Articles With the Tag . . . reading water

Carry the Fly Rod In Front or Behind? An Eternal Debate Continues

Maybe this is something you’ve never given any thought to. And maybe you’re tired of cursing the limbs and brush while untangling and undoing unintended knots. Maybe not.

Keeping the tip behind you results in far fewer hang ups. Truly, the rod tends to glide along easier through places you’ve already been . . .

Tip — Don’t Rig Up at the Truck

Why guess about what the trout will be eating? Why decide how much weight you will need? Why even choose nymphs over dries or streamers until you see the water? Unless you back the truck down to the river’s edge and drop the tailgate right there, you don’t really know what the water will look like. And you don’t have enough intimate detail about where you’ll make the first cast . . .

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

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 . . .

Tip — Don’t Rig Up at the Truck

Tip — Don’t Rig Up at the Truck

“What fly are you starting with?” “I don’t know yet.” “How much weight are you using?” “Not sure.” “How long of a tippet are you tying on?” “I haven’t decided.” At the start of the trip, after lacing my boots and grabbing the fly rod, I’m gone. I don’t rig up at the...

Trout Like To Line Up In Productive Seams

Trout Like To Line Up In Productive Seams

Good fishing comes in patches. We wade into a prime spot, catch a few trout and miss another, until the action tapers off and we move on. Maybe an unexpected handful of fish comes in a piece of side water, but we find no takers in the next dark pocket. It’s...

Reading Water — Every Rock Creates Five Seams

Reading Water — Every Rock Creates Five Seams

All good trout rivers are full of rocks. Bankside and midstream, big ones and small ones -- rocks are everywhere. Unless the bottom is gravel or sand for long stretches, the composition of the riverbed is a series of boulders and stones scattered in various sizes....

Levels, Resets and New Beginnings

Levels, Resets and New Beginnings

I feel fortunate that I grew up fishing small streams. I learned to read trout water on wooded creeks that roughly paralleled dirt roads or meandered away from them. Access was more often at a dusty pull-off rather than a paved lot. But these weren’t tiny brooks...

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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Perfect from the Start

Perfect from the Start

Never underestimate how far away a trout can see upstream. And never underestimate how far away a trout will refuse a fly. It might drift perfectly, right past the trout. But the decision — the refusal, may have already been made with the fly twenty feet upstream.

Here’s more . . .

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Nobody Home | Nobody Hungry

Nobody Home | Nobody Hungry

Nobody home means there’s no trout in the slot you were fishing. And sometimes that’s true. Nobody hungry suggests that a trout might be in the slot but he either isn’t eating, isn’t buying what you’re selling, or he doesn’t like the way you are selling it.

Does it matter? It sure does!

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New Structure | Old Structure

New Structure | Old Structure

One of my favorite places in the world is a deeply shaded valley that runs north and south between two towering mountains of mixed hardwoods. The forest floor has enough conifers mixed in to block much of the sunlight, even in the winter. The ferns of spring grow tall, and thick moss is spread throughout. The ground remains soft enough here that all large trees eventually surrender to the valley. When they can no longer support their weight in the soft spongy ground, they fall over, leaving a broken forest of deep greens and the dark-chocolate browns of wet, dead bark. It’s gorgeous.

Fallen timber also dictates the course of this cold water stream. The fresh tree falls force the creek to bend away from the hillside. Rolling water carves away the earth and lays bare the rocks — these stones of time, as Maclean puts it. And when water cuts into a neighboring channel, previously dry for centuries, new river banks are undercut and fresh roots exposed . . .

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What Lies Beneath

What Lies Beneath

There’s a world unseen below the surface. The riverbed weaves a course and directs the currents, giving shape to its valley. Water swirls behind rocks. It moves north and south against submerged logs. The stream blends and separates, merges and divides again as vertical columns rise and fall — and all of this in three dimensions. . . . Eventually, knowing and admiring what lies beneath is as easy as seeing what flows above.

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