Dealing with Flooded Rivers

November 30, 2012

trent_n1-300x175I see on the News that various areas of the UK have seen some serious flooding in recent weeks. So far this year in France, we have been spared such conditions. However, I live near two rivers that regularly burst their banks in the November to April period and scenes similar to the UK are not uncommon. The run off from the often heavy rains we get over the Autumn/Winter time plus tha fact that the vegetation is no longer absorbing water and the farmers are not irrigating their crops, means that levels can fluctuate dramatically in a day or so.

We saw the rivers rise, but without bursting their banks about three weeks ago and it certainly made the fishing more difficult. I found this article by Pat Gillett on the Quest Baits blog, and it gives some very good tips on how to deal with flood water conditions.

Barbel – swim choice in flood water conditions

PIC21-300x220The most important thing for me is the flow and the nature of the swim, whilst flood water fishing. If the water temperature is high enough then the extra water will really get the barbel on the move and on the feed.

With this in mind there are two approaches I believe that are best to employ. The first one is to spend your session in just the one swim (knowing that the fish are on the feed and will probably come to you). This is a method I tend to employ at this of year, when the feeding spells can be small, therefore I won’t miss the feeding spell by being on the move. For this static approach I will want to fish just into the flow, with preferably a backwater or tree / bush on the inside, which makes presentation so much easier.

The other approach can be to fish lots of swims but not stopping in any for more than 30 minutes unless you get some action.

As for the make up of the bottom, I really don’t think it matters, it is more about presenting a bait where the barbel feel comfortable. Some of the biggest flood water barbel caught off the Lower Severn (for example) were caught over area’s that were flooded grass fields.

The problem with this latest flood is that it is going to coincide with a severe drop in temperature. In my experience high river levels and sharply falling temperatures are the worst conditions for barbel. If the weather was mild, I would be off like a shot, has very often the biggest fish are caught in the high water conditions.
The one type of swim I always avoid in flood conditions is the ‘snag swim’. It’s just not worth it, you will end up losing loads of gear, and the fish will very often not be in these swims anyway, has the high coloured water will have them moving about a lot more and away from the snags, that hold them in low water conditions.

I have rambled on a bit (if we can’t get out fishing, next best thing is talking about it), but I hope this helps.



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