Reading The Water - Fly Fishing For Beginners

In this lesson, we will go into the art of reading the water. You might ask, why do I need to learn how to read the water, or what do you mean by reading the water, is it a book? Reading the water is finding the most optimal place that trout inhabit and where they will be feeding.

In many of the big rivers, no more than 10% of the water holds fish. So being able to recognize where trout reside and feed will improve your success on the water.

Trout look for three items when finding perfect nesting spots, also known as “lies.”

1. Shelter. This could be cover from a rock, log, undercut bank, or even deeper water or riffles that break up the surface area.

2. Feeding Lane. This is typically a current, or moving water, that brings the meal to the fish.

3. Holding Grounds (or Lie). This is a location with minimal resistance or current.

In this video, we will cover them all.

About the Author
Matthew Bernhardt, a third-generation Coloradan, grew up at the forefront of the state’s fly-fishing revolution, enjoying time on the water, side by side with experienced guides and lifelong anglers.

By combining his passion for fly-fishing with input from other experienced fly-fishers and guides and his fine arts degree from Colorado State University, Matthew spent five years carefully developing the Drifthook Fly Fishing System, built to help every angler catch more trout.

When he’s not spending time with his wonderful family, you’ll find him out on the water catching MONSTER trout, and he anxiously looks forward to the day when his kids are old enough to join him there. 


1 comment


  • Bruce Montgomery

    Thank you for the video. I’m new to fly fishing and will take all the advice you guys provide. This video was quick and loaded with great usable information. Exactly the kind of information I’m looking for in a tutorial video.


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