New River – First Time?
When we teach our fly fishing class (Flyfishers at the Crossing), we want the “graduate” to be able to fish any river, at any time of the year and do well. So, what should we think about when going to fish a new river for the first time?
First, I study. I’ll read up before I head to a new location by using information found in books or online. I’ll ask myself several questions. What time of the year is it? What do the hatch charts show for this new river? What are the flow rates and is the river depth high, low, or normal? Once at the location I’ll visit a local fly shop to get some information and but a few of their recommended flies.
Once arriving at the river I’ll observe. Yes, just observe. What do the flows look like? Are there any hatches or are trout rising? What kind of rises are taking place? I’ll turn over rocks to see what type of aquatic insects may be in this part of the river.
Once this is accomplished, I’ll decide where to start fishing. I look for three different, basic areas on the river; riffles, runs, and deep holes. These locations usually run in this order. A riffle is usually fast moving, shallow, rocky, well oxygenated water. This area can be loaded with aquatic insects. I find more smaller trout here. The riffle will usually dump into a run. A run is very similar to a riffle but is made up of deeper moving water – a great place for actively eating, big trout to hang out as the insects from the riffle get swept down through the run. The run will also provide better protection for the larger trout against predators because of the depth. After the flow through a run slows down, the run will many times end in a deep hole. The trout seem to hug the bottom of the river here but gives you the opportunity to catch that trophy trout.
Each of these three areas call for different fly fishing techniques to catch a trout. I’ll talk about the best techniques to use in Part 2 of “New River – First Time?” For now, be able to find and recognize these areas when fishing a location for the very first time.