Water Levels Affect Fishing Potential

April 9, 2018

If you pass a dried-up creek bed or local reservoir, you may think that you’re better off hunting for fish somewhere else. However, lower water levels may actually indicate some of the best fishing possible! It’s important to understand the interaction between rising and falling water levels and fish behavior. Some species of fish, like bass, are particularly sensitive to water level changes. Always be sure to consult with a local fishing expert and check the local fishing report in Fraser, CO before you embark on your next trip.

Water levels consistently change throughout the year in nearly all freshwater bodies, including rivers, reservoirs and lakes. Understanding how local fish populations react to changing water levels takes time and dedication. If you are visiting Colorado and are hoping to catch some fish during your trip, it’s advisable to join professional fishing tours in Fraser, CO.

Falling versus rising water levels

Fish behave differently when water levels are falling or rising. This change is probably imperceptible to the naked eye; however, a few rules of thumb apply. In the High Rockies, most water levels consistently rise throughout the early and mid-spring, tapering off in late April or early May. As snowmelt slows, the water levels then begin to fall consistently through late August.
Occasionally, however, outstanding weather events disrupt this pattern and change the way that water levels in the region behave. The only way to be certain if water is falling or rising is by placing a marker at the water line, and consistently observing it over a period of several days or weeks.

When water levels are falling, fish are more likely to cluster in deeper pockets, hiding under structures like rocks and roots. When water levels are extremely low, fishers should seek out deep, isolated pockets with lots of shade and shelter. This is where most fish, particularly freshwater bass, are likely to be.
During periods of rising water levels, most fish will be further dispersed, congregating in shallower areas near grass and other forms of structural shelter. As water levels rise, fish consistently move closer to the water’s edge.

This means that while you may want to fish deeper out in the lake, reservoir or river during the late summer and fall, you should spend much of your spring fishing closer to the banks.
Since 2004, Winter Park Flyfisher has been the premier source of fishing trips in Fraser, CO. We are proud to provide some of the most interesting and engaging fishing experiences in the region. If you are looking for a unique and exciting way to interact with Colorado’s rich natural beauty and taste the bounty of its marine wildlife for yourself, schedule a fishing expedition with Winter Park Flyfisher today.

We also carry all the supplies you need to successfully plan and execute your own fishing trip, including equipment from renowned brands like Patagonia. We look forward to helping you—just be sure to ask us for our fishing report in Fraser, CO before you leave!

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