Hitting the water before the rain sets in can be very productive. The period before the rain hits is usually great for all types of fly fishing. Even after the rain first starts to fall, you can still fish several different types of flies. If it’s not too heavy during the first hour of rainfall, fish really key in on the surface, seeking hoppers, beetles, worms, ants, and any other easy meals that get swept from the banks. Due to the variety of prey, keeping a good supply of terrestrial flies on hand will prepare you for anything you might encounter.

As the rain wears on and the water level begins to rise and most likely becomes a bit stained, you’ll want to switch techniques. During this period, fish will slowly move from feeding on the surface to feeding on the bottom, which means you’ll need to turn to flies like flashy, beaded nymphs, which really get the trout’s attention. Fish these flies with a high stick technique, getting as much line off the water as possible, so that you can drift them downstream.

Once the rain ends and the river is high and discolored, you should once more switch flies and techniques. Here, you’ll want to go for big, dark, aggressive streamer patterns. Not only do you want to pick a pattern that will stand out in the water with a good silhouette, but you’ll also want a fly that will disrupt the water and let the fish know where it is. Beadhead bunny leeches or beadhead wooly buggers are favorites in these conditions because of their size, weight, and action.

Just because it’s raining, it doesn’t mean your day on the river is ruined. If you understand how the rain affects the fish you’re targeting

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