by Fly Fisherman

ONE CAN state solemnly that in order to get the most from fishing you should know how to read the stream. This is a thoroughly complexing subject and in which many experienced fishermen (and fishermen writers) have hardly reached “C” in the alphabet. One who knows can take you in hand and travel a piece of water. He can point out exactly where he would stand and where he would place his fly and tell you why. Then you start out on your own and you’ll hardly find the identical situations in months of effort. Everything looks different.

But you’ll fish a spot that, to you, appears likely and you may have guessed right and had some action. If you did, and are wise, will you pause and try to determine why? What was there about that setting that made it good? Why did that trout pick that particular location . .    was it a good hiding site . . . was it near a choice food channel? Then again you may have failed in developing action. Will you ask yourself the same type questions, providing you feel that your presentation was satisfactory? That, my friend, is the schooling required provided, in your excitement or disgust, you remembered to file it away for a later recall.
True, there are certain pockets, certain descriptions of locations, certain type pools or stream edge hiding spots that can be outlined in a generally broad way, but no one can say do this and do that and you are immediately a discerning angler that can guess correctly more often than not.

Beyond those more or less general situations, which will he described, you will be your own mentor. All other conditions being acceptable the harder you work at it, the more you puzzle it out, the better stream reader you will be. You will examine the flow of the current and determine the cause, in each instance, so that you can glance at the surface of running water and the “blocks” that divert it and at distances can presume fairly accurately what goes on underneath. There is a reason, directly within your vision, as to why these currents act as they do. No two streams or segments of one stream are alike, yet the water travels in identical patterns regardless of its location, whether through fast runs, at turns in the stream, over rocks, over weed growths, through slow deep pools, through whirling eddies or sluggish back waters and any other physical manifestations or conditions existing in that particular water. You will analyze and study the current channels through which the trout’s food travels whether it be immediately underneath the surface, near the bottom, the middle or on top of the water. Numerous objects and particles are being carried by the moving flow in even the cleanest of waters. You will develop the ability to judge about where you should stand or kneel to exact the best or most productive float of your dry fly, your nymph, streamer, wet fly, spinner or angleworm.

So many varying conditions are possible on a certain outlined point that lengthy chapters could be written on one alone, and every spot is different. There is the water depth, whether the stream is high or low, whether it’s clear or discolored, the season and the temperature of the water, whether the day is cloudy or bright and to what degree, the location of the sun as applied to your approach, the time of day and how it might affect your result, the type of fly or lure most appropriate and how best it can be presented. Can you see now what I mean when I say no one could possibly advance definite instructions to cover even a day on your pet river or lake? If they could, and would, your life would be wrapped up in reading the voluminous descriptions and you wouldn’t have time to apply the teaching and do a bit of fishing anyway.

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