When you hit the river and it looks virtually empty, all is not lost, the fish are still there and it is possible to catch them. You just have to adjust the way you fish a little.
We have been spending a lot of time on the freestone rivers of North Yorkshire lately, and with a pretty major lack of rain, they were virtually empty. Yes, this made the fishing harder but here is what we did to ensure we still caught fish.
Stay as far away from the fish as possible.
We kept our profiles low and avoided getting in the water unless we really had too. This meant we had some tricky casts to perform but it made a big difference to the amount of fish we caught.
Make every cast count.
Keep the number of casts you do to a minimum. If you think you have found a spot that will hold a fish, then try and make sure that your first cast is on the money, and be ready, as it is likely that it is with the first cast that you will catch the fish.
Use Small flies.
We tend to use the smallest flies we can get away with when fishing in low water. They make less disturbance when they hit the water, and we have found that the fish take them with more confidence. Ensure you have a good number of small flies in different weights so you can change depending on the depth and pace of the water.
Use a long leader.
In low water, we will almost always use a French Leader. It allows us to fish at distance with excellent presentation and minimal drag. This can make a huge difference when fishing for spooky fish in skinny water.
Take your time.
When the water is low there will be a few spots where you have good depth and flow. This is where you should focus as it will likely hold a good number of fish. Take your time over these spots and fish them methodically, make sure your fly hits every spot in that hole.
So next time you are out and the water is low remember that all is not lost. The fish are still there and they can be caught!