Your cart

Close

Your cart is currently empty.

Login

Close

Reading Water

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.

TRANSCRIPT

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.

An optimal location for trout is where they can hold their ground with minimal resistance and the food comes to them. This could be behind a rock, in front of a rock, or on the side of a rock. Or in deeper water, where the current above is moving faster than it is below. Anywhere there is slow to average paced current with faster water close by.

So, where do we look for these locations?

Anytime moving water hits a solid object, it slows down the current and provides all three of the necessary ingredients for a trout’s optimal holding grounds. When the water hits these objects, it creates what is known as a seam. As a fly fisherman, you are always looking for seams, the area where the fast water is next to slow-moving water.

You typically can find seams on the surface.

Rock Seam
Back Seam
As you see here, the area behind a boulder or outcropping rock can be a good place to start when you are new. It makes an easy target to huck flies and land in the seam zone.

Side Seam
Just as easy a target to learn is the side seam of a rock or boulder. Instead of casting behind the rock, cast up and above the rock and let if float in the seam line.

Pillow Seam
This is also known as the front of the rock. When water pushes up against a rock or boulder, it slows down just enough for trout to hang out and actively feed. When you spot trout in this location, approach with caution so as not to spook them. We will go into detail on hunting for this scenario in our advanced lessons.

River Bend Seam
One of my favorite areas to fish is in a river bend seam. You can cover a lot of ground and these areas typically hold larger amounts of trout.

Head of a Pool
When fish are actively feeding, they will gather at the head of a pool where faster water is coming in. This area is a perfect feeding zone with minimal water resistance.

Tail of a Pool
Just like the head of a pool where the water speeds up, at the tail of the a pool, the water does the same before leaving the area. Typically trout like to feed in water that’s moving at 1 mph. These two zones are optimal locations for that speed.

Undercut Bank
As you scope out the area you want to fish, look at the embankment in front of you and on the opposite side of the river. You will most likely find undercut embankments that can hold MOSTER Trout. These embankments provide shelter and typically have faster moving water in front of them. They’re the perfect hiding place from danger and offer the fish easy access to dive out and catch a meal. When fishing embankments, always approach from the opposite side. Cast as close as you can and let the rig float as long as possible. We will go into more details on different techniques in upcoming lessons.

Shelf Seam
In a few magical places, you will find these shelf formations that are very similar to an undercut bank. Just like an undercut bank, shelf seams are great holding grounds for MONSTER Trout.

Depth Changes
Look for areas that have a sharp depth change in water. If the water is clear, look for darker spots. Light can only travel so far through water, meaning the darker spots are areas of deeper water.

Throughout the year, these holding grounds will change. A shallow area that has no fish during the day might be prime feeding ground for Monster Browns at dusk and at night, when they have the cover of darkness to protect them from danger. In the winter months, the cold water slows down the fishes’ metabolism, so they find the area with the least amount of resistance to save on precious energy. Look for deep holes during this time.

As water temperatures rise, trout will move to areas with easier access to food, but when the water temperature gets above 60, the oxygen level in the water begins to drop, so they will search out areas of shelter with well-oxygenated water such as riffles. The optimal water temperature is between 55 and 60 degrees. Brook trout and cutthroat trout do best in cooler temperatures, while brown trout can withstand slightly warmer temperatures.

If you’re interested in stillwater fishing for MONSTER Trout, check out our Advanced Stillwater Techniques in the Members Portal.

%HHours
%MMinutes
%SSeconds
%-dDays
%HHours
%MMinutes
%SSeconds
%-wWeeks
%-dDays
%HHours
%MMinutes
%SSeconds
%HHours
%MMinutes
%SSeconds
%-dDays
%HHours
%MMinutes
%SSeconds
%-wWeeks
%-dDays
%HHours
%MMinutes
%SSeconds