Where Are Trout Most Commonly Found?Nathaniel Treichler
Knowing where to find trout is the difference between knowing where they like to feed and where they want to rest. Trout actively feed several times per day and are much easier to catch than those that were spooked by you or other predators. So your best chances are to target feeding zones or to trout visibly feeding.
But just because you see trout doesn’t mean they will feed.
Like those ones, you see lying low in the deep pool along the bridge pillars or in a big sandy bed. Most trout in extremely deep water are not feeding. In fact, it’s most likely resting or hiding. Most of those deep pools are simply not ideal for feeding because food is scarce there and very little drifts through those areas. Instead, trout will move to other areas that are more optimal for feeding that funnel food right in their direction.
So let’s narrow down where you’ll find feeding trout.
Trout like to feed in areas where the current is not so fast where they burn a lot of energy but just fast enough where food drifts to them at a decent rate. Usually flows moving at the pace of a slow walk is roughly the optimal speed.
A water depth from 2-feet to 4-feet is where we find most feeding trout. You may find trout in more shallow water depending on conditions and how much fishing pressure the stream gets. I’ve seen trout feeding in about 12-inches of water during a Blue-Winged Olive hatch right along the shoreline or at the edges. So just be aware of these outliers and take advantage of them before placing casts to the rest of the pool.
In areas where fast water meets slow water you’ll find a noticeable line, usually where a line of bubbles or debris collects, called a seam. Trout will hug this line because seams funnel all sorts of insects that have hatched in the riffles above or fallen in. A well-placed nymph can also be drifted through these seams to trout hanging low along the bottom. Fish the inside edge of seams first and then cast closer to the middle before targeting the main current.
Shade is also a great place to find trout. Trout find safety swimming within a shaded section of the river and will often choose to feed in these sections to avoid the prying eyes of a predator. Or they will use these shaded sections as a hiding spot to ambush prey from and then quickly return to. With an accurate cast, you can place your flies just on the outside or inside of the shade to lure trout up to take your fly.
Eddys are swirling currents caused by flows passing over and around obstructing objects such as large boulders or submerged rocks. As the water passes around these objects, it creates a reverse current that pushes it into a swirling motion or a slow patch of water. These places can be small or quite large amassing a pile of debris and foam. Slow pockets of water like this are great holding areas for trout who like to pick off insects that drift by in the faster current. They like to swerve in and out of this safe pocket of water and into seams created by the eddy against the faster flow.
Feeding trout will stay a few feet away from areas where they can ditch back into for safety if they sense a predator. Fallen trees, shade, boulders, overhanging banks, deep water, and riffles are common hiding places. Use these places as markers to help pinpoint where you might find a few fish.
When it comes to fishing these areas, try using a grid method. Separate the main current into multiple threads or grids and fish the ones closest to you first. We prefer to position ourselves downstream and cast up. An upstream presentation helps stay out of their line of sight and gives us a better angle to cast. Approach as if you’re stalking the trout nice and slow. Use the natural noise of the stream to add some stealth. For example, wading through fast flows and riffles will help disguise your entrance.
Now, closely watch where the water flows into and where trout might quickly find cover but still be able to feed off the channel. Place your fly several feet upstream and let it drift down. Actively mend your fly line to avoid dragging your presentation and scaring off any chance you had. Keep a distance at first and work up the pool.
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