5 tips for fishing coloured rivers

Autumn rains mean floods and chocolate-coloured rivers. Here’s how to tackle them and keep catching...

5 tips for fishing coloured rivers

by Angling Times |

Fish the pole feeder

Sometimes, the flow caused by extra water will be too strong to fish the pole, even with a flat float. The answer is a hybrid tactic called the pole feeder. This basically sees you fish a feeder on the pole with only a length of line leading to the feeder and hookbait. Feed groundbait and lower the feeder over the spot, and then keep a tight line to the feeder by putting the pole in a bump bar on your seatbox. Bites will show up as positive bangs on the pole tip and can sometimes pull the elastic out! It’s very much a big-fish method using big hookbaits.

Fish the pole feeder
Fish the pole feeder

Look for smooth water

Where will the fish be when there’s extra water in a river? Roach and bream prefer even, steady-paced areas known as ‘smooth’ water. Any part of the peg where there are swirls or boils on the surface signals uneven flow and possibly snags. Spend some time looking at the water and the pace too – if the flow is ripping through, it might be too fast to catch from. Slacker water will then need seeking out, and this is normally found closer to the bank.

Look for smooth water
Look for smooth water

Use Fluoro hookbaits

Visibility will be minimal in coloured water, so hookbaits need to be made as easy as possible for the fish to find. Bright fluorescent pink maggots and pinkies are winners compared to bronze or white colours, and can be fished in twos, or even threes, on the hook. Adding them to groundbait is also good, typically packing as many into the mix as you can. Another great coloured water bait with an eye on big fish is a lobworm tail. This releases lots of juices into the water and is much loved by roach, perch and bream.

Use Fluoro hookbaits
Use Fluoro hookbaits

Rely on groundbait

Firing bait in with a catapult will only spread the fish out down the swim, making them hard to pin down and catch. In coloured water, the aim is to have the fish feeding in one spot where you can lower in a rig or cast a feeder to.

That means groundbait as your main feed. The target fish in a coloured river will be roach, bream and skimmers, and groundbait is just made for them. Pot in several balls of a sticky mix designed for rivers that holds lots of goodies such as casters, pinkies and chopped worm on to one spot, and then fish the rig tight over this.

Rely on groundbait
Rely on groundbait

Think big fish

When rivers colour up with warm rain, big bags of bream win matches, and quality roach and perch can appear from nowhere, so your plan needs to factor these in.

Keep a part of your swim reserved for a

big-fish line using worms or bunches of maggots on the hook, and feed here more positively with lots of bait, because a group of hungry bream can easily polish off a few balls of groundbait.

A great line for this is just at the bottom of any marginal slope or shelf where the deepest part of the swim begins – a good spot for perch.

Think big fish
Think big fish
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