Our Man In Canada
April 20th, 2009

Reading the Water - Part 3
(Seams)
By Chris Chin

On my home waters, there isn't a whole lot of bug activity. Over the summer, the Atlantic salmon don't eat (just as their cousins, the sea run brook trout). In the fall, the juvenile sea runners do eat, but it still isn't a very rich river. There is therefore no "hatch to match." Finding trout is an exercise in reading the river.

Some of the very best lies are found in seams. (vocabulary may differ). For me, a seam is the line in the current where current slides along side slower moving water. This may come about because the main current skirts a back eddy or pool. It may also be found on straight stretches of river where the depth changes (such as the seam found running along the bank.)

Whatever the reason, I have found that trout like to hide there.

Here on the Left we can see a small seam upstream from the clump of trees with the tell tale transition line of bubbles.

Thinking back (as a trout), I suppose there are good hydraulic effects in a seam to be able to hold on station. Also, the current sliding by brings along an occasional offering.

One of the biggest problems with fishing a seam is getting into position to be able to do a proper presentation. I like to swing a streamer of some sort through the current so that is slides across the seam. Ever notice how often a trout will take on a long down and across swing just as the fly meanders out of the current almost straight downstream of you?

A seam that many angles seem to neglect is the transition on the inside corner of a bend on any riffle or run. Unfortunately, this "V" of calm water is often the VERY FIRST place that anglers wade into!


The seam on the far side of the #26 on my home waters. In order to fish this lie, we need a canoe or a very long cast and two different mends!

If possible, try to setup a ways upstream from these lies and swing an offering back through the current and into the tiny back eddy which forms there.

One final word about seams and transition lines. By definition, it is a zone on the river where the two (or more) currents of different speeds are interfacing. If you're transiting across a river and you cut through one, be ready for the effects that it will have on your water craft. In canoes or pontoons, the effect is attenuated a bit. However, if you have a "hard chimed" drift boat or some other "square edged" craft, such as a John Boat, the effect can be pretty surprising! The boat can spin or lurch or even dig in.

Seams are one of my favourite lies to fish even though many anglers neglect them. The strategies and tactics needed to get a good presentation to one will often challenge all of my (limited) fly fishing abilities. On other occasions, such as fishing the "v" on a small riffle, the presentation is the easiest cast on the whole run.


Thinking strategy The seam running out of the #27 Ste-Marguerite River - Quebec

~ 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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