I’m fortunate to live in a state where we don’t get a whole lot of rain or snow.
But even here in coastal California we get a handful of storms in the spring, which puts a real damper on my fly fishing adventures.
So what’s the key to fishing in the rain?
Well, one is hitting me as I write this on Easter Sunday, so I thought I’d offer up a few tips while I wait things out indoors and also share some thoughts from some well respected guides and writers from around the country.
Wait for a Break
Here in California at least, the rain shouldn’t shut down a fly fishing trip entirely. More often than not, the storms here and quick hitters, blowing through quickly and relatively quietly, doing nothing more than wetting the ground and making a few dimples on the water’s surface.
Unless the weather man is calling for inches of rain, pack some water resistant gear and head out to the water in hopes of a break in the rain.
And when you catch that break, take advantage because you know the trout will. Fish can sense the weather better than any of us, so when a shaky morning turns to a calm afternoon, that’s when trout will start to rise.
Especially if the bugs come out and play too.
When the bugs come out, they’re going to be damp and tired, so do everything you can to mimic that same movement on the water’s surface.
You can try a sinking, dead drift (the rain will help push the fly into the subsurface on its own), but if that approach doesn’t work, try flicking some action into the fly to make it resemble a fly that’s struggling to get back to the surface.
When preparing for a wetter-than-usual fly fishing trip, because to keep your gear high and dry. Here are some of my favorite water-resistant gear reviews that are certain to keep you and your gear dry come rain time:
Cloudveil Hellroaring Jacket: The versatile Cloudveil Hellroaring Jacket, is an awesome water-resistant soft shell jacket for fly fishers and outdoorsmen and women.
Fishpond Cloudburst Gear Bag: The Fishpond Cloudburst Gear Bag keeps your fly fishing and outdoors gear safe on the go.
GoPro Hero Waterproof Digital Camera: Might as well make sure your digital camera is waterproof from the start, so you can take shots above water in the rain and below the surface with a GoPro, one of my favorite fishing gadgets of all-time.
Adamsbuilt Pyramid Lake Wading Jacket: The new Adamsbuilt Pyramid Lake Wading Jacket is another great jacket that will keep you high and dry during the down pours, probably my No. 1 pick right now for a wading jacket in the field.
Adamsbuilt Mokelmne River Tackle Bag: Another great tackle back, the Adamsbuilt Mokelmne River Tackle Bag offers plenty of protection and storage for your gear.
Adamsbuilt Klamath River Wet-Dry Bag: Now this is the product every angler who goes fishing in the rain needs. The Adamsbuilt Klamath River Wet-Dry Bag is big enough to hold all of your gear, whether it’s your waders and wading jacket before the trip, or your soggy jacket and clothes after the adventure. It’s the ultimate bag for keeping all of your gear together in one place both before and after your trip.
Adamsbuilt Truckee River Breathable Wader: If you’re going to be fishing in the rain, even if you’re not going to be wading because of a chance of flooding, you’re going to want a good set of waders. Look no further than the Adamsbuilt Truckee River Breathable Wader if you want to stay dry in and out of the river.
If the rain persists, and fishing the surface is no longer an option but you insist on catching fish, turn to a nymph. A double nymph setup can be deadly during a light rain, particularly when fished near structure and other hideouts for rainbow and brown trout.
Some of my favorite flies in these conditions include beadhead nymphs, Hare’s Ear Nymph and, my favorite, the Pheasant Tail Nymph.
It seems like the murkier the water gets, the more valuable the Pheasant Tail becomes, so be sure to pack away a few of those, especially if you’re going to be flinging your flies around structure.