Night Fishing for Trout — Bank Water

by | Aug 12, 2018 | 0 comments

** This Troutbitten article is part of the Night Fishing for Trout series. You can find the full list of articles here. **

On the luckiest nights, large and medium sized trout move to the shallows, searching for an easy meal. Trout visit thin water when they feel protected by the cover of darkness, and because they find baitfish of all types unguarded and ready to be devoured. This is also when trout are most vulnerable to the skilled night fisher.

I have a bank-first approach on most nights, hoping I may hit it right and find actively feeding fish near the edges. On some rivers I wade to the middle and fish back to the boundary. And where the water is too deep to wade the center, I may stay tight to the bank, working downstream by swinging my flies or working upstream against the bank and drifting them. Regardless of the presentation used, bank water is my first target.

It’s not all the same, of course. There are deep undercuts around the outside bends, and shallow gravel bars on the insides. And while all of it’s worth a shot, I have my favorite — give me the shallow stuff.

First Crack

The rooted undercut banks with deep holding water are hard to pass up. And I’ll cast to them, but not first. I like shallow bank water best — from eight inches to two feet of depth and close to the bank. Trout here seem most willing to feed at night, and if I catch one I expect to hook a few more in the same type of water. Trout like to do what their friends are doing.

Perhaps the banks are most productive because they provide the best target. Even on darker nights, an angler gains a good sense about where the edge of the river is located. There may be similar water nearby (and it may hold baitfish), but it can be harder to find and fish effectively than the edge of a river.

“Trout here seem most willing to feed at night, and if I catch one I expect to hook a few more in the same type of water. Trout like to do what their friends are doing.”

So I spend a good half of my nights fishing the perimeters. And good bank water is found with varying speeds. I have confidence in sections that flow at a healthy jogging pace, and I like lazy backwater that’s barely moving. Everything in between those two speeds is a good target. Seasonally, if the river is warming and approaching the high sixties (Fahrenheit), I find fewer fish in the backwater and more in the riffles. However, that preference might flip in the colder months.

Look around. Prime bank water at night may very well be the kind of place you’d walk through during the day. It’s right where you might stand to cast into the deeper stuff. At night, try reversing your impulse — stand in the deep water and fish to the shallows. And if that doesn’t work, then by all means, cast to the other bank too.

Search for areas like deep buckets and troughs, places where you might nymph up the largest trout during a day trip. Then find the water next to it that tapers out to a level just ankle deep. Start there. On many nights, the trout start there too.

Fish hard, friends.

 

Enjoy the day.
Domenick Swentosky
T R O U T B I T T E N
domenick@troutbitten.com

 

Share This Article . . .

Since 2014 and 700+ articles deep
Troutbitten is a free resource for all anglers.
Your support is greatly appreciated.

– Explore These Post Tags –

Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

More from this Category

The Nine Essential Skills for Tight Line and Euro Nymphing

The Nine Essential Skills for Tight Line and Euro Nymphing

Here’s an overview of the essential skills for tight line and euro nymphing. A good grasp and facility for these techniques prepares an angler for all the variations available on a tight line.

These skills are best learned in order, as none of them can be performed without the ones that precede it. So too, these are the steps taken in a single cast and drift, from beginning to end . . .

The Fundamental Mistake of Tight Line and Euro Nymphing Anglers

The Fundamental Mistake of Tight Line and Euro Nymphing Anglers

The critical tight liner’s skills must be learned up close before they can ever be performed at distance. There are no shortcuts.

Your next time out with a tight line, be mindful of your casting distance. Stay within two rod lengths and find a rhythm. If you feel like you have to fish further away, then you’re in the wrong water. Relocate, get close, and perfect your short game. Even for advanced anglers who can stick the landing at thirty-five feet, if the action is slow, fishing short is almost always the best solution. Get back to the basics and refine them . . .

Never Blame the Fish

Never Blame the Fish

When everything you expect to work produces nothing, don’t blame the fish. Think more. Try harder.

When your good drifts still leave the net empty, then don’t settle for good. Make things perfect. Never blame the fish . . .

Fighting Big Fish With Side Pressure — Not With the Rod Tip Up

Fighting Big Fish With Side Pressure — Not With the Rod Tip Up

Side pressure pulls the trout from its lane. While the fish faces the current and tries to hold a seam, side pressure moves that trout from its comfort zone and forces it to work against the force of our bent fly rod — all while keeping the trout low. And while we never want to play a trout to exhaustion, the art of a good trout fight is in taking them to the point where we have more control over their body than they do.

You Already Fished That

You Already Fished That

If you’re committed to working a section of river, then once you’ve done your job in one lane, trust what the trout tell you. Don’t re-fish it, and don’t let the next cast drift down into the same spot again either. Sure the water looks good, and that’s why you fished it in the first place. But you’ve already covered it. So let it go, and focus on the next target. Trust the next opportunity . . .

What do you think?

Be part of the Troutbitten community of ideas.
Be helpful. And be nice.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Articles

Recent Posts

Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

Pin It on Pinterest