Stream Fishing Techniques

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Fishing streams can be one of the most exciting and most rewarding ways to catch fish for the ultralight fishing enthusiast. Cool, clear running streams are often the best places to locate fish such as trout. Warmer running streams offer fun places to catch warm water species like smallmouth and catfish. Ultralight fishing in a stream is slightly different from fishing a pond or river. Stream fishing techniques can be both passive (where you do not actively control your bait or lure) or they can be active. Like every other type of fishing, the key to stream success is to try a number of different techniques until you find out which ones work the best for the specific fishing situation you are in.

Ultralight fishing gear is perfect for stream fishing as you will most likely be on the move regularly as you wander the banks and trying different locations.

Ultralight Fishing location

Factors That Determine Fishing Action

There are a lot of different factors that will determine what type of fish you can catch in a stream, what you can catch them on and how many (if any) fish you will be able to catch. The first factor will be the water’s temperature. Trout and salmon are cold water fishes. They require a lot of oxygen and low temperatures to survive. Some streams will sustain stocked trout or salmon for short periods of time, usually before the summer hits and the water temperature warms up. Warmer water will have less oxygen in it. Other streams stay cold all year long. The second factor is the flow of the stream. Very shallow streams are not going to have enough space for fish to live in. You may be able to find fish in shallow sections, but a stream that is only a few inches deep is not likely to hold many fish.

The third factor is cover. Fish of all kinds need 3 things to survive. They need food, protection from predators and oxygen to breathe. Fish need to have cover to stay alive in a stream. Cover could include things like fallen logs, rocks, undercut banks, low hanging vegetation and anything else that a fish could use to protect themselves from the current and from predators. Finally, fish need to eat to live. Most of the streams you find will offer plenty of food items for fish. So the idea will be to find a part of a stream that has the right temperature for the type of fish you are trying to catch, that offers enough space for fish to live and that features cover for the fish to hide from their predators. If you locate a spot on a stream that has all of these things, odds are there will be fish present there.

Fishing Techniques

There are several ways to fish streams, including both active and passive techniques. These techniques can be performed with a spin rod or a fly rod, and you can use both bait and artificial lures or flies to catch stream fish. Some stream fishing techniques will be easier to execute with a fly rod, while others will be easier if you use a spin rod. Passive fishing means you fish either your bait or artificial lure/fly in the stream so that it appears to the fish to be a piece of food that is naturally floating along with the current. This means that you want to take steps to make your lure or bait look as natural as possible. Active fishing techniques use action to mimic a swimming bait fish or insect in the water. Both techniques can be effective for catching stream fish.

ultralight fishing in shallow waters

The best way to be successful at stream ultralight fishing is to do a little research to find out exactly what type of fish live in the stream you plan to fish. Then you can use the best baits, flies or artificial lures for that particular spot. Once you know what baits, flies or lures you want to use, you will have the best luck if you pick a spot on the stream with all of the necessary factors to hold fish. This means finding out where the fish are and what they are probably eating.

Photo 1: Credit “dgrice”
Photo 2: Credit “Fish On by the_dharma_bum, on Flickr”

Don’t Forget to check out our Ultralight Fishing Post!

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