Fly fishing in the rain can be a pleasurable and rewarding experience. However, there are certain hazards to doing so especially if you don’t come prepared. To ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable fishing experience, it is necessary to take precautions before you go and while you’re out there. As with many things in life, thorough preparation coupled with care and caution is key to a successful fly fishing in rain.
Take Note of the Weather
The first thing you need to consider is the prevalent weather condition. Keep in mind that not all rains are the same. Some of them come in the form of a light drizzle, while at other times they can fall heavily and result in a torrential downpour.
Fly Fishing in Light Rains
Light rains can be described as one that occurs in short bursts with minimal precipitation. During such times, you can stick to your usual fly fishing techniques and fly fishing tackle since the water conditions wouldn’t be significantly affected. Along that line, fish behavior will remain pretty much the same under such conditions.
Fly Fishing in Moderate Rains
There are generally two ways to describe moderate rains. First would be when it has been raining consistently (though not strongly) for several hours, and second when it has been raining strongly for a short amount of time. During such weather conditions, the water conditions and fish behavior will change accordingly, and you will find that most of your usual fishing techniques will not work. More often than not, fish tend to stay below the surface when there are moderate rains about, thus rendering dry flies ineffective. That said, you’ll want to use baits and lures that appeal to fish hiding near logs, rocks and vegetation.
Fly Fishing in Heavy Rains
Heavy rains happen when it has been pouring rather strongly for almost the whole day. During such weather conditions, you will see a noticeable rise in the water levels and increase in the water current which means that you’ll have to be more careful than usual. You’ll also notice that the water is much more murky than usual. Fishermen usually take advantage of this by using streamers, flashes, and wooly buggers as the fish will have relatively impaired vision in murky waters.
What to Wear when Fly Fishing in the Rain
What you wear when fishing becomes even more important when it’s raining. Although you should expect to get wet during this adventure, you should still take necessary precautions to prevent you from getting thoroughly soaked and feeling cold. By staying relatively dry and comfortable, it will be much easier for you to enjoy a day of fishing even with the rain pouring overhead.
So, what should you be wearing while fly fishing in the rain? Here are some suggestions.
- Waterproof Jackets. Not all jackets are suitable for wading in streams and low rivers when the rain is pouring down. That said, you’ll want to look for a jacket that has solid waterproof capabilities and not just water-repellent (there are marked differences between waterproof vs. water-resistant) as this will be much better at keeping you dry as you wade through the waters. Also, choose jackets that are breathable and allows you to move and cast easily.
- Rain Hat. Rain hats have wide brims and are made from water-repellent materials. Such hats are necessary to keep rainwater from trickling down to your eyes so you don’t have to constantly wipe your eyes clear with your jacket sleeve.
- Warm Underlayers. Underneath all you water-protective clothing, you’ll want to wear warm underlayers to keep you, well, warm. Being on the water during a rainy day can leave you feeling cold, and if you aren’t careful this may lead to hypothermia. You’ll also want to bring along extra clothes for you to change into after fishing in the rain.
- Fly Fishing Waders. If you’re an avid fly fisher, then you’re most probably already the owner of at least one or perhaps several fly fishing waders. If you’re only about to get one, then you’ll want to do your research to ensure that you get the best fly fishing wader that will suit your budget and needs. Fly fishing waders basically come in two designs: the bootfoot and the stockingfoot wader. Both designs have their own pros and cons and can work pretty well when fly fishing in the rain.
- Wading Boots. If you’re using a stockingfoot fly fishing wader, then you’ll need to pair it with good wading boots (bootfoot waders have built-in boots so you won’t be able to wear any pair of wading boot over them). Look for boots that have a good fit, provide ankle support and have a slip-resistant soled to avoid slipping as you’re wading along slippery rocks.
Staying Safe while Fly Fishing in the Rain
Safety is very important when you go fly fishing, but even more so when you decide to do it while it’s raining. Keep the following tips in mind to ensure that your trip doesn’t end up being a terrible safety hazard.
- If you see lighting flashes in the sky no matter how far they appear to be, get out of the water as soon as possible. Common sense will tell you that water and electricity (or in this case lightning) is never a good mix and waving a 12 foot long graphite fly fishing rod in the air during a lighting storm is never a good idea – ever.
- Observe the water and determine if it’s safe enough for wading. This is especially true during heavy rains where rivers suddenly rise and strong water currents start flowing. If you don’t feel safe heading out to the water, then don’t. The river and the fish will still be there when the weather clears up, and your goal for now is to make sure that you will be as well.
- Always keep an eye on where you’re walking. During rainy days, the water is murkier than usual and will make it difficult for you to see where you’re stepping. Using a collapsible wading staff can help when determining solid walking surfaces under murky waters.
- Always tell someone where you’re going and what time they can expect you to be back. You don’t have to be overly formal about this, a simple phone call or text message will do. If possible, take a friend with you when you go fly fishing when it’s raining. Friends aren’t only good for reminding each other to stay safe, but also for snapping pictures of each other’s catch.
Globo Surf Overview
It is true that rains can sometimes create periods when our waters become unfishable, which is a bummer if you’ve been looking forward to a weekend of fly fishing after a long workweek. However, you don’t have to let the rain stop you from enjoying a day of fishing. With a little planning and preparation, you should still be able to head out to the waters and do some fly fishing in the rain. Keep the above tips in mind as you plan your next fly fishing in rain trip, and you’re bound to stay relatively dry and comfortable throughout the day.