Run Baby Run   Leave a comment

A fair amount of people ask me how to “read the water” when I am out speaking.  The first thing I tell them is that we need to be speaking the same language.  By that, I am simply talking about how I define a run.  To me, a run is a section of the river that has a riffle, to a shelf, to a pool, to a tailout.  There can be several runs in one section of the river depending on how wide it is.  When I am on wide rivers I will divide the river horizontally to create 3 rivers (left, center, right).  Each horizontal section can have various runs.

A run can be long or short but always ends when the tailout meets the next riffle.  It’s there, you’ll find it.  So let’s break this down a bit more.  Riffles can , in my mind, be up to 3 feet deep, sometimes deeper.  It just depends on the substraight and how it flows into the pool section.  Look for a shelf between the riffle and the pool section, that will help determine the riffle section.  Riffles are magnets to feeding and spawning fish.  Riffles typically force fish to make a quick decision as to feed or not, because of water speeds.  Riffles force fish into danger and hard work.  Riffles are your friend.

The shelf sections after riffles are very productive.  Fish lean on the safety and calmness of the shelf to pick off tons of bugs dislodged in the riffle above.  Plenty of prime lies in this section for sure.  The trick with a shelf is to place your flies high enough on the shelf to hit the right depth as you drift over it without snagging the riffle itself.  In other words, you want your flies to present at the proper depth as you flow onto and over the shelf.

The pool is a place where you will find fewer feeding fish.  This is typically a “safe” lie area, or what I call the “pouting” area.  I see a lot of fish we hook in the riffle and the shelf end up pouting in the deeper calm of the pool.  On occasion we’ve hooked fish in the pool, but I don’t waste much time on them if they aren’t actively feeding.  Keep an eye on them because if you witness a fish swim upstream from the pool to the shelf, it’s game on!

Next is the tailout.  I see a bunch of people disregard the tailouts.  Either they don’t recognize it, or they don’t have much luck there.  I will specifically target tailouts at certain times of the day.  We hook some of our biggest fish in tailouts.  As the bottom of the river starts to incline back up to the next riffle, the water compresses to create a bug bonanza.  I find fish , some of the bigger ones at that, will move into a tailout to eat spent dries or key on emergers on the swing.  That’s why you have to hit them at the right times.


 If you look carefully, you can see I am working the shelf between the riffle and the pool.

It’s all in The Playbook!

Fear No Water!


Posted December 11, 2012 by duaneredford in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: