Articles in the Category Reading Water

How We Cover Water (with VIDEO)

Here are a few ideas and guiding principles that work for me every day on my rivers. I don’t try to cover everything. I don’t make grids, but I do make plans. I like to stay creative and follow the signs that trout give me. And for my wading approach, I break things down into three simple strategies: the typewriter, the zig zag and following up one lane . . .

Reading Water in Levels, Lanes and Seams (with VIDEO)

Reading water is a base level skill for every river angler. While mystifying at first, finding the features of moving water becomes second nature in short order. Then, the river opens up and reveals itself, signaling where trout hold, where to cast and how to achieve the necessary presentations.

Levels, lanes and seams are not the structure of a river itself. Instead, the structures of a river — a wide gravel bar, a small island or a midstream boulder create the lanes and seams — the features of your favorite water.

This is how we read a river . . .

(VIDEO) Finding Your Best Fishing Angles

Choosing your casting position based on visibility, working with the light rather than fighting against it, is not an intuitive decision. But by simply moving our body, by wading up, down or over, we change the light, the highlights and the glare on the water. In this way we can see through a section of river from the left side that was under impossible glare from the right . . .

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

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 in Levels, Lanes and Seams (with VIDEO)

Reading Water in Levels, Lanes and Seams (with VIDEO)

Reading water is a base level skill for every river angler. While mystifying at first, finding the features of moving water becomes second nature in short order. Then, the river opens up and reveals itself, signaling where trout hold, where to cast and how to achieve the necessary presentations.

Levels, lanes and seams are not the structure of a river itself. Instead, the structures of a river — a wide gravel bar, a small island or a midstream boulder create the lanes and seams — the features of your favorite water.

This is how we read a river . . .

(VIDEO) Finding Your Best Fishing Angles

(VIDEO) Finding Your Best Fishing Angles

Choosing your casting position based on visibility, working with the light rather than fighting against it, is not an intuitive decision. But by simply moving our body, by wading up, down or over, we change the light, the highlights and the glare on the water. In this way we can see through a section of river from the left side that was under impossible glare from the right . . .

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

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

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 . . .

Finding the (Almost) Invisible Potholes — Reading Water

Finding the (Almost) Invisible Potholes — Reading Water

Just as the taller rock creates a surface wave, the pothole, bucket or depression in the riverbed has a corresponding feature on the surface. It’s a flatter, calmer piece of water — smoother than the surrounding surface currents. Is it harder to recognize? Sure it is. It’s also not as reliable of a sign. But quite often, if you find a calm piece of water, surrounded by mixed currents and minor waves, a pothole lies below.

Be careful what you’re reading, though. The stall, or slower piece of water that lies just downstream of every rock, is not the same thing as a pothole — not at all . . .

Trout Like To Line Up In Productive Seams

Trout Like To Line Up In Productive Seams

Trust the lanes. Trout choose them for a reason. And while it might not make sense to us why they pick one lane over the next, don’t argue with the fish. Wherever you fool a trout, expect to catch his friends in the very same lane. Follow that seam all the way to its beginnings, even if the character of that seam changes from deep to shallow or from slow to fast. Stay in the lane, and trust that more hungry trout are there, waiting to be fooled . . .

Reading Water — Every Rock Creates Five Seams

Reading Water — Every Rock Creates Five Seams

Downstream of every rock are three obvious seams: the left seam, right seam and the slower seam in the middle. That part is easy. But the most productive seams are more hidden, and many anglers seem to miss them altogether. These are the two merger seams, where each fast seam meets the slower part in the middle. And if I had to pick just one target area, day after day and season after season, I would surely choose the merger seams . . .

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Levels, Resets and New Beginnings

Levels, Resets and New Beginnings

The frequent chance for a purely new beginning is one of the joys of small to medium sized rivers. It keeps us hopeful. Forgiveness comes at the next level — across the next lip. This is the time for a deep breath and renewed determination. Because in the next level, over fresh trout that are unwise to our presence, all of our plans will come together. This we believe . . .

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Trout Like To Do What Their Friends Are Doing

Trout Like To Do What Their Friends Are Doing

If you fish hard and pay attention to the details, you’ll often catch, miss or turn enough trout to learn something. At the heart of the puzzle is an eternal question: What do the trout want?

The best days start by learning what most trout in the river are doing. So, gather data toward those questions, and then branch off from there.

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Walk Along — Jiggy On The Northern Tier

Walk Along — Jiggy On The Northern Tier

This article is part of the Walk Along series. These are first person accounts showing the thoughts, strategies and actions around particular situations on the river, putting the reader in the mind of the angler.

Tuck. Drop. Tick. Lead. Now just a five-inch strip with the rod tip up. Pause slightly for the fly to drop. Focus . . . Fish on!

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