How to Fish Muddy Water & Runoff

Its the beginning of Spring, the snow is melting and its 55 degrees with a cloudy sky… perfect right? You gear up, get out of the house and head to your favorite river. Except the conditions are less than ideal. The water is dirty and cloudy. Damn… What now?

Its time to throw some big flashy flies. When the water is cloudy look at the banks. A lot of the time the banks of the Deerfield don’t have a lot of sediment clouding them up from run off. This is where a good amount of the fish are. They move to the banks where they can more easily access a meal. Often I will see fish resting by the banks just trying to get away from the murky water.

When fishing in Murky water your goal is to get the trouts’ attention. Use streamers with flash with a white tail anything that could entice predator trout like big browns to strike. Fish for hold over browns this time of year and look at the banks. Are there bugs hitting the surface by the rocks or weeds? Even if you don’t see a rise throw a stimulator or a parachute dry toward the banks. Usually a fish will go for it.

Look for bends in the river where the flow moves to one side or the other leaving a pool where the sediment has a place to settle. You can find this where there is fast current on one side. Dead drifting is your friend in this situation. I usually drop an olive bugger with some flash and let it work its way to the bottom. A few quick strips and let it sink down again. This is a killer strategy for catching big fish at the end of March.

Catch the river before the melt or three or four days after. Its always a more productive fishing day when you can see the flow levels and take the time to check. Here’s the Deerfield River’s water flow and release schedule. Zoar whitewater uses this and its a gem I check religiously!

April is right around the corner and this is the perfect time to get out and catch some big fish! Email me if you want to book a trip at or visit

See you on the water!