How to River Fish For Trout
During the spring of the year and as trout fishing season progresses many anglers head out onto their local river in search of trout, yet in my twenty plus years of experience chasing trout in rivers all across the United States I have noticed that many of the outfitters Missoula people that I see on the water seem to go about river fishing for trout in entirely the wrong way. For this reason in this article I am going to outline some of the basics of how to river fish for trout.
The first thing that has to be determined is what type of river fishing strategy that you want to employ. This article will focus on spin fishing strategies because that is where my expertise lies. Do you want to use live bait such as live worms or minnows as bait and use the drift fishing technique or would you rather throw a small spinner or spoon? What about using an artificial fly as bait (yes it is possible to use an artificial fly as bait while spin fishing)? You could also cast and retrieve a small stick bait such as a Rapala with a fair degree of success, but the bottom line is to have a strategy in mind that you intend to use when you head out to river fish for trout.
Next you want to determine which areas of a river are the most conducive to holding trout. During “prime” trout fishing times such as early spring or early fall, when river flows are normal this means concentrating your fishing efforts on deep runs and pools within the river itself. During the spring when river flows are higher than normal this means that you want to fish for trout in current seams or behind large stationary objects (such as fallen trees, boulders, or even dams) where the river isn’t flowing quite as heavily as it is elsewhere. Finally we have the summer, when river flows are generally lower than normal. When the river flows are low, riffles are a great place fish for trout during the morning and evening and in the afternoon deep holes within a river will tend to hold hungry trout.
Finally we have how to approach the area of the river that you intend to fish. If you are going to effectively you are going to be wading in the river that you are fishing 90% of the time, which means that you are going to be walking in the very river that you are fishing (many times within close proximity to the trout that you are attempting to catch). This means that you want to walk (or wade) in such a way as to not “spook” the trout that you are attempting to catch. Also, you always want to approach the parts of the river that you are going to be fishing from downstream, because feeding trout will almost always be facing (and looking) upstream.