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Understanding Fly Fishing Targets On Flowing Water

When it comes to fly fishing, the jargon can get a bit overwhelming if you let it. Here’s the plain English scoop on some common terms used. Understanding Fly Fishing Targets On Flowing Water Fly fishing is many things to many people. For some, it is a zen like way to interact with nature. For others, it is test of skill in the act of competing with tricky little fish. For yet others, it is a ballet of artistic movements and techniques to obtain the perfect cast for the perfect fly placement that produces the perfect catch.

For most, it is just good, clean fun. Whatever your preference, fly fishing has a definite language you will need to learn. Traditionally, fly fishing takes place on flowing water such as a river or stream. There are variations for lake or ocean destinations, but they represent a minority. Given this fact, following is an explanation of some of the terms associated with traditional fly fishing.

A “riffle” is an area with fast moving water broken up over some solid structure, most often rocks. A rifle can be an excellent location to cast for a number of reasons. The riffle tends to be an area where insects congregate. Where there are insects, there are fish. In particular, try to cast to areas just downstream of blockages as your catch should be residing in such locations. A “pool” is an area where fast flowing water enters a deeper pool of water. Often found just after riffles, a pool offers little in the way of prospecting in the interior. It does, however, offer excellent prospects in the areas where water flows in. More than a few species of fish feed at such locations as the water flowing into the pool brings food and nutrients with it. “Dead water” refers to an area where there is little or no current.

This tends to occur in odd geographic areas, large rivers or areas with flow problems. Dead water is rarely a good place to fish, so avoid it like the plague. Although not a term per se, vegetation that grows out into the water and shady shoreline locations are often excellent places to fish. These locations offer the combination of shade and nutrients, which are popular with fish. When referring to shade, it is important to understand that fish are not generally worried about sunburns. Instead, they are worried about dive bombing birds such as Osprey. A fish that cruises along the top of a pool of water in direct sunlight tends to have a very short life span. Obviously, the above represents a small sampling of terminology related to rivers and moving areas. Nonetheless, you will at least know why so many anglers talk about riffles.


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