Our Man In Canada
April 13th, 2009

Reading the Water - Part 2
(Pools)
By Chris Chin

Back to some fish biology: I have noticed that where water is flowing through riffles and runs, a trout will set up on a station. The biggest often get the best lies. Some serious shoulder rubbing sometimes takes place to keep these spots. When the current slows down and the water deepens, trout seem to be more susceptible to start schooling. They seem to tolerate more close company.

Depending on the size of your waters, a pool can be anything from a pocket a few yards long to a monstrosity that seems more like a small lake hundreds of yards long. No matter what the size of the pool in your playground, they all have a few similar characteristics. A pool will have three distinct sections: a head (where the current flows in), a main body with some serious depth and a tail out.


The pool in my back yard.
The head is the base of the falls and the tail out starts 700 feet downstream.

Going back to thinking like a trout, where would you (and your friends) hangout? Remember, you want protective cover from predation, hydraulic effects to not waste energy holding station and food arriving.

In my humble opinion, any of the three parts of a pool will hold trout, depending on the situation.

When there is active "bug" activity upstream in the run from the pool, a trout would like to be at the head of the pool waiting for goodies to tumble into the pool. The same goes for the tail out. When there is little activity, I often find trout milling about in the body of the pool. Then there are those magic moments when an emergence takes place IN the body of the pool and there is active feeding right in the main pool.

One aspect of fly fishing that many folks neglect when fishing a big pool is a long dead drifted dry. It will always amaze me how curious a trout can be. On one of the bigger pools on my home waters, I will often try a dead drifting Red Tag dead center in the pool. With a long leader, Iíll often let the fly drift lazily for 5 or even 10 minutes. In other words, a big pool can be fished exactly like still water, except that itís much easier to guess where the fish could be hiding!

In the deepest and darkest part of a pool, there are all manner of bugs living in the depths. A slow retrieve through the body of a pool is a fine way to see if a lunker would like to gobble up a #6 woolly bugger. I prefer a figure 8 retrieve on deep pools because I can keep constant tension on the line to feel the must subtle take. Remember, in the slow moving waters of a pool, the trout can lazily cruise by an offering, give it a taste and spit it back out rather than dashing out and grabbing it. (just as Bows will sip on subsurface nymphs on the Kamloops Interior plateau.)

Lastly, a pool is (again, IMHO) one of the most serene and peaceful places on a river. Feeding activity can be the gentlest of movements just under the surface. Take the time to observe and examine a pool upon arrival. The trout can be holding anywhere in a pool!


Looking for rises on the #3
~ Chris Chin, St-Severin de Proulxville, Quebec.

About Chris:

Chris Chin is originally from Kamloops, British Columbia. He has been fly fishing on and off ever since he was 10 years old. Chris became serious about the sport within the last 10 years.

"I'm a forest engineer by day and part time guide on the Ste-Marguerite River here in central Quebec. I've been fishing this river for about 10 years now and started guiding about 5 years ago when the local guide's association sort of stopped functioning."

Chris guides mostly for sea run brook trout and about 30% of the time for Atlantic Salmon. "I often don't even charge service fees, as I'm more interested in promoting the river than making cash. I like to get new comers to realize that salmon fishing is REALLY for anyone who cares to try it. Tradition around here makes some of the old clan see Salmon fishing as a sport for the rich. Today our shore lunches are less on the cucumber sandwich side and more toward chicken pot pie and Jack Daniel's."

Chris is 44 years old as of this writing. He is of Chinese origin although his parents were born and raised in Jamaica.

To learn more about the Ste-Marguerite River, visit Christopher's website. You can email Chis at: Flyfishing.christopher@gmail.com.

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