Fishing after rain?

G’day team, I thought I would seek the greater combined wisdom and experience of whether fishing after a period, say a day, of rain has been productive for you. If so, any more than usual or has it been not productive?

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The only time I have found fishing after rains to be counterproductive is, if it increases the stream or river’s flow substantially. Or, there is a quick temperature decrease if precipitation is falling at higher altitudes, like on a mountain, and I’m fishing a lower elevation portion of the stream. Or, the turbidity increases along with increased flow so the fish have a more difficult time of seeing their meal. Or, the rains affect the flow in such a drastic manner that it makes wading unsafe.

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Hi @Nimbus. My short answer is, yes.

The actual answer depends on several factors:

  • Time of year
  • How much rain is received
    *Whether or not streams go off-color
  • The size of the stream I’m fishing

For example, in the spring and early summer, nearly any amount of rain more than 10-15mm (~1/2") dramatically increases flow rate and turns streams off-color, making fishing lousy.

In the summer and autumn, nearly the exact opposite is true. Rain is very welcome and more often than not, fishing improves.

The size of the stream also has a factor. Most of what I fish ranges from about 1m (3’) wide to about 6m (18’) wide and those are usually more heavily impacted by rain, especially on the smaller end.

Edit: I completely agree with @R_Ruff about temperature. Had forgotten about that factor too.

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From my own experience as little as it is, I have noticed a little better success after a rain here in my area. I’ve noticed more success right before a shower. After if the river is still safely able to be waded there is a stealth advantage from the waters being less clear with the run off. With increased flow the fish will hug closer to the bottom and other cover most of the time as well. More so than they normally do. Getting the fly deep down in the current can be a challenge.

I am new here and still new to tenkara. I am not an expert in any way :smile:

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Looking at the picks you had of your streams I would guess that your water is probably easily stained.

The couple pics you shot seemed to show slower water that had fine sediment. Typically I find water with more sediment more challenging. It does help cloak your presence, but also it will cloak your presentation. Sometimes this is a good thing as the fish cannot get a good look at your fly, and sometimes its bad…because they can not react to something they may not see.

There are a number of things that one can do to improve productivity. Have more visible flies. brighter materials that glow can help and although it may seem counter intuitive…a true black can be the most visible. Also relying on vibration to get trout to respond. This can be tricky as too much motion may cause fish to miss, but at least you may see them. Skating and other manipulation can work.

If water levels rise lot, the trout may move. Sometimes they will be on the edges if the river swells a lot. If you know the river consider fishing areas that you do not normally. Change your pattern and treat it like a new river…because it is.

This note is not to put down the use of worm pattern or beadheads. I have used them a lot and with fantastic success. I think its fair to use them and they have been the gateway to give me success on the water when nothing else worked. As my manipulation skills have improved, I am hoping that those forms are slowly replaced in my flybox. Tenkara techniques do not include worm patterns or beadheads. Its a challenge to just use tenkara techniques and its a path I am trying to get on.

If your objective is to catch some of those browns in high water or stained water or whaterver. Hands down Jims killer worm is just off the hook. I tie my own and have a buddy who’s box is just this pattern. It feels like cheating because it is so effective. It has a lot of motion and visibility. My buddy and I call it “the creature”. If my objective was to bring a fish to table I would use this pattern. If I were harvesting fish for a living, I would use this pattern.

This fly is not for Tenkara purists because it is not a tenkara pattern.


Great topic! I don’t know that their is a definative answer but I think the responses so far are great issues to consider or think about in terms of your approach given what you see on the river you happen to be fishing and taking into account knowledge it having rained.

Temperature (which was mentioned) can change things in all directions so @R_Ruff example is a good one but it can go in the other direction too. For example in a small stream fed by underground water in a fairly average temp of 50’s might jump up due to a rain shower. If that shower was the day before the stream might be clear already but slightly warmer and might spur some greater action…both bugs and fish. Or in early season when the water is cold…a lot of rain might warm it up!

When the water is off color and not clear…I tend to look for slow areas and work stiff hackles or western dry patterns like elk hair caddis and ashtapa them :slight_smile: or skitter or tome zuri (hold in the current to make a wake). Lots of things fall into the water post storms and fish that are opportunistic will hone in on sound/feel when they can’t see well and because they can’t see you either, they feel confident hitting the top. I have had some of my most memorable HITS in these conditions as the hit actually comes as a bit of a surprise.


Gressak you are correct, the water very becomes stained after a shower.

I haven’t really noticed if the water temperature has changed. The main creek I fish (pictured above) doesn’t go through much change in elevation, and is not fed by melting snow. The water level and flow does pickup quite a bit after rain, but not dangerously.

I wonder if the dissolved oxygen(DO) levels would fluctuate much after rain. Certainly raindrops hitting the surface would help increase oxygen but would the dirt washed into the stream displace DO.

Here in Australia, crayfish have been observed leaving stagnant pools and following the path of the new incoming fresh water source. This is because they can detect the source of the higher DO water and set off, sometimes en mass, to a new pool.
I would think trout would prefer higher DO levels as well, which could trigger increased fish activity.

I’ve only fished once after heavy rain and was unsuccessful. At that time I was also introducing a friend to fixed-line fishing, so my attention was more focused on helping out a first time angler.

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