Water Clarity

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Eric Peper 4 years, 8 months ago.

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    Dry Fly Guy

    From time to time some (all) of you have probably heard me bemoan the fact that I’m living in a land devoid of a proper trout stream. (The closest trout water is a stocked tailwater about 2 hours drive away.) Well, fishing today I realized that what I really miss isn’t the trout… Well… That isn’t entirely true, I do miss trout, but that’s not the point. The point is I realized that what bothers me the most about fishing in my area is the water (and sometimes the people, but I’ll talk about that in another post).

    I’m just not into the green, brown, (or a combination thereof) weed/algae/moss infested water that simply looks like you need to wash your hands after touching it. That’s probably also why I so heavily prefer streams and creeks to ponds and lakes. Cold clear water that looks like you could drink it is what I love, and regardless of how much fun I have fishing warm-water fisheries, I always seem to wish I was some place I can actually see the fish, or at least the bottom.

    So at the risk of offending my fellow Mid-west inhabitants, I’d like to say that if warm-water fisheries is all you have available to you, it’s certainly better than nothing, but for this DFG, nothing beats a nice clear mountain stream for pure fishing enjoyment. In fact, I’ll go one step further and say that nothing beats that kind of a stream in an alpine setting. Sure the trout streams in a deciduous forest setting can be spectacular as well. But I much prefer the scent of evergreens wafting in the breeze, the Quakies shimmering, and the feel of the air at altitude. I would also rather catch tiny Brookies from cold clear water than large bass or panfish from waters where I can’t see my feet when standing knee deep.

    There was a time (many years ago) when I might have been seduced by large fish alone, (or large numbers of fish) and could have cared less what the water looked like. But anymore the locale and surroundings/environment seem to be just as important to me as anything.

    ~ DFG




    I’d agree wholeheartedly on the relative merits of clear running water over muddy or green Stillwater. Like many, I’d sneak out at midnight to fish the neighbour’s koi pond if that was all that was available, but I prefer the sights, sounds and smells of woodland streams, and have the good fortune to live on and near some. Doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally hit the lower, flatter, more turbid sections.

    But as far as a ‘species’ distinction goes, the stream I live on, in addition to upper trout stretches, has sections of clear, running (but not very cold) water that hold sunfish, yellow perch, chain pickerel and smallies up to about 20″. The clarity increases the challenge and the need for stealth. That section is only about two kilometers of a (probably) 50 km stream, and then turns into more turbid, warmer, deadwater; but it is an intriguing transition zone.
    (mind you, the whole thing is running with meltwater at about 1 to 2 m. above summer flow, and is virtually useless for fishing for another two weeks at least.)


    Eric Peper

    I must really be on the “loony” end because it takes more than just clear cold water to satisfy my fishing senses.

    If I chose to use it, I have access within a hour to a cold tailwater stream that is regularly stocked with quite large rainbows. Downside? It flows through cypresses (which I don’t consider indigenous to trout habitat), and the banks are very sharp edged broken up limestone. Access is only through leased access points, and the water is, shall we say, cloudy, and the bottom littered with beer cans courtesy of the tubers who use it once the air warms up. I do not choose to use it.

    Within walking distance I have access to a small clear water stream that supports largemouth and panfish. It also supports a good population of rattlesnakes and cottonmouths. The only time I come close to fishing it is when I take my grandson to fish it occasionally while I stand watch for the land-based critters without shoulders.

    I’ll stick with north country streams where the trout are wild.




    They don’t have to stock our tailwaters. They’re all C&R, and the huge fish live their whole lives there. They get very smart from being caught so many times.

    Most have mysis shrimp to bulk them up.



    I don’t get it.

    The fish are still in the muddy water holding in the same spots eating whatever morsels float to them but I rarely fish for them when it is off color.

    I love to sight fish and I too like to see the bottom of the river.


    Eric Peper

    We don’t get a lot of natural regeneration of trout in Texas.

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