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fishinfrenzy 03-05-2011 09:32 PM

Fishing Pocket Water
Excuse me as this may seem like a very "newbie" question but this site has been very informative. I have been fishing the South Platte river in Colorado lately and it contains a lot of pocket water. After observing and talking with other fly fisherman on the river it seems the fish have mostly been honing in on small RS2's and midge patterns in the 20-22 size range. My question is: Can you fish these small flies effectively in pocket water? The water is so swift moving and turbulent that I just think it would be hard for the fish to see and I am wondering if it would be effective or not. I mostly ask this because I was fishing the same river one day with a size 18 parachute adams when the current flows were very high and fast. After not getting any hits at all I had a conversation with a fellow fisherman on the bank and he suggested I throw a massive PMX fly (around size 8 I think). The fish on this river are known for being super selective so I never thought that they would hit such a huge fly but low and behold I had two bites (no hook ups though) within 30 min. Learned something that day. Anyway, my question is: Are those small 20-22 RS2's and midge patterns too small to fish effectively in turbulent pocket water or do people do this all the time? I would be using a high stick method.

webrx 03-06-2011 02:56 AM

Re: Fishing Pocket Water
I generally fish bigger flies in the pocket water, like a size 10 wooly bugger or a size 12 nymph. I also generally throw some extra weight on the line to get the bug down into the pockets. Not sure if 20s and 22s will work, never tried anything that small in the fast pocket water..


jpbfly 03-06-2011 03:30 AM

Re: Fishing Pocket Water
I mainly use size 14 flies for pocket waters....some patterns here:
you may have to use smaller flie18/20 or nymphs if you locate a fish which rises and refuses the big ones....;)

Frank Whiton 03-06-2011 04:22 AM

Re: Fishing Pocket Water
Hi fishinfrenzy,

Pocket water can be some of the post challenging water to fish. You can fish small nymphs but they need to be weighted to penetrate the water column as quickly as possible. A big dry fly with a nymph dropper can be used with a short cast and a lot of wading to position your self. You don't want a lot of line on the water or you will get drag for sure. I like a long rod to help manage your line better. Here is a video you might enjoy about Pocket Water Fishing.


Walter1023 03-06-2011 06:19 AM

Re: Fishing Pocket Water
That is a great video. The only exception I take is his comments about not wasting your time casting to non feeding fish in pocket water. Dorsey is notorious for being an expert trout spotter....I've seen him on some fly shows and he sees fish even other acclaimed fisherman can't see. I personally have enough difficulty trying to spot fish in quiet pools.....I have never really been able to spot fish in heavy pocket water....much less distinguish whether they were feeding or non feeding. My advice to a newbie....learn to identify the actual prime lies (ie: the slow pocketwater next to the fast water) and methodically fish them all. If a fish is there....even if "non feeding"...your nymph properly presented will turn him into a feeding fish

madjoni 03-06-2011 08:04 AM

Re: Fishing Pocket Water
Love fishing pocket water...but not with super small flies:)

Frank Whiton 03-06-2011 11:24 AM

Re: Fishing Pocket Water
I have had very good success fishing pocket water with a big floater with a nymph dropper. The dropper would be a size 16 or 18 nymph tied off the bend of the hook. A 12" to 16" dropper seems about right. The floater would be a Stimulator, Royal Wulff, Irresistible Wulff or Royal Humpy. The Simulator or Royal Wulff being my favorite. I did catch a five pound Rainbow at Lee's Ferry with a Royal Humpy combo but I don't fish it as much, maybe I should. Of course this works in all types of wanter and not just pocket water.


Jimmie 03-06-2011 11:26 PM

Re: Fishing Pocket Water
I'm going to try that this season Frank. The pocket water that we are fishing has fast pockets about the size of your bathtub with rocks and wood. It's even easy to get the dries hung-up so it was hard to imagine just nymphs. The 12" dropper will get some action this year. Got to stick with the big dry fly though. It was amazing how many 6"-10" ers took a size 12 last year.

BigCliff 03-07-2011 11:00 AM

Re: Fishing Pocket Water
My favorite technique for fishing pocket water is called "bounce nymphing". Its akin to what the gear guys call "drop shotting" in that the weight is out on the far end and the hook/fly/lure above that.

Bounce Nymphing | Fish the bottom third of the water column more effectively with this deep-nymphing rig.

Using multiple small shot for your weight can also help snake through spots that larger flies/shot might hang up.

Ard 03-07-2011 01:30 PM

Re: Fishing Pocket Water

I'm a long ways from Colorado but I used to fish the river in question long ago. I fished the pockets two ways, in warm season I fished up stream using dry fly in size 14 - 16 and worked the current seams. In the winter months I used feather wings in size 4 - 6 and worked the same areas but with a decidedly different style due to the fly. I found some remarkable fish in the small eddies that are prolific on the river anywhere from the cable below the dam to the water below Deckers. The population drops below Deckers and I'm not sure why but when you had a trout take the streamers they were often hooked solidly. Fishing streamers in conditions like you have on the S.P. requires control of the fly, once you have your technique down the fish are not impossible in the least.

Although I have pulled fish from the swift stuff using nymphs, 95% of the time I was working a streamer through the river. The advice for nymphing comes from those with more experience at this type presentation so if you are concerned with nymphing I would follow the tips the members have given.


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