Pools, riffles, seams, pocket water, tail-outs, and don’t forget to fish the banks! As a matter of fact you should be fishing that bank before you even put a foot into that water…dummy. Sometimes my head spins when I look at a new section of river for the first time. But this is fishing right? The act of setting a hook and landing a fish is only like 5% of your time on the water…or is that just me?
I really do struggle when it comes to breaking down the fish-able water. Sight-fishing is pretty damn easy…once you figure out where the fish are holding. And I tend to fall into the habit of fishing the same runs time and time again…because why not? I know there are fish in that water and I like to catch them. But sometimes you need to wander. It’s a pretty great feeling when you find a new stretch of water and pull a fish out of it. But it can also be overwhelming and frustrating. I mean, look at that photo of the Rocky River up above. You see that tiny spec of a fly fisherman? That’s Gabe. That is a ton of water to cover. And this is only one small section. So, where do you start? Well at the beginning of course…
I fancy myself a bit of an old man in the sense that I watch a lot of fly fishing shows on WFN. I DVR them so that I can skip the commercials…and then I watch the commercials anyway because I want all of the things. But I really like a show that they had on called “In The Loop: Modern Tactics on the Fly”. It was about a young angler named Hunter Hoffler who was a Youth National Champion and a current member of Team USA. Each episode he would meet up with a veteran angler that had some experience to share. A LOT of the show focused on understanding how to read the water and to determine where the fish were holding in the water column. Because, ultimately, that should determine HOW you are fishing. Are the fish rising? Dry-flies. Are they deep in pools? Nymph. You get my drift (fishing pun intended). Watching this show really piqued my interest in understanding all the parts of the water. And the reading below is a really good starting point. It will help answer the age-old question: “Where the hell are all the fish?”
Bit of a long read here…but this basically explains everything you need to know to go out and “prospect” a trout stream. This was written by Tom Rosenbauer. He is basically the go-to authority on everything fly-fishing.
Midcurrent – “Reading the Water” – Tom Rosenbauer
Since we live in Cleveland and primarily fish for steelhead we tend to like fishing the pocket water. I can’t tell you how many I have set (an immediately broke off) right behind a rock or a log.
Fly Fishing Pocket Water
And to expand on “Key Place #3” from the article here is something from the Orvis learning center and the man, the myth, the legend once again, Tom Rosenbauer:
Orvis Learning Center – How to fish around rocks and logs
So there you have it. Never be overwhelmed again! Now you know where all the fish will be all the time. So no more excuses…