2fly Guide Service

Skill of the Day: Reading Water 1

We've talked about line management and drift control, so now let's talk about reading water. It's important to note that trout have basic needs for survival. They need water below 70 degrees F, highly Oxygenated water, shelter, and a readily available food source. When approaching a stream, I first consider these aspects prior to fishing. If you know that the stream has trout in it, then you know that the water temp is satisfactory, it then comes down to the other three factors. When water is turbulent, then it picks up O2 in the process. So current seams and waterfalls are high in O2. The next question is does these locations provide shelter and food. The answer is usually yes. Rocks are a major location for aquatic insects to hide and grow until completing their life cycle. The turbulence will cause some of these insects to become dislodged and provide that easy meal that all predators prefer. Are there areas for the trout to feel secure and out of the main current? Big boulders and ledges are perfect ambush points for trout to dive into the main current seam and feed and then return back to protected shelter. When approaching any stream, it's important to see the mini rivers within the river. I usually break the main river into many small rivers and fish each one individually. Don't pass over water that meets the needs of trout. Trout will feed in water that is less than 12"s deep. Fish the areas with the strategy of if I was a trout where would I stage to feed. Observe the current patterns and imagine how dislodged bugs are going to drift within the seam you are fishing. So, a summary of Part 1 is this: Trout have basic needs, find the water that meets this need, try to ascertain how the food source will move through the water, use line management and drift control to put your flies in these target areas. Part 2 will go into deeper detail on water hydraulics and tactics. Have a great day and see you on the Reever!