In this video, Larkin Wilson offers some easy-to-remember tips on where to find trout in small water.
Anglers often refer to “reading the water.” This basically means going through a mental checklist, noting the different currents, depths and features within and around a streambed, and how those factors provide for the needs of trout on any given day. In other words, “Where are the trout today?”
On any given stream, the answer changes seasonally and even from one day to the next based on weather and water conditions. But when you understand a few key things about what trout need, you can begin to read water on any stream, anytime. Finding trout takes practice. And we don’t always get it right on the first try – some days, the finding is just more difficult. But knowing the main factors that influence trout will give you a big leg up.
Here are some key takeaways to remember:
The 3 Main Needs of Trout
Trout require three things – refuge from the current, security from predators and an available food source. The priority order of those three things will change from season to season.
For example, during the cold seasons when a trout’s metabolism slows down, food sources take a backseat on the priority list. Instead, finding refuge from the current tops the list and trout will hold in deep, slow pools where they can rest in their sluggish metabolic state. But during the warmer months, trout may risk predators and expend more energy to hold in a shallow riffle where highly oxygenated water delivers the riches of summer bug life.
The Main Factors that Influence Where Trout Hold
Four of the main factors that can tell you where to find trout include water temperature, weather conditions, structure, and available food sources. As you approach the water, run through this checklist in your mind. And filter each of these things against the main needs of a trout.
For example, remember that as water temperature rises, it hold less dissolved oxygen. In warmer conditions, trout will be looking for faster moving, more highly oxygenated currents. Is the weather overcast or sunny? If the sun is shining and the water is clear, trout will feel more exposed to predators. What structure is available based on those conditions? As you run through that mental checklist, you can begin breaking down the river into the most likely holding areas.
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