In stream fishing, 90 percent of the fish are found in 10 percent of the water. Here’s how to find out where that is.
LEARN THE LINGO
A stream pool is the area of slow to moderate current, usually located below waterfalls, chutes or runs. Pools almost always hold the deepest water within a stream. This is one reason they are so attractive to fish. For a fish, deep water means safety. The pool’s head is the uppermost section of the pool. The pool’s tail is the downstream boundary, the place where the water stops running at a fast pace.
TAKE IT TO THE STREAM
As current enters a pool, it carries organisms that offer trout and bass a steady food supply. The fish will station themselves at the pool’s head where they don’t have to move far in order to feed. The heads of pools almost always hold fish. Hot summer days are usually the best times to target them.
IF THEY DON’T BITE, MOVE DOWN
Another prime location is a pool’s tail. Here, the water moves slowly, and many fish station themselves at the tail in order to pick off any insect or small fish that is being carried downstream by the current. Early or late in the day, when the light is low, is usually the best time to fish a pool’s tail.
Remember to keep your movements and noise to a minimum. These fish spook easily.
LOOK FOR COVER
Another important area is the pool’s main piece of cover. This might be a sunken log or an old tire. It could be a boulder in the deepest part of the pool. A prominent piece of cover not only gives fish a location from which to ambush their prey, but it also provides a comfortable place to rest and conserve energy. Find this important cover, and you’ve found the fish. Often, this spot will hold the largest fish within a pool. Once you learn to identify these key features, you’ll find yourself fishing pools with greater confidence and success.
Want to learn more about fishing streams? Try these books:
- “Trout from Small Streams,” by Dave Hughes (Stackpole Books, 2003)
- “Reading the Water: A Fly Fisher’s Handbook for Finding Trout in All Types of Water,” by Dave Hughes (Stackpole Books, 1988)
- “Small Stream Bass,” by John Gifford (The Countryman Press, 2002)
- “Fishing Rivers and Streams,” by Dick Sternberg (Creative Publishing International, 1990)