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Reading the water


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Fished some new areas Sat. in the rain, wind and high water. Once again I was amazed how much easier it was to "read" the water looking upstream as opposed to down stream. The areas holding fish were small and very subtle but looking upstream (uphill) you cold pick them out. These were small eddies and small calm spots below riffles.

Phil

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Gents,

 

I was taught to fish rivers, streams, creeks that way. Only if there was no other possible way to get into a spot - then head

downstream. I've fished this way with many other guys and yes, its more demanding on the body young & old but a lot of

the wisdom makes sense:

You tend to read the water easier

You keep in better contact w/ your lures wading upstream

You don't kick up silt/sand/muck into the faces of your potential targets

Less filling!

Taste Great!

 

Sorry - I lost my train of thought like cocker spaniel w/ a nervous tick.

 

We typically walk 3/4 - 1 mile worth of water on most 5-6 hour wade trips on "the creek" - on the DuPer - we have fished both ways

upstream and downstream mainly due to access points. The KKK River - mostly upstream wades too. The Fox, only waded twice -

both times - you guessed it - upstream.

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I wade upstream always, get behind the fish so the aren't looking right at me. I really dislike wading downstream for all the reasons stated. I'll wade 3 miles, turnaround and throw topwater on the way back with long casts or short ones at dusk. Often get quite afew going back, but never as many as going up.

 

Some lures work better pulled downstream, too.

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I wade upstream always, get behind the fish so the aren't looking right at me. I really dislike wading downstream for all the reasons stated. I'll wade 3 miles, turnaround and throw topwater on the way back with long casts or short ones at dusk. Often get quite afew going back, but never as many as going up.

 

Some lures work better pulled downstream, too.

 

The "kicking up the silt" idea makes sense. I'm curious if it's any different if you are using a flyrod instead of lures. I often let a fly drift past a rock or other obstruction, going downstream if I don't have room to get over to the side, and have found some success. I wonder if casting upstream might spook the fish, espec. with a floating flyline on the surface.

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I travel upstream as much as down. Saturday was tough conditions reading the water so looking up stream helped. On small streams especially in clear water upstream might be the only way to go. I've been trying to fish big rivers with strong current more as this is something I need to work on. In these situations I'm doing more retrieves similar to the fly guys and bait fisherman. Casting out upstream allowing the lure to swing and sink and controlling the drift as it goes, very little actual retrieving. Also working on tight line techniques with a three way rig and drop shot against the current. Finally working crankbaits back against the current. These presentations are different but it's just speed and depth control. Many times the current is so strong you can't reel fast enough and keep in touch with you're lure using conventional upstream casting downstream retrieve.

Phil

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I'll second Phil's statement that it's about depth and speed control. I've been working crankbaits against the current for years for just that reason. I also use a heavier than normal jig on occasion and work it back slowly against the current.

I'll have to look in the files for that article and rework it.

 

The point about being able to see subtle cues in the water looking upstream in windy conditions is one you should write on the palm of your hand with a grease pencil.

 

Don't fear kicking silt downstream, it can turn smallies on. If you have never done so try casting behind carp that are rooting up the bottom and kicking up clouds of silt. There can be some surprisingly large smallies following behind chowing on the morsels dislodged by the carp.

 

In clear water situations I have seen smallies ignore a lure until the silt cloud I purposely kicked up covered the lure, at which time they promptly ate it.

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Most of the fishing I do does not involve casting upstream or downstream but across stream.I don't see any significant benefit to wading either up or downstream except on the smallest streams where wading upstream would be required.Since it's just common sense to avoid fighting the current(just ask the fish) I prefer to fish my way downstream whenever there's a land based way to return.If there isn't I prefer to fish upstream in order to have an easier downstream trek back.Of course on big rivers you can always fish one side of the river going one way and the other side going the other way.I also don't see why it would be any easier to see fishy looking spots wading upstream and don't we all tend to fish good sections of stream often enuf to know where those fish holding spots are?

 

 

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I wade upstream always, get behind the fish so the aren't looking right at me. I really dislike wading downstream for all the reasons stated. I'll wade 3 miles, turnaround and throw topwater on the way back with long casts or short ones at dusk. Often get quite afew going back, but never as many as going up.

 

BT,

How long does it take you to wade fish 6 miles of river?

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Ron,

 

When you are fishing new water the obvious and not so subtle spots can be seen in either direction. It's the small very subtle cues that reveal spots that are easier to see looking upstream especially in windy conditions. It's the subtle difference in how the water flows or very minor distrubances that reveal the less than obvious smaller spots that often hold the larger fish that are hard to see/find on new water.

 

Phil is one of the best I've seen at doing this.

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ronk,

 

About 6 miles is the most I want to wade one way, and definately a shuttle involved if I can. It really depends on the fishing and how many fish are being caught and how they are being caught. If no shuttle, then walk back throwing an 1/8 oz buzzer or Sammy. Power walking, I don't stop unless to dehook something. The most last year was about 9.5 miles (4.7 each way), that was 60 fish mostly on top in 9.5 hours. I had a 4 mile wade that took 13 hours because the tube bite was on, that was 54 SMB.

 

Average day, 3 miles would take 6-9 hours.

 

Yes, we have a lot of clearer streams, so I would almost never think of wading downstream. I want the advantage of the fish looking the other way, because they will definately see you splashing upstream. Bigger streams, I'd use my kayak on using front or rear anchors when appropriate.

 

Not just the bass, but rough fish will spook stampede holes too.

 

Sometimes it drives me nuts how spooky Indiana Smallies are. It can be frustrating.

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Most of the fishing I do does not involve casting upstream or downstream but across stream.I don't see any significant benefit to wading either up or downstream except on the smallest streams where wading upstream would be required.Since it's just common sense to avoid fighting the current(just ask the fish) I prefer to fish my way downstream whenever there's a land based way to return.If there isn't I prefer to fish upstream in order to have an easier downstream trek back.Of course on big rivers you can always fish one side of the river going one way and the other side going the other way. I also don't see why it would be any easier to see fishy looking spots wading upstream and don't we all tend to fish good sections of stream often enuf to know where those fish holding spots are?

 

 

Nothing wrong with quarting your casts, ron. I do it all the time. Depends on the target.

 

Fine if you aren't dealing with speedy current, not optimal in some situations, ex if you are casting across speedy current to the strikezone on a steep bank. Better to get parallel if the fish are on the banks- or get up on that steep bank and pitch down into the slower stuff, it's where the bass are anyway.

 

Just tried a new river last week. Fastest in the state, situation was that we had to cast tubes across the river to the steep banks in the target area. We couldn't get parallel due to the river depth and logpiles, then the banks had foilage grown in finally. We had to throw across and predictably was a slow day as our tubes weren't in the strike zone long.

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I want the advantage of the fish looking the other way, because they will definately see you splashing upstream.

Yep

 

Not just the bass, but rough fish will spook stampede holes too.

Yep

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The angle of the sun is definitely a factor as the glare cuts down on how much you can see.Polaroid lenses or glasses can be a big help.

 

 

Carp and suckers spooked from any part of the pool,run or riffle can put the smallies off for a bit. As they can be found anywhere you may spook them regardless of the direction of approach.Give them 5 or 10 minutes and they will settle down.Set a spell, read the water, look for clues along the water that may indicate changes and edges,look around for natural signs that you can use for reminders to replicate success in taking advantage of different fish behaviors, plan your casts , try to use the time to your advantage.

 

As far as the fish seeing me coming I worry more about the angle of the sun and throwing my shadow over them which generally happens before they physically see me. Sunlight flashing off a rod is also a consideration.

 

I'll bet that most fish that get spooked by the approach of a fisherman will be aware of his presence due to feeling the vibration on the bottom or hearing the crunching of the rocks long before you are seen as well.They may feel the extra push of the water especially from a too rapid approach and in that case it would probably travel easier with the current than against it.

 

The skinnier and the clearer the water obviously the stealthier you should be. In extreme cases it may ultimately come down to staying out of the water entirely and moving slowly along the shore with a low profile and breaking up said profile by staying behind trees , brush or weeds as much as possible.

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I alway wade upstream when possible for the reasons mentioned above. Another consideration is safety, especially in unfamiliar territory. If you're wading upstream and lose your balance or step into a hole, where's the current going to push you? Back towards where you came from, where it's obviously wadeable. Stumble or step into a hole while headed downstream, and the current will try to take you where you haven't been.

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I alway wade upstream when possible for the reasons mentioned above. Another consideration is safety, especially in unfamiliar territory. If you're wading upstream and lose your balance or step into a hole, where's the current going to push you? Back towards where you came from, where it's obviously wadeable. Stumble or step into a hole while headed downstream, and the current will try to take you where you haven't been.

Jude ,

 

That's prolly the best reason for wading upstream. If you take a spill , chill and ride it out until your butt bumps bottom and then stand up.

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Nothing wrong with quarting your casts, ron. I do it all the time. Depends on the target.

 

Fine if you aren't dealing with speedy current, not optimal in some situations, ex if you are casting across speedy current to the strikezone on a steep bank. Better to get parallel if the fish are on the banks- or get up on that steep bank and pitch down into the slower stuff, it's where the bass are anyway.

 

Just tried a new river last week. Fastest in the state, situation was that we had to cast tubes across the river to the steep banks in the target area. We couldn't get parallel due to the river depth and logpiles, then the banks had foilage grown in finally. We had to throw across and predictably was a slow day as our tubes weren't in the strike zone long.

Most flyfishing is done casting acrosstream.One advantage to flyfishing across currents is that upstream mends can be made which allow the weighted fly to land downstream of the line/leader giving it a chance to sink to the desired depth as long as that depth isn't too deep or the current too swift.

Perhaps a benefit to carp being in a stream as long as a wader doesn't spook one into a headlong panic downstream is that if he kicks up some silt or disturbs the water a bit wading downstream the smb will pay it no mind since carp usually cause those kind of disturbances and smb become used to them and might even take them as a signal to feed.One of your state's finest streams has been overrun with recreational canoeists since the 70's when a canoe rental business was started.While all those canoes were a pain in the butt there is a theory that the smb became so used to them that they actually started feeding in their wake?

In all but the smallest streams wading downstream should not disturb many of the fish your targeting if you stay towards the bank when fishing midriver and in midriver when fishing the bank

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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While all those canoes were a pain in the butt there is a theory that the smb became so used to them that they actually started feeding in their wake?

In all but the smallest streams wading downstream should not disturb many of the fish your targeting if you stay towards the bank when fishing midriver and in midriver when fishing the bank

 

I've had a kayak skirt right through some skinny pools I was fishing on the West Branch, and moments later connected on bass. I think it probably has something to do with their level of activity as well.

 

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The "kicking up the silt" idea makes sense. I'm curious if it's any different if you are using a flyrod instead of lures. I often let a fly drift past a rock or other obstruction, going downstream if I don't have room to get over to the side, and have found some success. I wonder if casting upstream might spook the fish, espec. with a floating flyline on the surface.

 

unless it's splashed down with a poor cast a flyline landing on the water shouldn't spook a fish unless he's just under the surface as when taking dry flies or emergers when he's also looking up.even the leader can spook him and the angler may have to use long fine tippets making sure only the tippet passes over the fish when casting upstream.this happens frequently in trout fishing which is much more technical than the "chuck and chance it " kind of fishing we do for warmwater species where the most important thing is finding the fish.in the better sections of good trout streams there are usually thousands of fish per mile.the challenge isn't finding them but fooling them.

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I agree with norm that the sounds(crunching rocks ,splashing and pushing water)Are the biggest cause of spooking. I will go go dwn. stream or up stream depending on access,and lot of times I will go on shore and walk around dead areas and approach a prime area from shore in. I have had great success when carp are kicking up silt into a area, I think this really does not effect the smallies mood in a negative way. I used to go out to Heideke and follow the carp on shore and throw twin tails around the clouds and p/u smb.//just my view///Raymond k

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A lot of them old time fly guys like Joe Bates didn't get in the water until they looked the situation over a had a plan of not only where to wade but where to cast,which is still a fine idea.

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Hey ronk, i've actually observed smallies "shadowing" carp while they are feeding, and rutting up the bottom of the river. The smallies almost always seems to get the crayfish first! It's very cool to watch, kinda like a snipe tech. the smallies have put togather! ;)

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This sounds crazy but there are several streams I seek out because of the high canoe traffic. First no one else is fishing= low pressure. Fish location easy. No top water fishing, no shallow water fishing. Just deep holes and under wood where canoes can't go. Go during the hottest time of the year = fish cold blooded, eating like crazy. Great for you ego. Bring someone that doesn't fish a lot ( my kids) They'll look like experts and have an audience too. Note I can only tolerate the crowds once or twice a year and then only for a few hours. Watch out for that canoe...!

Phil

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