Refusing trout in high water

I am pretty sure my river level app lied to me today. The app said medium water in a river which is fed by a couple of lochs and another river – I wanted to fish the tributary of the river. This highland stream is usually pocket water however when I got their it was full on fast flowing spate..

Highland River

I immediately felt very under-gunned with my 4 weight and after a 45 minute session walked back to the car to move down into the next river and string up my 5 weight SLT which is a beefier set up for these types of conditions.

When I got to the lower section again I noticed that it was even higher than the last time I was here as I was finding it difficult to get into some of the pools that were usually productive. The force of the water was just too much and it was difficult trying to control the fly.

I decided to walk downstream which proved slightly problematic as I wanted to fish the right hand bank and there is no actual path. This meant making my way through some fairly thick woods all the time stooped over.


I finally got to my long riffle that looked perfect and worked my way up it with a dry and dropper.

A riffle with no actual fish I mused as I was almost at tthe top of the riffle after 45mins of constant searching.

100m Riffle

It was only when I let my fly swing behind me did I get a take on the nymph – it was then in a moment of madness that I decided to stick on an small Allys Shrimp as I did not have any wet flies with me with the thinking that a crazy salmon could take it as well as a trout. As it was a couple of trout had a go at it but they did not stay on for long.

I started the slog back up the river to another glide and decided on a change of tactic – a stimulator went on and this time the trout were definitely interested. I could tell they were interested as every few casts I would watch trout cruising up to have a go at the stimulator and then refuse it or have a go at it resulting in an angry shake of the head after I tightened up and then the usual lost trout.

I lost count how many times this happened.

Usually thin water

I walked upriver to what is usually some pretty thin water to find it was at least 2.5 feet deep and very fast moving – finally a trout stuck to the stimulator however no picture as I dropped the trout as soon as it was unhooked.

There was a buy watching me from a bridge for a bit in what looked like thermal underwear – I guess he was a salmon fisher.

As I was leaving I noted from a dryer stone that the water must have dropped a half foot while I was fishing.


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