Fly-fishing is one of the oldest methods of fishing for trout and fish in general in the United States and has become increasingly popular over the last few decades. Fly-fishing involves practiced skill and an ability to spot fish and places that may hold fish. Reading the water is one of the most difficult aspects of fly-fishing, or any fishing for that matter and takes years to understand. However, there are a few thing on can do to increase his or her knowledge of fly-fishing and fish spotting techniques, which will eventually lead to more fish that are landed. A few ways to increase one’s odds at finding and catching fish when fly-fishing is by understanding what type of currents and pools hold fish.
Above-water Fish Spotting
There are a few ways that a person can find fish without reading the water. One of those ways is to find higher ground where you can look into the water. By looking into the water for a minute or two, one’s eyes will adjust and may be able to actually see fish in the water. The easiest way to achieve water vision is to wait long enough until your eyes begin to see things underwater such as limbs and leaves. Once you can identify leaves and other debris, you will begin to notice other things. At times, your eyes may play tricks on you, which is why you should only look for a few minutes and look away. However, eventually, you will see fish moving in the water swimming around rocks and other underwater structure. After you have spotted the fish from above, you should not immediately try to cast directly at them. It is best to position your bait away from the fish and strip the line to draw your bait into the fish, which will look more natural.
Another place that fish tend to settle is within currents. Fish will wait in rapid currents below a fall in the river in order to catch bait fish that have been swept through that particular channel. Some rapids may hold fish while others do not. The key way to spot these currents is to look for volume and depth underneath the current. If the water comes rushing over a natural rock dam and slows significantly, there is a good chance that there is deep water underneath. The deeper the water, the more of a chance that there are fish inside those currents. The reason for this is because falling water into deeper water creates oxygen by stirring creating a hydraulic effect underneath the surface. A deep slough after a waterfall indicates that the slough has been there for many years and has carved a deep underwater trough from the constant rushing water from the fall. Sometimes, there are falls that are relatively new although they are easily spotted because the bottom is easily seen, which indicates shallow troughs. These areas may hold a few fish although the fish are probably young and small.
Finally, another sure spot that fish tend to gather are the deeper pools within the river that develop from troughs. The best way to spot deep pools is to find a place where a number of currents seem to run together and the water tends to stop running or curve back on itself. These spots normally occur near the sides of the river at bends. Water may form on the sides and eventually create a pool of water. As long as there are plenty of sloughs for the water to form, there will be fish in the pool. The best way to catch fish in these pools is to use sinking flies, which will fall and attract fish at lower depths. However, if water is stagnant and has scum or algae sitting on top that is an indication of stagnant pools that hold very little oxygen, which in turn, holds very few fish. By studying the water each time you go fishing, you will be on your way to reading the water and catching more fish in a short amount of time.