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

Night Shift – Skunked

Night Shift – Skunked

I've read a lot of fishing blogs, and I can't recall any accounts of a complete shut out.  I've seen lots of hero poses with gorgeous slabs of wild trout spilling over wet, dripping hands with the flash of a fly rod reflecting in the sun. My RSS feed is filled with...

Night Shift – The Thicket

Night Shift – The Thicket

Friday night I wrapped up my gig at the Phyrst with my buddy Noah, then made the transformation from musician to fisherman again. I've done this a bunch of times now, and the thorough contrast in venues is remarkable: from the noise and chaos of the State College bar...

Night Shift – Christmas Lights

Night Shift – Christmas Lights

I decided to fish close to home and in a section that rolls through a small neighborhood.  No, it's more like a series of cabins.  It was an odd choice.  A great choice during the day, but at night I always try to stay away from light sources because I've learned that...

The Backing Barrel

The Backing Barrel

A decade ago I learned about euro-nymphing, and I was impressed with the rig. I gradually made the switch from a Joe Humphreys nymphing style, worked my way through the short line tactics, then lengthened the leader and learned to fish at distance.  I believe...

Night Shift – One of These Days …

Night Shift – One of These Days …

One of these days I'm going to file an amazing night fishing report . . . I started about an hour before dark, and action was crazy good on nymphs. Basically, I was Frank Nale-ing it, but just imagine what I could have done with a gold bead white spinner. Right before...

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