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Old 02-14-2009, 09:36 AM
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Default Reading the River - or how to find the fish

Hi all,

As some of you may know, I am recently (in the last year) reborn into fly fishing, and while I have spent some time this year on the river (warm and cold weather) and have landed a few nice trout, I still feel that I am missing something in being able to read the river and find where the trout are. I fish the truckee river east of Reno, NV for the most part, though I have wandered west of town on occasion. I have read a lot of articles and books, and I think I understand the concept of fishing the seams, drifting your fly downstream of big rocks and on the inside bend of a turn in the river, etc. and while this works sometimes, it seems the biggest fish I have caught and seen caught recently have been upstream of the rocks leading into the strat of a riffle (or rapids in some cases when the river runs high). Now, when a hatch goes off, like it did the other day, it is pretty easy to watch the way the little buggers are floating and get your fly into the mix, especially when you can see the trout attacking the flies on the surface. But when there is no obvious hatch in sight, or the weather is a little chilly, what then?

A little info on the river: the Truckee is a "freestone" river I would guess, primarily the water comes from snow melt into Lake Tahoe, and ends in Pyramid Lake. The flow runs around 300 to 350 CFS through Reno.

So here is the question:
How do you find and get into the fish? When you are fishing a new, big, fast river, how would you "read" it. What are some of the things in your experience that I should be looking for? Of course, any other words of wisdom about finding where the fish are that the many expert fisherpeople (politically correct I hope) on this board are willing to offer would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Dave
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Old 02-14-2009, 10:36 AM
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Default Re: Reading the River - or how to find the fish

I recommend Tom Rosenbaurer's book Reading Trout Streams. (It's in most Orvis stores.) I highlighted the book and go over it at the start of every trout season.

Randy
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Old 02-14-2009, 12:37 PM
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Default Re: Reading the River - or how to find the fish

Thanks Randy,

I have read a lot online, and in a few magazines, but no books yet on anything other then casting techniques. I am not opposed to purchasing a book, but my thoughts are that I should probably pay a local guide to take me on the river and "show me" how to read it. I guess I was hoping for some words of wisdom from the many talented folks on this forum, as my one occassional fishing buddy and I are both kind of new to the Truckee, and fast water in general. We do ok, but I know that we could do better, and there is just something we are missing, something that will make it all click. Not sure I am saying this right or even asking the right questions, but there has to be something, some turning point that helps you get into that top ten percent of fly fishers that are actually cathching 90% of the fish.

Dave
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Old 02-15-2009, 09:44 AM
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Default Re: Reading the River - or how to find the fish

Something I saw re: fishing in front of rocks, there are holes scooped out by the current in front. The dominant fish stage at the best feeding spots; where the food shows first.
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Old 02-15-2009, 10:06 AM
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Default Re: Reading the River - or how to find the fish

Midcurrent has excerpts from the book on line. Did some reading, and think I may order this one. Thanks for the recommendation Randy.

PDQ - yep, that is what I believe is happening in front of the riffles

d
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Old 02-15-2009, 10:22 AM
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Default Re: Reading the River - or how to find the fish

I don't know if a guide is in the books for you right now but this guy just did a program on the Truckee at the last meeting of the Gold Country Fly Fishers in Grass Valley. He guides on the Truckee and put on an excellent program on fishing the Truckee.
The pics. on his web site will have your mouth watering.
Matt Koles
Gilligan's Guide Service : Home
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Old 02-15-2009, 10:54 AM
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Default Re: Reading the River - or how to find the fish

Thanks FlyDog, I have saved the link to his site, and, if the economic situation improves, and/or my frustation increases, will give him a call.

Dave
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Old 02-15-2009, 11:14 AM
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Default Re: Reading the River - or how to find the fish

Quote:
Originally Posted by webrx View Post
Thanks FlyDog, I have saved the link to his site, and, if the economic situation improves, and/or my frustation increases, will give him a call.

Dave
I'm trying to figure out the L. Yuba below Englebright Resivour right now myself. Another tough river to catch fish in. I've been fortunate enough to have one of the guys from our club take me under his wing. Fishing with someone that really knows your water makes such a difference. That being said I have yet to land a fish on the L. Yuba.
I've not fished the Truckee yet, my second season as a FF, but definitly on the list for this upcoming season.
You fishing the Navada or Ca. side?
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:50 PM
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Default Re: Reading the River - or how to find the fish

Nevada side. I gotta tell ya, that I have read a lot about reading rivers, and I did order the orvis book recommended above, after reading the excerpts (linked in an above post) on line, and thinking about where I have hooked and landed fish on the Truckee, it helped the excerpts makes sense. No way I could make that connection if I did not have time on the water.

I agree it would be great to have someone one "show me the ropes" on the Truckee, and I am thinking that I will put away my quarters (already have a half a sparklets bottle full), and hire an expert to help this spring if I don't get it figured out myself before then.

I think half the battle is learning where they are supposed to be, and then getting lucky enough to hook one, making the connection to what you have read to where you hooked up, learning some more, going back out to try something else you have learned. I don't expect to know it all overnight, if it were that easy there would be no challenge.

I did this when I learned to play golf too. Read a technique, hit the range, apply the technique until you can repeat it, and then take it to the course. Golf seems to be a lot like fly fishing, frustrating, lots to learn, so many different things that need to be done just right at the same time, and when it all clicks, bang - it "feels" right, and you have a beautiful day.

If you want to come to the Nevada side one day, let me know, we can go chase those elusive fishies together. I usually buy a California tag also, so if I am heading up that way, I will let you know also - no obligation - I know some folks like to fish alone - I'll just pass a heads up your way in case you have nothing better to do.

d
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Old 02-16-2009, 10:01 AM
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Default Re: Reading the River - or how to find the fish

A guide can put you on to fish, but in the long run, if you want to become a better angler, I think you'll have to study on your own. There are no easy fixes; that's why I think reading and studying a good book on reading the water is essential.

But then again, one of the beauties of fly fishing is that we can do it on different levels - we don't have to be good angers to enjoy the sport.

Randy
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