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Fly Fishing In The Rain – Is It Worth It?

Fly fishing in the rain can be tough, but it is definitely worth it if the fish are biting. Some of the best days are when it’s rainy and overcast weather. Fish tend to feel safer and they will feed more aggressively when it’s cloudy and rainy.

Although it is possible to have success in the rain, there are some tips that will help you out. Fly fishing in the rain is often thought of as “hardcore”, and many fly anglers will just leave the river when it starts to rain.

This article will cover some tips and tricks for fly fishing in the rain. If you have the right gear and attitude, it really isn’t that bad. You can get some real solitude on the water during these times, and the fishing can be incredible. Hopefully these tips will help you next time you head out in the rain.

Get A High Quality Rain Jacket

With prolonged rain storms on the river, lightweight rain jackets often won’t help. They will get water logged pretty quickly, which will leave you wet and uncomfortable.

I think it is definitely worth checking out a Gore-Tex rain jacket, from Simms or another reputable brand. These rain jackets will keep you dry even during prolonged rain storms. They are meant to shed water no matter how hard it is raining.

It also depends on where you live. Here in Colorado, rain storms don’t usually last very long. However, if you live in the northwest – it can rain for days on end. This is where you’ll really need some good rain gear.

Although high quality rain jackets are expensive, they can be worth it if you plan on fishing during rain storms.

Watch For Lightning Also

If there’s any sign of lightning, it is a good idea to head home and call it quits. Graphite fly rods are a great conductor of electricity, and lightning will be very attracted to them. For this reason, I always head back to the car if I see any lightning.

It is simply not worth it to risk your health for the sake of fishing. I have no problem fishing during a rain storm, but I will always leave the river if there’s lightning. This is a good rule to follow, and any sensible angler will agree.

Often at the first sounds of thunder I will start considering leaving. If it’s a long way back to the car, I will start to head back immediately. If i’m in a boat or a raft, I will make it a priority to get off the water asap. It is a terrible experience to be in a boat when you’re caught in a storm. It can also be dangerous since you’re so exposed.

Fish Streamers In The Rain!

When the weather is overcast, fish feel much safer. They will often feed more aggressively when there’s cloud cover and rain storms. For this reason, I will always bring a streamer rod when it’s raining. The streamer bite can be very hot, which makes for a really fun fishing experience.

During rain storms, I will often fish darker streamers. They make a silhouette which is really easy for fish to see. The black Sculpzilla pictured above is one of my go-to flies for fishing in bad weather. Trout just love it.

Although you can nymph through a rain storm, I highly recommend bringing a streamer rod. It usually produces fish, and it’s a super fun way to fish.

This isn’t just true for trout streams, but also for lakes as well. The streamer bite often heats up on lakes when there’s a rain system coming through. This makes for really good bass and pike fishing on warm water fisheries. I have landed some of my best pike when there’s nasty weather coming through.

Keep An Eye On Flows During Rain Storms

With rain comes muddy rivers. Keep an eye on river flows because flash flooding is always a possibility. You don’t want to get caught on the river when this happens.

Smaller rain storms are usually not an issue. However, big rain storms can cause serious high flows. This often means that the river is too muddy to fish, and lots of debris can be coming down stream. When the river gets like this, it is usually a good idea to head home.

Freestone rivers are often more prone to flooding, because their flows are all natural. There is no dam that controls the flows, and any rain storm can cause the water to rise dramatically. Flash floods are pretty common on freestone rivers, because all of the rain goes directly into the river system.

Tailwaters usually don’t flood because the flows are controlled by a dam. They are regulated electronically, and a rain storm usually doesn’t cause issues with the flows. As far as flash flooding goes, tailwaters are usually safer than freestones. However, sometimes if they raise the dam quickly – flows can jump dramatically.

Conclusion

Fly fishing in the rain can produce some great fish. However, if the weather is too extreme, it is a good idea to stay home. Floods and lightning can pose a serious danger to fly fishers, and accidents do happen.

If you decide to fly fish in the rain, I recommend following the steps above. Use your best judgment and check the weather and river flows before you go. It is best to know conditions before you make the drive to go fishing.

For folks who live in rainy areas, fly fishing in the rain is just a regular thing. For those of us in sunny areas, it can be a bit tougher to motivate on rainy days. I know many fly fishers in Colorado who will stay home when it’s raining, and that’s fine.

Whether you decide to go fly fishing in the rain or stay home, the main thing is to stay safe and use common sense. Rivers can be very dangerous, and shouldn’t be underestimated.