Throughout most Western trout streams, the water temperature is starting to warm up and the water levels are coming back down. As this happens, you will find the residents of your local river will start to move into my favorite spot to target them, the riffles. Here are 7 points to help you solve the riddle of fishing riffles.
- Look before you step into the river or even cast. Fish can be right in front of you.
- Fish sit shallower than you think. And not just in transition zones or drop offs. A shallow riffle with consistent depth and flow is a great area for them to feed. I love fishing riffles that are knee high or shallower. The moving water above the fish will have them feeling protected and sitting in water much shallower than you are used to.
- If you aren’t hitting the bottom, you aren’t going to catch many fish. If I go 3 or 4 casts without nicking the bottom, I am adding more weight. In quick current speeds, it takes longer for your flies to sink. You don’t just want to be hitting bottom at the end of the drift, you want to hit bottom throughout your drift. In my opinion, the best way to do this is to use more weight to get your flies down as opposed to adding more depth to your indicator.
- If you see a fish move near your flies, set the hook. Lots of times your flies get caught up in subsurface hydrology causing there to be some slack between your flies and your indicator. This means a fish can eat, and the indicator might not move.
- When sight casting at a fish, cast just past your target, then pull your flies back towards you. Once you are directly inline with the fish, let your flies drift naturally downstream.
- Fish with confidence. If you see a fish in the riffles, he is expending energy to be there. The only way to replace that energy is to eat! If you get a couple drifts in front of him and he doesn’t eat or spook, switch your flies up because that fish is feeding!
- The warmer the water, the more you should be fishing the riffles. Moving water like riffles contains more dissolved oxygen. Trout and trout food (aquatic insects), both like lots of dissolved oxygen.
More on Western Trout: