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Thread: High Stickin' in Clear Water?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Default High Stickin' in Clear Water?

    I am looking for some quick tips on high sticking.

    I fished Deep Creek this weekend with moderate success. This Spring, I had the opportunity to fish with Hugh Hartsell for a day and he tutored me on the art of high sticking. Hugh is a master, and I am a poor pupil, but I love this form of nymphing.

    I would love suggestions on high stickin in clear water. I tried to hide behind as many rocks as possible, but frequently there were some good runs that just had nothing to hide behind. So, I'd walk to the bottom third of the run, toss a nymph into the top and high stick to the end. I had very limited success, although my best fish of the trip came on this method.

    My fear is that I was spooking the fish as I walked up to the run. But, I felt like I had to be close in order to keep the line out of the water.

    Can you high stick from a longer distance, or should you be resigned to a long cast where your line lays on the water, and you watch for a twitch?

    Thanks for the help.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Seymour, Tn


    Kinda the "improvise,adapt, and overcome" which seems you have done just that...evaulating a situation that is out of the norm and finding a way to compensate. I like to go with a longer rod that I can keep me perpendicular to the run I'm fishing allowing a little further away. I like to use a 10 ft rod for that. But if you really wanted to go die hard on the high sticking, they make crappie rods that are built like fly rods up to 15 feet that would really let you reach out.
    In ultra clear water you might be able to get close and high stick on waters that are heavily fished in that fish are used to seeing people and don't run off -like in some tailwaters. But a careful stalk, stay low, and wearing drab colors, you'd be surprised how close you really can get to fish in general in clear water.
    May you find a rise in every puddle... - WATERBORN

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Wink Forgive my sense of humor

    "Walk softly, and carry a big stick". Not only is concealment or camo a necessary tactic, but stealth in one's approach might also need to be addressed, especially with dry leaves and limbs on the ground near or next to a good run or pool.

    It's amazing how well sound carries from land into water. I have been several yards from a pool and stepped on something such as a dry stick that broke only to see fish respond to the noise and seek cover.


    PS: Howdy Waterborn, I believe we met at the Spring Creek section next to the Abram's Trailhead last winter.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2006


    Thanks for the replies.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Crossville, TN


    Robert, you can fish nymphs this way from a greater distance although it probably isn't exactly highsticking after a certain point. The biggest challenge to fishing at a distance of course is line management. I will often fish nymphs at distances up to 20-30 feet in the park but my technique is not as clean as it is when I just have a foot or so of line beyond my rod tip. You can and will catch fish this way though. In faster water, sometimes the best way to get your fly down is to cast further upstream and let it drift back towards you. By the time it is close (as it is in what we generally would think of as highstickin'), the fly is down deep in the strike zone and can be fished much more effectively.
    "Then He said to them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.'" Matthew 4:19

    Guided Fly Fishing with David Knapp
    The Trout Zone Blog
    contact: TroutZoneAnglers at gmail dot com

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