Freshwater fishing in ivers and streams
Fishing In streams and rivers is usually a little bit more difficult and technical than pond or lake fishing. A stream angler has to take current into account and frequently requires greater casting accuracy. The current will always flow in the line of least resistance and will follow the outside bends of the river, and you can bet anywhere there's a strong current it will be deeper there (in most cases). Because the current keeps the flow channels washed out, slower water will fill in with sand and sediment. Snags and underwater log jams will cause turbulent swirling water tipping you off before your plugs get hung up. Plus, watch out for vee's heading downstream, they'll show you where a deadhead is.
Because of current fish got the food from moving-water. Fish find hiding places and travel anywhere from a few feet to up to several hundred feet looking for a food. You got choice to fish where the fish are hiding or where the fish are feeding. Either way, you’ll have to learn about river and stream feeding and hiding structure. Hiding places include 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, also where the current slows down and food collects are good places. Fish from rivers or streams are a little smaller than lake fish. But they’re very strong fighters.
Rivers and streams are bodies of moving water in one direction. River and stream systems consist of numerous tributaries joined together to form a main channel, river. A river grows larger as it collects water from more tributaries and flows into another large body of water, such as an ocean, bay, or lake. The transition between river and ocean, bay or lake is known as a delta. The water in the river is cold and clear, has higher oxygen levels, and freshwater fish such as trout can be found there. In the middle part of the stream/river, the width increases, aquatic plants in freshwater tributaries include algae and mosses, as well as many species of underwater bay grasses. Freshwater tributaries support thriving and varied benthic communities that include bacteria, worms, crustacean and insect larvae. In spring, hatching aquatic insects are an important food source for fish.
Toward the mouth of the river/stream, the water becomes murky from all the sediments that it has picked up upstream, decreasing the amount of light that can penetrate through the water. Since there is less light, there is less diversity of flora, and because of the lower oxygen levels, fish that require less oxygen, such as catfish and carp, can be found.
The rivers and streams are home to a diverse population of fish and other types of wildlife. Many fish species—such as shad and sturgeon—spend their adult lives in the open Bay or ocean, but must spawn in freshwater tributaries. Some fish like white perch live in tidal tributaries but also need fresh water to spawn. Resident freshwater fish species include catfish and sunfish.
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A current edge is a place where any objects in the river slows the current, and slows the food. Good spot for fish to rest and look for a food, coming with the current. Rocks, islands, bends, drop-offs and merging currents are all structures create current edges.
Avery time when water flows over a drop-off the current slows down and sinks, taking the food it carries with it. Any slow down is a great feeding place, especially drop-offs, because it is in deeper water.
Other good fishing spots would include waterfall bases, mixed currents broken by fallen timber or large rocks, areas where fast and slow waters converge, undercut banks, beneath overhanging trees or shrubbery, and deep beneath mainstream currents. When two currents of flowing water meet, the currents collide and the water and food slowing down, making merging currents an excellent place to fish.
When fast flowing water went into a small inlet, or eddy, it slows down and creates a whirlpool. Where the whirlpool is slowest fish will look for food.
Where the faster moving water meets slowly moving water there are triangle-shaped waves created, water is slowing down, and fish under the waves is looking for a food.
A roller coast waves on the water usually created where the water is going over underwater rocks. The shallow part of these waves is great place for fish species like trout.
When the river or stream curves, the faster water with the food moves to the outside of the bend, good spot for fish looking for food. A rock or fallen tree outside of the bend slowing down the food-carrying current, it is a great place to fish.
Also, look for the break between muddy and clear water, the margin where mud bottom meets gravel bottom attract active fish.
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Drop-offs, points, ridges and sandbars shape the beds of rivers and streams. These features often attract more fish than flat or gently sloping bottoms.
In moving water, there is less current near the bottom. Fish like to stay in a low spots that have less current that helps them to save their energy and to avoid being pushed downstream. Usually close to shore, these spots also good protection from the sun especially in a summer hot days 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 perfect hiding spots on the river especially if there is also a tree above it that creates shade. They occur where the fast current has cut out a cave-like hole in rock or earth near the shore. Undercuts provide protection from above-water predators and the sun. And easy access to deeper water for feeding or escape. Usually undercuts are places where the biggest fish live and hunt.
When water constantly drops off a block or falls, it creates a big drop-off. Fish will sit at the bottom of the hole where is cooler and no current and to eat sinking food. Fish can get trapped in these holes if they are going upstream for 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 always cooler and the hole creates a place for food to sink.
Most fish in a river face the flow of water and wait for food to come to them. Fish in flowing water seldom move far for food, mostly it waits for food to come close enough to ambush.
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Riparian zones are the middle strip of vegetation between the river and the flatter land beyond the shore. These zones 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.
In the rivers fish often feed near current breaks, where the flow changes directions or slow down. Usually it is a good spot for fish to feed where the flow is deflected or slowed. When current hits rocks, it divides and goes around the block, creating an area of calm water on the downstream side of the obstruction. Good place for fish to rest from the current, face the flow of water. Depth of water may be found at the heads of pools, also the incoming current brings a constant supply of food forms developing upstream.
All fish will hold in and around log jams because of the cover, a hiding area and a natural ambush point for prey. A great technique when fishing in small rivers and streams is to allow a live worm to flow naturally with the current, bouncing along the bottom as it travels. If your worm is rigged on a set of gang hooks the results can be incredible. Gang hooks are the most natural way to present a live worm while fishing. The biting insects are also a good thing for the fisherman. They indicate that the fish have the source of food needed to grow and to live. The insects also give a fisherman a distinct advantage in knowing what to use to catch the fish. For example, in an area that is filled with blood hungry mosquitoes, a fisherman might want to try using a mosquito fly when fishing.
During April, look for deeper holes with current, and the sunny shallower banks. Crawfish are in abundance on a sunny day and the minnows are beginning to spawn also. With high clear skies fish in the deeper holes and the lay downs and root balls. Most of the time the afternoon bite is better than the morning bite in April. If you arrive at your stream and the water is too high to wade and muddy look for wider sections above narrow sections and eddies. Fish move to the calmer water during periods of high water. Always try several different presentations (lures and Jigs) and a variety of baits (worms, leeches, grubs…). Always keep your bait in a fish zone, which is never more than a foot off the bottom of the river or stream. Minnows, insects and other food often wash into the foam, try to cast lure or bait hook into the foam area.
A very good location where river or stream is at the head of a weed bed with a decent current flow around it. The current forms a bar in front of the bed, which is a favorite spot for smallmouth to set up housekeeping. These small bars, where the current splits and forms an area of reduced flow along the sides of the bed, are an excellent feeding source. In most cases, the fish will be located at the front of the bed. You may also find them at the back of the weed bed.
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Another good location will be an area where two channels converge. The channels will create bars and weed flats, producing good feeding areas. The larger the weed flats bordering the channels are, the better the fishing.