Let's face it. There are more and more of us seeking solace and fun on our rivers and streams than ever before. Unfortunately in many places the days of having a stretch of river all to yourself are long gone. Additionally, fishing highly-pressured water can sometimes be frustrating and not particularly productive. By making a few adjustments and keeping these three tips in mind you can increase your chances of success and decrease your aggravation.
1. Timing is everything. If possible, adjust the hours you spend on the water and get started earlier or later in the day and fish until dark. That way, you're at least ahead of the crowd or behind the crowd. Most of the traffic is generally between 9-5. That leaves plenty of time to fish when your favorite stretch is less crowded.
2. Think outside the box. Make a point to fish in less obvious holding water and feeding habitat. With more traffic, fish will get pushed around and seek safety and comfort in different places. On highly-pressured waters, I've found fish holding in what would normally be considered less than perfect habitat. To this end, think both deeper and skinnier water, runs with uniform depth between riffles and pools, and any water between the best looking places on the stretch you're fishing.
3. Cover water. Sure, posting up in your favorite riffle or pool is always ideal. But if that's not an option, plan on fishing a half mile of river and keep moving throughout the day. By leap frogging other anglers, always being careful to be polite and practice stream etiquette, you can still find plenty of water. This strategy is also a great way to learn new stretches that you wouldn't otherwise necessarily fish very often.
By keeping these three tips in mind while fishing highly-pressured waters, you will decrease your frustration level and increase your chances of success.
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