Streams & Rivers
Many fish are nocturnal feeders and become more active after the sun sets. When fishing during the night hours, natural baits, such as cut bait and live bait are great choices. Be sure to let the baits soak, and be patient for a bite.
Roily water is anywhere where currents work against jagged or eroded shorelines, such that the water becomes muddy or sediment filled. Turbulent, agitated or swirling water not only stirs up sediment but food as well, and such waters can be productive for finding fish. Fish around the edges of these areas.
Snagging is a method of fishing that uses a heavy duty treble hook with a heavy lead weight embedded around the shank of the treble hook. The weighted hook is paired with a larger reel, heavy line in the 30-50 lb class, and a stout, sturdy rod which is typically 6 ft or longer. Anglers will cast the weighted treble hook out into the water, without any bait, and rapidly retrieve the hook hoping to ‘snag’ a fish. When a fish is snagged, the hook often finds itself lodged places other than the mouth of the fish. Because the angler hasn’t hooked the fish in the mouth, it is very difficult to turn the head of the fish towards the shore or boat as in traditional angling methods. The resulting fight with the fish is often much more difficult for the anglers which is why much heavier tackle is required. Many states have seasonal limits on snagging because it is often used to curb troublesome species of fish such as carp. Other states have banned this method completely so it is absolutely necessary for any angler to check their State’s rules and regulations about snagging before attempting.
STREAM AND RIVER FISHING
River fish find hiding places and travel anywhere from a few feet to up to several hundred feet, several times a day to eat. When stream or river fishing you have to decide if you're going to fish where the fish are hiding or where the fish are feeding. Either way, you'll have to understand how river fish feed and hide.
River fish hide in undercuts in the banks, eddies, sunken trees and overhanging trees and bushes. Places that provide protection from the current and above-water predators. Feeding places include the outside of bends, merging currents, drop-offs, feeder brooks and springs - places where the current slows and food collects or sinks.
In general, fish found in moving water tend to be a little smaller than lake fish. But they're fighters, strong from battling the currents.
When the river or stream curves, the faster water (which carries the food) moves to the outside of the bend. Fish look for food in these bends. And if the outside of the bend also contains a rock or fallen tree (to slow down the food-carrying current), it's an even better place to catch fish.
ROCK AND BOULDER POCKETS
When flowing water hits rocks and boulders, it splits and goes around the obstruction, creating an area of calm water on the downstream side of the obstruction. Fish will rest, facing upstream, on the downstream side of a rock. These pockets are small, but a handy cast could land you a fish.
When fast moving water flows into a small inlet, or eddy, it slows down and creates a whirlpool. Fish will feed where the whirlpool is slowest, or in the main body of the river where the whirlpool kicks out the food that has been carried in and out of the eddy.
SMALL POINTED WAVES
These triangle-shaped waves form where faster water meets slower water like the riverside edge of a bend, bay or eddy. Large fish gather under these waves because the water slows and food drops.
MERGING CURRENTS - FEEDER BROOKS, STREAM OR CREEK MOUTHS
Flowing water carries food. So when two bodies of flowing water meet, fish will find even more food, making it an ideal river fishing spot. Plus, when currents collide, there's a small area in the intersection where the water and food actually slow down, making merging currents an excellent place to catch fish.
A current edge is a place where natural or man-made objects slow the current. When the current slows, the food that travels with it also slows. So river fish rest at current edges and wait for a nice, slow meal to come by. Current edges can be created by natural or man-made structures like bends, merging currents, drop-offs, rocks and islands.
When water flows over a drop-off, it slows down and sinks, taking the food it carries with it. A drop-off is a great river fishing spot because it has food, deeper water and it's away from the current, allowing for a more relaxing dining experience for the fish..
OVERHANGING TREES AND BUSHES
Usually close to shore, these spots offer protection from the sun and above-water predators. Bigger fish will rest in these areas if the water isn't too shallow and allows quick access to deeper water for feeding and escape.
Undercuts are considered the perfect hiding spot on the river. They occur where the current has cut a cave-like hole in earth or rock along the shore. If there's a tree above the undercut, all the better. Undercuts provide protection from above-water predators and the sun and easy access to deeper water for feeding or escape. The biggest river fish live in undercuts.
DAMS AND FALLS
When water continually drops off a dam or falls, it creates a big hole or drop-off. Fish will sit at the bottom of these holes to get away from the current and to eat sinking food. Fish can get trapped in these holes if they are going upstream to find cooler water or to spawn.
When water boils up from the bottom of the river or stream, it creates a spring hole. Fish are attracted to these holes because the water coming up is cooler and the hole creates a place for food to sink.
If you see waves on the water that look like a rollercoaster, the water is probably going over underwater rocks. Rainbow trout, for some reason, like to sit in the shallow part of these waves.
Riparian zones are the middle strip of vegetation between the river and the flatter land beyond the shore. These zones serve as a natural bio-filter to protect water from excessive sedimentation, polluted surface runoff and erosion. And they supply shelter, food and shade for fish and other aquatic animals. A thriving riparian zone is a sign of good water quality and good fishing.