The Brazos has been up for months now. Lately they've been dropping the level, but it happens at night here where I am. By about sunrise it's coming back up again and stays up all day. This led me to try something a bit different than my normal wade fishing.
I stood on the bank and cast out into the deep swift water. There's a small stretch where the bank is open enough behind me to make a back cast. Not a bite.
There's a creel alongside my property also. It empties into the river. Most of the time the river is low and the creek is about a foot deep. When the river is up the creek is up too. At the level the river's been the creek has been about 6 feet deep, maybe 8 feet, hard to tell exactly. It's a difficult place to cast, but I was desperate and decided getting tangled in brush was better than not doing anything.
On my second cast, using a 1" chartreuse gulp minnow on a small hook, I pulled in a crappie. Crappie are rare in this stretch. I've never caught one in the creek as it's usually too shallow. I've caught maybe three in the past 5 years in the river, and years between them. A couple of more casts and I caught another crappie out of the creek. My antenna went up.
Was it possible that a school of crappie had migrated into the creek from the high river? A third crappie told me that yes, there was a school in there. This was on a Friday. By Sunday evening I had caught and released probably around 70 crappie. Some really big ones.
I kept about a dozen of them and had a very fine dinner Friday night.
I was using a floating fly line with no indicator. They were biting so softly that although I could see a couple of feet of my furled leader under the water - and it had some waves in it - I almost never saw it move. The really big ones moved it, but the rest of them didn't.
I found that drifting the line with the current, more of an eddy at the mouth, and twitching it once in a while was the ticket. In order to guess when I had a bite I watched the line and if it did anything that didn't look right for the drift of the water I'd set the hook. Very subtle tells, like when the line slowed just a bit, or stopped drifting. It was more of a gut instinct that something was different than it was an actual observation.
Because they were biting so softly I probably missed ten for every one I caught. Of the ones I kept the larger ones had small egg sacks developing.
Now I don't know whether to hope for wading water or not...