnows, and other small prey take refuge in shoreline vegetation.

As floodwaters recede, forage species are forced back into the lake where hungry fish are waiting. Some lakes experience insect hatches following high water levels, which also helps trigger fish to feed heavily.

Scouting a lake for the signs of fish is usually a good first step following periods of high water. Territory to be investigated include areas near dam spillways (if regulations allow), shoreline vegetation, protruding stumps, mats of floating debris, and other obstructions. Lure designs are critical when snags are abundant.

When scouting deeper parts of lakes, fishfinders may help locate logs, debris, or other structure that was deposited during a flood. Fishfinders are also useful for detecting suspended fish that may be taking refuge in clearer portions of the lake.

Depending on local variations, fishing after a flood may improve or be unproductive for days or weeks afterward. In either case, a trip following a flood can provide important information for future fishing.

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