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Any technique for catching trout in fast riffles of rivers

Any technique for catching trout in fast riffles of rivers

Postby TJ @ Tenkara USA » Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:47 pm

One area I have not had luck yet is catching trout in shallow fast riffles of rivers.

I always look to the pools or pockets after the riffles are over or somethings in eddies before the riffles.

But in the middle of riffles, this is a place I don't cast my kebari to often and maybe I should.

How has your experiences been catching trout in the middle of riffles?

What technique are you using since often the water is fast and shallow?

Riffles to me just seem like a nice spot to get your fly stuck and snagged on the shallow rocks.

Would love to see a action video of trout getting caught in riffles.

TJ
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Re: Any technique for catching trout in fast riffles of rive

Postby TJ @ Tenkara USA » Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:04 pm

Gary Borger video here in the 4 minute area talks about fishing the riffles, although his riffles are knee deep in this video.

The riffles I am asking about is where maybe water is 1' high, so shallow riffles.

Still, I like his approach in this video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ksa8KmVWuo

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Re: Any technique for catching trout in fast riffles of rive

Postby Anthony » Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:39 pm

I love fishing riffles - trout will move seasonally and even daily of course, so they may not always be in the riffles in great numbers, but sometimes they can be. I know we aren't supposed to talk about hatches, but on one stream that I like to fish I can count on a fall BWO hatch bringing trout into the riffles - where sometimes their backs are out of the water as they gobble emergers...

Anyway I fish aggressively in general - what I mean is I loose a lot of flies - I try to cast to all of the spots that other guys are not fishing to because of difficult casting conditions - I figure less bothered fish. So I'm not usually to worried about losing flies - but in riffles you can get to them easily to unstick 'em.

Riffles are often passed over too - so I always give 'em a try. I make sure I have a lightweight fly on (not that I change flies :shock: ever) then I fish a more active style, consciously keeping in contact with the fly and keep it moving a bit above the bottom. A long line isn't the best for this. You want to be able to keep all of your line off of the water to do what I'm saying. You'll get the hang of it if you try it. A bit of very gentle "pulsing" - not so much to attract fish but just to keep the fly off of the bottom.

Anyway those are my thoughts - just my take on it - surely not the best or only good advice but it's a thing that has worked for me.
Last edited by Anthony on Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Any technique for catching trout in fast riffles of rive

Postby John @ Tenkara USA » Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:50 pm

I would agree with everything that Anthony said, but also ad that even in riffles there more be more defined structure than you would think. It's easy when fishing riffles to chuck the fly out there and see what happens, but if you look really hard to slight breaks in the current or pockets that are only slightly deeper than the rest of the riffle, you'll probably pick up more fish.

I really love riffles, too especially since I started fishing tenkara. There are a lot of stretches of rivers out here that I used to ignore because I didn't see enough easily defined holding water in them. Those spots are now some of my most productive water now. I don't think any tool is better for surgically fishing tiny pockets in riffles than a tenkara outfit.
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Re: Any technique for catching trout in fast riffles of rive

Postby statikpunk » Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:08 pm

I dont really go out to fish the riffles, but i do fish them while I am on the way to other spots. i can make so many accurate casts that i can fish the rifles almost without even breaking my stride on the way to the next hole. both anthony and John described my style to a T while Im walking past the rifles I try and pick out what little and hiddens tructure I can find like small holes and such, and then I fish them with a highly active fly, real short 4 0r 5 inch presentations with a lot of action but in really short bursts. If that makes sence.
let me put it this way, when im fishing shallow water I pulse the fly but rather than dragging the fly for a distance I pulse it just enough to give it a twitch, what I do is I pull just enough to take the slack out of my line then let it drop again, the motion almost feels like Im playing a small game of jump rope.
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Re: Any technique for catching trout in fast riffles of rive

Postby tsegelke » Tue Feb 05, 2013 5:42 pm

I love the riffles, I have always been more successful there than in the pools.

When the water is only 1" deep I would have to wonder how much cover the fish has. Keep in mind the fish is looking for the best balance of, cover/protection, food, and least amount of effort. A fish can hover in very fast moving water, with minimal effort, as long as there is some rock/structure on the bottom.

I fish the seems, look for small holes/pockets, or any kind of structure to allow the fish to plane/hover in the broken current. The key for me has been to cover as much water as I can. Even the area that does not look the most productive. Since there is so much of the water area that the fish can hold in, once you spook them, they don't just move deeper into the hole, and come back shortly, they move either up or down river & won't be back all that quickly. Cover lots of water, keep an eye on the seems, and pockets. You will often find potholes in the streamed, holding some nice fish, that you won't know about until you step in it, or the fish rises out of it.

I once was fishing a nice run for about 30 minutes. After no success, I decided to check my fly, and got all tangled up. While trying to untangle, the fly was bobbing only three feet behind me, when a nice 8" rainbow decided to jump onto my line. Who would of thought that I was the most productive food source in the stream by just moving my feet.

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Re: Any technique for catching trout in fast riffles of rive

Postby 257ROBT » Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:21 pm

tsegelke wrote:I love the riffles, I have always been more successful there than in the pools.


I do very well in the riffles also. One thing I like to do is get upstream of the riffles and let my fly drift into the riffle. I then like to twitch the fly, almost in one spot. I move the fly very slowly upstream then if twitching don't work in one area, and then repeat the process. I don't do well dead drifting the fly through it, usually. If I can't get upstream of the riffle and am forced to fish downstream of it, I then try to make sure that I use small twitches to put some action in the fly.

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Re: Any technique for catching trout in fast riffles of rive

Postby GregM » Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:59 am

Something to remember is that in the heat of the summer, when the dissolved oxygen in the water goes down, the fish will congregate in the highly churned riffles.

If that is the case, try not to take undue advantage, because they are barely hanging on.

I don't know the tipping point temperature-wise, but would appreciate the info.
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Re: Any technique for catching trout in fast riffles of rive

Postby tsegelke » Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:40 pm

If I remember correctly Trout live in 55 to 65 degrees fehrenheit. When the water temp is close to 65 degrees or slightly higher, this is when the trout stress and are staying in the O2 zones.
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Re: Any technique for catching trout in fast riffles of rive

Postby Kid Riemer » Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:29 pm

Last year was my first fishing for trout, and also my first year of tenkara fishing. Probably half in not more of the fish I caught were in the riffles on the Rush River in Wisconsin. Very shallow ones at that...a couple or three inches...sometimes less. Hard to tell the water depth because the water is really moving sometimes.

Sometimes I would see a fish ahead of time, but most of the time I just cast above the riffle and then dead drifted the fly down down through the riffle. I'd try to place the fly in different starting spots so I'd stand a better chance of running all the lanes eventually. I'd also try to keep the rod tip high to keep the line out of the water and just let the fly dance its way through.

Generally they were smaller fish but the strikes were always strongly felt. BAM!

My best success was using a Pink Squirrel...size 16 generally.

I'd suggest that you really give the riffles a shot. I think you'll find it worth your time.
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