Fly Fishing Streams


When going stream fishing, you should always remember the three basic principles that govern the fish’s life: protection, food source, and current. Always have these in mind when surveying the water for your next cast.

For the beginner though, there is one basic rule that can help you find the right place to float your fly: cast to the foam or bubbles. This is very simple but effective. Foam or bubbles are caused by a variety of ways (fast moving water, logs, rock formations). These objects basically creating a funnel of food indicated by the foam/bubbles and is usually located in deeper water or on a seam. See how this relates to the three principles. You should cast you fly above the foam and let it float drag free through it. If you are casting a nymph, you must cast past the foam because your fly will sink. If you don’t, your fly will float short of the foam.

Here are some other very good places to fish when stream fishing.

Where a riffle flows into deep water – This is a fantastic situation and should produce some good fishing. A riffle is a shallow, choppy, fast moving part of the river. Riffles produce a lot of insect life and also oxygenate the water. When a riffle flows into deep water, you have an ideal situation where fish have the protection of deep water, but also have a food source flowing right to them from the riffle. Cast above the deep pool and let your fly (dry or nymph) float down into the pool and be ready for a strike.

Undercut banks – Undercut banks are a great hold-up spot for fish. The bank provides protection and there is usually fast moving water just outside the bank. Also, insects like grasshoppers can fall off the bank and provide a good food source.

Riffles – If you see a lot of insect flying around, a major insect hatch may be occurring. Fish will be opportunistic and swim to the area where the hatch is happening. Many times this is in a riffle. So if you see a lot of bugs, fish the riffles.

Logs, rocks, and other large obstructions in the water – Fish will swim right behind or underneath large obstructions waiting for food to float by. Usually there is a seam between the fast moving water beside the obstruction and the slow water behind it. Make sure you cast above the obstruction and let the fly float down next to it in the seam or foam.