Fly Fishing in the Rain? – Rise to the Challenge with 7 TOP Tips!


Have you checked the weather and thought you’d be better off staying indoors instead of fishing?

Forget that!

Here’s the thing about fish… They don’t mind being wet, and neither should you.

Fly fishing in the rain offers you a golden opportunity to catch.

Today I’ll give you some great tips to make sure that you have a productive session.

Read, ‘man-up and get out there, you’ll be glad you did!

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Is Fly Fishing Good in the Rain?

No nonsense. Fly fishing in the rain can be absolutely superb! You may even find that your catch rate increases with a sudden downpour.

Want to know why? Here are a few quick reasons why fly fishing in the rain can be great:

  • You’ll have the swim to yourself! Other anglers will be put off while you are out catching!
  • The trout become less wary! Raindrops create vibrations on the water and obscure the fish beneath the surface from predators. This seems to make the fish bolder and more ready to feed!
  • Downpours increase natural food! Often a torrential downpour washes flies and other food into the swim. This is an ideal time to cast your fly amongst it.
  • Heavy rain hides your line! Trout can often spot a fishing leader in calm conditions. The ripple on the water helps to hide it, increasing your chances of a bite.
  • It’s an adventure! Nothing makes you feel more like a ‘wild man’ (or woman) than standing in a stream as nature throws its worst at you. When you catch, you feel like you’ve really achieved something!

fly-fisherman catching trout in river under the rain

Do Trout Bite When it is Raining?

Absolutely!

Trout are predatory fish. Most species that eat other species have a ‘lateral line’ used to sense minute vibrations in the water.

Here’s the thing…

There’s something about the drumming of rain that seems to switch the trout on. While it isn’t guaranteed (it is fishing, after all), you’ll often find that a storm acts like a feeding switch when trout fishing in the rain.

Even if they aren’t biting while it is raining, you can sometimes find that the bites increase as soon as it stops.

Types of Rain

Would you believe me if I told you the type of precipitation affects your catch rate?

Well, it does!

Here’s a quick guide to the types of rain and the effect on your fly fishing!

Sprinkle or Drizzle

This type of rain is when the moisture is light and/ or intermittent. Stick with your normal techniques and patterns. These light rain periods will not change the behavior of fish, their feeding habits, or hatches.

Steady Rain

This is a type of rain when showers have been continuous (for greater than 1 hour). You should be able to still fish the river but will have to change how you are fishing.

This is because the water levels will rise, and the color will slowly get muddier. Fish will usually still be hanging around cover (rocks and logs) and will start to lose their desire to rise for dry flies.

Downpour

This type of rain is characterized by heavy downfall rain conditions that will flood and muddy the river.

Fishing in these conditions changes as ongoing dry fly fishing will slow as food items are washed into the river and pulled below by the currents.

Nymphs and worm patterns will produce well while heavy rains raise the water, and streamers will produce as the clarity decreases.

catch of a rainbow trout with a fly

7 Top Tips for Fly Fishing in the Rain

So, you’ve decided to brave it and what to know what’s what? Here are some of my best tips for fly fishing in the rain…

Dress Appropriately

Whether you are fishing or not, when the weather is wet, you want to make sure that you are properly equipped to deal with it. You are definitely going to want to don your best rain gear.

Believe me…

Being stood, freezing cold while a steady trickle makes its way down your neck is no fun at all, even if you are catching.

The solution?

Make sure you are fully kitted out in the correct clothing for trout fishing in the rain.

I make sure I am wearing waterproof clothing from top to bottom.

If you haven’t got any wet weather gear, maybe now is the time to start looking? At the very least, you’ll want a good rain jacket and a decent pair of fishing waders.

Use a Bite Indicator

Often, when the heavens open, you’ll find that the wind increases too. This can lead to significant ripples and disturbance on the water.

The end result?

It can be really hard to see bites. But here’s the answer…

Get a decent bite indicator. They make it so much easier to see your line and monitor what is happening beneath the surface.

Watch the Water Color!

This can be a little location-dependent. After a heavy downpour, you’ll find that all that groundwater starts to run to the lowest point in the area. Invariably this tends to be the stream or lake that you are fishing in.

Why do you need to know this?

Well, you may find that over a few hours (or sometimes minutes), the water changes from gin-clear to a soupy mess.

You will still catch trout in the rain, but you might need to change your tactics.

I find that going to a bigger or more obvious fly can work wonders, especially if there is a bit of color in the water.

Be Patient and Slow Down

Fish can be a little fickle, and they might temporarily be put off by a change of conditions.

Hey, I’ve never said fishing in the rain is easy!

Here’s the secret…

Don’t quit!

When fly fishing, perseverance pays off. But, you will need to take your foot off the gas a little.

What do I mean?

Slow down your retrieves. If the water has gone cloudy, the fish won’t spot your fly as easily. Give them more opportunities to see it and follow it.

Dark Day, Dark Fly

This might be a bit of an old wives tale, but I find it works pretty well… Match your fly to the conditions. As a general rule… If it is cloudy, choose a drab fly. If it is bright, pick something a little more vibrant.

Keep An Eye Out for Thunderstorms

Listen, folks, more than anything, I want you to stay safe out there. If you only read one tip, read this one…

If there is any chance of thunder and lighting, pop the rods away for a while.

Standing in a lake with a piece of carbon in your hand while Zeus hurls lightning bolts is asking for trouble!

Enjoy Yourself!

Aside from avoiding thunderstorms, you should make this one a priority!

OK, nobody loves the rain. But fly fishing in the rain can be a real joy if it pays off. It can be challenging, but with that comes a real sense of reward if you succeed! Remember, fishing is supposed to be fun, and you’re a stronger person than to let a bit of pesky rain get in the way, right?

…Right!?!

Get out there and enjoy it!

Conclusion

If you can succeed where others may fail, you’ll emerge from the bank feeling like a true hero!

Fly fishing in the rain can sometimes yield better results than dry, sunny days. It is challenging, but with the tips above, you should rise to that challenge with ease.

While you are here, why not take a look at some of my gear guides. A good wading jacket should keep you dry regardless of the conditions!

What’s the worst weather you’ve ever fished in? Let me know in the comments!

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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