Podcast — Ep. 6: Reading Water, and Cherry Picking vs Full Coverage

by | Oct 26, 2021 | 10 comments

 The Troutbitten Podcast, Episode 6 is now available everywhere that you find and listen to your podcasts.

** Note **  The Podcast Player and links to your favorite providers appear below

In this episode, my friends join me to share some of their best tips for reading water — seeing a trout stream, recognizing the currents in a river that hold trout and having the confidence to target them.

Then we get into the philosophy of Cherry Picking or Full Coverage. That is, the speed at which we cover water. How fast do you move from one place to the next? And what are the merits of hole hopping or trying to efficiently cover every likely piece of river that holds a trout? Because there are a couple of different ways to approach your time out there. And it’s helpful to think about the best ways to use it.

Reading water is a skill to be learned intentionally or by accident. Among the hundreds of tactical articles on Troutbitten is a full category for reading water, where each article addresses one facet of the skill.

Reading water is something we can all improve upon. By sharing tips, and by understanding how our friends look at the same piece of water, we can see the stream in a whole new way. My friends have some great tips for how they read water.

The conversation then turns to cherry picking and full coverage . . .

The fisherman’s path leads from one prime spot to the next, leaving a good bit of the river — maybe most of it — unfished. That’s cherry picking. It’s choosing the best pieces of water and ignoring the rest. And it can be a great strategy for catching a bunch of fish . . . sometimes. But there are some caveats, too.

Working an entire stretch of water can be harder. But once learned, it might be a more productive long-term strategy. Full coverage of the river reveals a lot more about trout habits and opens up opportunities to grow into a more complete angler. And once you catch on to the rhythm of the process, full coverage is a fun way to fish too. We discuss the merits and the best times for each approach.

The Q&A Round Covers
  • Streamer size vs streamer color
  • Organizing fly tying hooks and beads
  • What’s more memorable — losing a big fish or landing one?
  • Why Trevor hates lunch meat
  • How Josh has cut back on his peanut butter and jelly intake
We Discuss the Following
  • Potholes in riffles
  • The seams around rocks
  • Finding water that is big-fish-speed
  • Looking upstream to find the seams
  • Find feeding fish, then cherry pick
  • Cherry pick to save time
  • Cherry pick out of necessity
  • Full coverage as a learning tool
  • Full coverage out of necessity

READ: Troutbitten | Category | Reading Water
READ: Troutbitten | Cherry Picking vs Full Coverage
READ: Troutbitten | At the Front Door of Every Rock
READ: Troutbitten | Look Upstream to Find the Seams
READ: Troutbitten | Levels, Resets and New Beginnings
READ: Troutbitten | Every Rock Creates Five Seams
READ: Troutbitten | Trout Like to Do What Their Friends Are Doing

Listen with the player above, or . . .

Find the Troutbitten podcast on any of these services:

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Also, find the dedicated Troutbitten Podcast page at . . .


Thank You!

The Troutbitten Podcast continues to grow quickly. I sincerely appreciate the support. Your downloads, subscriptions to the podcast and five star reviews are the key metrics in the podcast world. These kinds of stats help garner financial support from the industry and keep these podcasts coming. So thank you for being part of it all.

Fish hard, friends.


** Donate ** If you enjoy this podcast, please consider a donation. Your support is what keeps this Troutbitten project funded. Scroll below to find the Donate Button. And thank you.


Enjoy the day.
Domenick Swentosky


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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.

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There’s an intangible quality built into the best anglers. It’s about being comfortable and natural around the water. It’s about having an instinct and a guiding intuition on a river that informs decision without even giving it much thought. It’s an innate knowledge of the environment and what will happen next. Knowledge of the woods, water, weather and the trout comes together with ease and adds up to something that is hard to identify.

What do you think?

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


  1. I have been borderline obsessively (depends on who you ask) reading the site articles for the past few years. It has been an incredible educational tool, teaching me so many new ideas, tips and tactics to apply on the water. Likewise, the more philosophical pieces have provided thought provoking content and a great point of reflection. All of the articles are always so well put together, well written and seem to somehow answer so many questions that I have in my mind.
    I had just one complaint about the written articles. While I obsessively read the articles in my free time, there are many times, such as while driving or doing house chores that I simply cannot be reading. Well.. you have solved that problem with this podcast. These episodes have covered great topics, been extremely educational and above all, they are entertaining. So Thank you Dom and the troutbitten guys for all you have provided myself and the fly fishing community through these now two incredible resources. As well, thank you for taking what was a borderline obsession to the next level with this podcast.

    • I like to visit an unfamiliar piece of water when its low and clear, to get a better grasp on it when the water is up.

  2. Dom what is your approach for full coverage during the winter season? With colder water temperatures I find it to be difficult to find fish in the warmer lies like riffles and pocket water which drives everyone to the typical cherry picked spots of deep runs and pools.

    • Hi Derek,

      You bring up a good point that we didn’t cover. I agree, in the winter, there’s more water that I’m likely to skip. That said, I do find that the belief that trout only hold in pools in the winter is untrue. It depends on the river, of course, but around here they still eat in the riffles, albeit on the soft side of the main seams, mostly.

      I think my best piece of advice here is to think smaller targets — not big areas but one foot wide seam.


      • Great advice thank you!

  3. Dom this was a great podcast! Most of the fly fishing podcasts are just a host and guest. I loved that you had a group of guys discussing FF stuff together. I know you probably weren’t drinking a beer together but that’s what I imagined and I was just soaking in the discussion. I learned a lot from it.

  4. Really great podcast Dom lots of good info and by the way thanks for making it so easy to access I’ve spent weeks trying to get to those thanks again keep up the good work


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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.

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