Where to Find Fish in a River
You'll often hear the term "reading the water" when people talk about river fishing. Once you have some background and spend some time on rivers and creeks you will be able to figure out where the fish are holding. Here six features are described that will help you on your way.
Riffles are shallow areas of a stream that look like rapids. Large rocks under the surface break up the flow of the water. This causes more oxygen to enter the water. In the summer, when the water is warm, the oxygen content in other areas of the stream drops. Fish will often hold in riffles because of the higher oxygen content found there. As well, the broken surface of the water makes it difficult to see into the water. This creates a cover that protects the fish from predators. Fish will sit behind the rocks where the flow is not as strong. They will dash out to grab food as it floats by.
Logs and Trees in Water
Getting preyed on by birds such as eagles and ospreys is a real problem for fish. They often hide under fallen trees or log jams that occur on a creek or a river. If you see a log or tree that is lying near the shore, it is a good idea to drift your fly beside it. If you see a windfall (a fallen tree hanging over the stream or river) drift your fly underneath. Be careful, since a caught fish can wrap your line around a branch and snap it. If you see a log jam across the river fish will be holding there as well. A fly placed close to this log jam will often bring a fish to it. These areas can be good for fishing especially if a deeper area of flowing water is near.
Watch for overhanging bushes that have deeper flowing water beneath them. Fish like this area for two reasons: 1) the bush provides protective cover and 2) bugs will often fall off the bush and provide food for the fish.
Pools are areas in a river or stream that become suddenly deeper. Fish like to hold in these areas because the flow is not quite as strong. Also the depth of the pool offers protection from predators. Food gathers in these areas as well.
Seams divide areas of faster and slower flowing water. On the slower flowing side of the seam you will often find "back eddies." These are areas where the water will flow in a circular fashion. As fish food moves down the stream and enters the seam it will slow down and swirl about. Fish feed here. This is why seams are a good area to look for fish.
Cut Bank or Undercut
A cut bank is created when flowing water digs out part of the bank below water level. They are usually found where a stream or river goes around a bend. Look for the cut bank on the outside part of the bend. Fish like to "hang out" in cut banks because they offer good protection fomr predators. When fishing, try to get your fly to drift right under the bank.