Fly Fishing The Flood Zone

Conditions: Great
Surface Temp: 85F
Clarity: Tannic 18 Inches

Guide Tip: My most productive rig for fishing for bass during late Summer is a dark-colored popper like a straight black or dark green with a white bead chain clouser as a dropper 36” in below it. I fish this rig along the edge of grasslines and near docks. I like to run a deeper dropper fly this time of year and slowly present this pattern. This catches both bass and panfish.

Techniques: The best words of advise I can give is slow your retrieve down and fish closer to cover. In my experience, the number one mistake anglers make when fishing poppers is a very quick cadence. Let the ripples disappear before moving the fly again. Also with these higher water levels, I like to fish very shallow. In some smaller lakes, I’ve seen bass partially out of the water, bull rushing baitfish. Darker color poppers have been working better, but a white dropper fly either marabou or a small clouser has been the most productive fly. Look for inflows or outflows as they attract all species to feed on terrestrials and baitfish that get churned up by the flowing water. When targeting these heavy cover areas a strong tippet is key, as is a SLOW retrieve. As the day heats up and the fish are moving to deeper areas around weed lines. This is when I start chucking streamers for largemouth. I like to use an intermediate sinking line so I can fish bulkier flies and still have a solid sink rate. I prefer a bluegill imitation like an olive and orange Clouser Minnow and I’ll fish this fly around shady hideouts and submerged grasslines. The Clouser will be fairly weedless, but I’d resist the urge to fish it in really heavy cover. That is the place for a weedless brush fly. Some of our lakes have sandier, harder bottoms that are better for fishing flies on the bottom. A purple or rust-colored crayfish fly crawled along the bottom is a great tactic during the hottest part of the day. A little-known tactic to target suspended bluegill is to use a strike indicator about 2’ from the fly line then add two split shots about a third way down the leader where the butt and midsection meet. Then tie off a size 12 Hares Ear or 12 Pheasant Tail. The nymph is much deeper than most anglers fish and I crawl the fly back very slowly, pulling the fly line to my wrist on the retrieve. This allows you to target a specific area such as the shade-line from a dock and keep the fly in the strike zone throughout the retrieve.

River Level Outlook: Currently all our water levels on the Econ River, Hillsborough River, Withlacoochee River, Peace River and The Kissimmee River (below the HWY 60) dam are high. All of our lakes are high as well.

Submitted by: Hunter Towery
Peace Creek Guide Service