Written by Jason
“Trout Hangouts” is an ongoing series in which I highlight one specific element or structure of a river, stream, creek, or lake where trout like to hold and talk about how to approach it. Many fly fishers might know how to fish, but not necessarily where to fish. By dissecting the complicated infrastructures of different types of waters into more focused, manageable pieces, any angler can learn how to read the water and figure out exactly where to cast and apply their skills.
There’s probably nothing more alluring to a fly angler than a deep pool lying below a picturesque waterfall. They’re relatively easy to fish, are usually big enough to hold a significant number of trout, and often hold bigger fish that are wise enough to know it’s good to hold in deeper water. Deeper water might seem like a challenge to a tenkara angler fishing in the traditional manner with an unweighted fly, but luckily, waterfall pools offer a unique way to easily get your kebari down to fish holding closer to the bottom.
In a recent Trout Hangouts post, I talked about fishing the edges of white water. Basically, the same rule applies beneath waterfalls which often spill into a pool and generate whitewater. That type of presentation would apply to areas 1 and 2 in the photo above. But it’s area 3 (right in the heart of the white water) that presents a unique opportunity to get an unweighted fly to fish holding deep that I’d like to focus on.
A couple of years ago, Daniel wrote a post about how tenkara anglers use rushing water to sink flies. It’s a simple technique and waterfall pools are the perfect place to do it. Basically, all you do is cast into the waterfall, lower your rod to create slack line that will allow the plunging water to drag your fly into the depths. You should see the line getting pulled under and once you see it start to drift downstream, you raise the rod tip and make your presentation. I like to move my fly so for me, this means pulsing it with the rod tip raised. But if you want to make a dead drift presentation, simply keep the rod tip up, line tight, and move the rod to follow the speed of the line being taken by the current.
Every time I approach a waterfall pool, my imagination runs wild with what might be lurking in it’s depths. Waterfalls are magical places that are iconic of our sport. And even if I only dredge up a few 10-inchers from the depths, it’s at least still fun to indulge in the fantasy.