Fly Fishing Low Water: Lengthen the Leader

A nice trout taken a couple weeks ago during low, clear water.
A nice trout taken with a longer leader by a father-son combo during low, clear water.

It’s no secret that fly fishing in low, clear water can present challenges that anglers are not faced with during normal water conditions. One way that anglers can put more fish in the net during technical conditions from low water is by fishing with a longer leader.

In most situations, the length of the leader is not a factor that decides whether or not a fish will spook. In most situations, the fish are not spooked by the fly line being to close to them. Fly fishing during low water is not most situations.

During low and clear water conditions, fly line that lands or drifts too close can put a feeding fish down. Under these circumstances it can be advantageous to consider fishing a leader that is longer than what you would normally fish.

For example, if I usually fish leaders that are around 9ft in total length from the tip of the fly line to the fly. Instead, I would choose to fish leaders that are around 11-13ft in total length from the tip of the fly line to the fly during low clear water.

Just the difference of a couple feet in leader length can impact the number of fish put in the net during the technical conditions that low, clear water usually presents. Fishing a leader just a couple feet longer will help eliminate spooking fish, or getting refusals during drifts.

The next time you are faced with fishing low, clear water consider adding a couple feet to your normal leader preference. This is a great time of the year to brush up on low water tactics that will help improve your angling skill-set.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *