BANK high river levels and chocolate-coloured water may look unappealing, but fish still need their grub and know where to find it.

River fishing in floods can intimidate many anglers, and stillwaters and canals are often considered better bets.

Can you fish in a flooded river? Quite simply, yes – and doing so can lead to some big fish to.

Is flooding good for fishing? Yes, it can be… if you apply some special thinking. You may land on a stack of fish and enjoy a large haul.

What happens to fish during a flood? They often move to calmer water where they use less energy to fight the increased flow. Keep that in mind when choosing where to fish, and do be prepared to move if you don’t get action.

Above all, make sure you are fishing safely when fishing in floods.

Banks are likely to be wet and slippery. River flow can be treacherous in places. Even walking to the banks, across flooded fields, you could come a cropper.

Do not put your own fishing before your own life. Some bank anglers wear lifejackets in such conditions, or tie a safety rope to link themselves to a tree or a post in the bank. No fish is worth risking your life for.

Angler’s Mail contributor Matt Sparkes offers these top tips for flood fishing.

Large bridge buttresses offer calmer water whenever river levels rise.

They also protect fish – and your rig from debris shooting past in the flow.

Often you can present a float in these safe havens, but flicking out a large feeder is preferred.

Slacks formed by overhanging branches are another flood fishing hotspot where many species shelter.

Use a large bait dropper to introduce feed on the deck.

It’s a waste of time throwing it in – it will simply toll around in the current and drift downstream.

A heavy lead that anchors our bait securely in the flow is more likely to be taken that rig washed around into debris and snags.

Flat leads and oval feeders will hug the bottom best.

Tape up some of the feeder holes to slow the feed discharge.

Smell makes a huge difference in coloured water.

A bait soaked in a stinky liquid booster is perfect for flood tactics, and don’t be shy about using a proper mouthful.

Paste baits also work very well, releasing their flavours much more effectively than boiled baits.

Good luck if you’re going river fishing in floods. If you make a great catch, please email photos and info exclusively to: You could get into print with us.


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