How Does Severe Flooding Change Fishing?

The numbers off young fish (called ‘fry’) that die off during a severe flood is staggering! Because we are in a period of changing weather (according to scientists), the numbers of young fry dying in flooding conditions will increase.

What Happens to Fish During a Flood?



Flooding Affects Fishing!


Generally, trees and vegetation along  water’s banks protect them from gravel and debris scouring the bottom of the body of water during a flood.

Spring flooding often causes water to overflow onto land without tearing up the waterways and killing so many fish!

However, in winter, when less vegetation is available and snow covers and collects along river beds, it causes the debris in water to scour and erode riverbeds and waterways (the weight of the snow/water digs deeper into the ‘floor’ of the riverbed/waterway).

Why is Flooding So Devastating to Fish?

As water rushes along carrying debris and rocks, fish are killed by virtue of being in the ‘wrong place at the wrong time.’

The value of trees and bank vegetation  is significant year-round.  However in winter, those trees and vegetation do not allow the snow to compact around the edges of the water.

Thus, water is able to spill out over the banks, instead of allowing the increased weight of the water  from digging deeper into the riverbeds and waterways.

Young fry usually live just under the water’s surface – along the water’s margins.  As  water rises in a flood, the upper layer of water and fry are washed over the banks, to be stranded and then to die.

Fishing in a Flood

In my experience,  people experiencing a flood are unlikely to ponder the possibilities of fishing.

They are too busy trying to save their property — and themselves!  This is just as well, because fishing during these times is usually less than spectacular!

Fishing is affected by many variables, including barometric pressure, wind, water currents, etc.  Therefore, it is impossible to say, ‘Fishing is a waste of time just after a flood.’

However, scientists tell us that fish have evolved to the point where they can sense atmospheric changes and major weather pattern shifts.

During  times of unrest, fish are most likely to move to deep pools and “hunker-down” until they sense the danger is over.


This blog is a companion to my website:


Published in: on September 18, 2009 at 8:08 am  Comments Off on How Does Severe Flooding Change Fishing?  
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