The Fishing Corner: How will recent rains affect fishing season?

By Larry Dublanko

For the Grays Harbor News Group

The impact of the heavy rains that led to flooding conditions earlier this month is yet to be determined. The obvious is that our local rivers turned a dark brown color due to mud and debris which put a halt on fishing. The bigger question is how will these flood like conditions affect fishing for the balance of the season.

As the rivers recede and change to a more favorable color, anglers will be able to assess their approach. There are several matters to consider.

First, rivers will tend to run somewhat higher in volume and depth until we reach a block of time when temperatures drop drastically or the rain ceases. After looking at the immediate forecast my conclusion is that anglers are going to have to adapt to higher than normal water flow.

This adjustment will require fishers to use lures that get down to where the fish are located. Main line will need to be stronger since the water force will put more resistance on the retrieve when a fish is hooked.

Anglers will need to be cognizant of any river changes which have recently occurred. This would mean new log jams, different holes created as well as loose material under foot. Standing in forceful water with material giving way under your feet can be very challenging.

Usually, when the water is higher, anglers are a further distance from the holding fish. This poses a couple problems. First of all, more river area needs to be covered and also line sensitivity is lost. There is an advantage for those who are in boats in this regard. In such cases, anglers can pork over an area near the holding fish and present their lures more effectively.

Another thing that the local waters did is wash out leaves, debris and old salmon carcasses. Nature tends to clean up after itself which makes fishing less bothersome.

All the while the rivers are in a winter state, fishers need to choose appropriate lures and tackle. Lighter gear works well when the water is clear and low. However, when the rivers are running higher and with color, fish need to be able to see your presentation. So a variety of lures with size and color should be considered when fishing these winter conditions.

Anglers who make these adjustments will have more fish hook ups. This can be an effort dictated by past experience or mere trial and error.

However, the most significant impact to fishing caused by high water conditions is the actual movement of fish. Rivers are the highways fish travel to get to spawning areas. Fish will move in high and off color water. So the question becomes whether these fish have moved through or did they find new hiding places.

Anglers can wrongfully judge a return of fish based on the fact that they have passed beyond fishing water and found security in closed water. Hopefully, enough fish have either stayed in the main stem of a hosting river or perhaps their entrance has not yet occurred. Time will answer this question.