When my dad was teaching me to fish for trout in the streams around our home town, there was actually a lot to learn.
One of the most important lessons was finding spots where the fish are. It seems simple, but in a good-sized stream there are lots of places to cast your fly or bait. Identifying the best ones makes the difference between a productive morning fishing and just throwing a hook in the water over and over again (sound a bit like trading?)
Lots of people look for places where fish can take cover – water under a low hanging tree branch or deep holes where fish can lie near the bottom unseen by predators above the surface. If you can identify those spots and pull a convincing hand-made fly or tasty bait past a fish’s nose, you have a chance for a strike.
But I quickly learned that the location to get the most bites is where fish are actively feeding. Finding swirls underneath rapids are good for this. But my favorite was finding a slightly deeper, fast-flowing channel in the middle of a set of rapids.
It didn’t look like much from above the water. But if you put on a snorkeling mask and look a little below the surface, you’ll see activity that makes it a veritable buffet line for waiting trout.
Bugs, grubs and larvae and even careless minnows and crawdads get caught up swept downstream in the fast-flowing channel. When this little channel empties into the slower moving water, turbulent mixing happens that’s not readily apparent from the creek bank.
And all those tasty morsels (tasty to a trout, anyway) get tumbled about, making them easy pickins’ for the agile fish lying in wait.
And yes, I did put on a mask and check out what was happening in those crystal-clear creeks when I was growing up. And while I wasn’t half the fisherman that my dad or younger brother were, I still got my fair share of wily trout by knowing what was happening under the surface.