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Old 09-13-2013, 03:40 PM
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Default Muddy trout small stream tactics?

Tough morning on a NE Iowa creek today. Water was near normal level and somewhat muddy. New fly fisherman so my flybox wasn't at all ready for the challenge. I had to join my wife using spinning gear and nightcrawlers to salvage the day. That wasn't particularly productive either but it beat getting skunked. Back to the topic subject though......

I did some searching and the advice is usually large black subsurface. Nymphs, woolies etc.

Why black? Why not chartreuse, white, orange etc?

Other tips for dealing with muddy water welcomed.
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Old 09-13-2013, 03:44 PM
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Default Re: Muddy trout small stream tactics?

Black is the easiest thing for a fish to see in low light & cloudy water, it seems.

When the water gets cloudy, I usually go dark, slow, big, and deep.

I have a pretty tough time fly fishing for trout when it is chocolate-milk mud, but when visibility is between 1-2 feet I find the fish are active and much less spooky than normal. I've had some of my best days, and caught some of my best fish, in times like that. Falling water after a big blowout.
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Old 09-13-2013, 05:25 PM
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Default Re: Muddy trout small stream tactics?

Our driftless streams can be finicky when it comes to cloudy water. Personally though, It's my favorite time to fish them. I almost always use streamers in these conditions. Specifically wooly buggers. I keep three different colors in my boxes: Black, Cream/Gold/White, and Black w/ a chartreuse head (pm me if you'd like me to tie a few up for you). The black w/ chartreuse seems to be my go-to though. It's by far my most productive streamer in cloudy water.

I will generally avoid the riffles at this time too, and focus mainly on pools,u ndercut banks, as well as any mid-stream structure that will provide a current break like trees or boulders. Any current breaks outside of the riffles will almost always hold fish as well.

Mirabela was right about the black being easier to see. The black creates a profile, or shadow in the water that will show up better under low visibility conditions that the fish will key in on. The reason for my chartreuse heads on my wooly buggers is because it adds just one more trigger for the fish.
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Old 09-13-2013, 05:49 PM
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Default Re: Muddy trout small stream tactics?

I appreciate the feedback guys. I very much want to be adaptable so I don't have to hope for perfect fly conditions, or get out the nightcrawlers.

I will PM you about the flies Ted. That is much of my problem so far. I am an hour minimum from the trout holes so virtually nothing available locally. I would order online but I am a rookie and really don't know what I need. I want to tie my own but again I just don't know what I need yet. Some of the stuff I did order online was very hit or miss on quality. And most was panfish stuff anyway. I have a box of inappropriate or garbage quality flies. Had one that worked well but I lost it last trip. OK, guess I am done whining now.
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Old 09-13-2013, 06:58 PM
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Default Re: Muddy trout small stream tactics?

Go bigger than normal, all black and make sure the fly makes "noise" in the water (think muddlers and bo river buggers). Black allows the fish to see a more complete silhouette in the murk. Dark red is suppose to do the same thing, but I have never had any luck with it.

Am getting old.... if you can, get a few smaller Dalhbeg divers tied up on a 3X or 4X long streamer hooks, like #6's or #8's, black and have a small, undersized, set of clouser eyes hung just behind the eye on the bottom of the shank to prompt the fly to nose-dive a bit in the water - not to the point that it will go butt-up, but be ver prone to staying down in the water.
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Old 09-14-2013, 11:18 AM
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Default Re: Muddy trout small stream tactics?

Another one of the main reasons black shows up better in muddy waters is also uv absorption which helps fish see it. I've never had too much luck in muddy water so I usually stay at home and tie on those days
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Old 09-16-2013, 05:03 PM
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Default Re: Muddy trout small stream tactics?

Returned to the same stream today. Rained last night so even muddier this time. Black wooly brought in a couple fish. Five other guys were slinging worms and caught nothing so I'll call that a win. I appreciate the schoolin guys.
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