“I am the obstruction”   2 comments













Hidy Ho good neighbors!  Obstructions, obstructions, fish the obstructions.  First off, what are obstructions, and secondly, how should I fish them?

Looking at the picture above, gives a clear impression of what an obstruction is.  To me, it’s any thing (or person, in this case) that affords a respite for fish from current in moving water.   Be it natural, or man-made, it provides protection, safety, comfort, food, and sometimes additional oxygen.  If an obstruction protrudes beyond the water surface, and the flow is strong, it can actually mix oxygen into the water.

So we have a cursory idea of obstructions. Now, how should we fish them?  Countless times I’ll set a client in a run slot, and watch as the indicator bumps or stops in the same place  drift after drift.  The first couple of bumps and the angler usually will set, and typically after that I’ll hear, “There must be something down there I keep snagging on”.  Exactly!  It’s an obstruction!  Use it to your advantage!

If you’re blind nymphing, meaning nymphing a run where you can’t spot fish, and can’t see bottom, then finding an obstruction is a gift from the fly fishing gods.  We know that fish will sit in front, behind, or to either side of an obstruction according to river flow dynamics.  Again, armed with this information, attack the obstruction.  But how?

Move your feet.  If you know where your bumping the obstuction, the amount of line you have out, and the general angle of your casts, then simply move your feet to change attack angles.  A step back usually allows you to fish the near side of the obstruction. Stepping upstream with a quarter step in, usually gets you to the front of the obstruction.  So forth and so on.

I harp all of the time about miniscule changes in positioning, and continue to this day to be amazed at the BIG differences caused by subtle position changes.  I harp on this so much during trips that last week, a great guy named Bill was releasing a fish from his knees.  After release, the trout slid tight downstream of him to sit in the soft water and recuperate.  Bill looked up at me and said, “I am an obstruction”.

Fish those obstructions, buy The Flyfishers Playbook for Father’s Day, and Fear No Water!


2 responses to ““I am the obstruction”

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  1. Absolutely great advice Duane. Something that goes along with this that many do not understand is the concept of a trout’s strike window. This window is dependent on many factors and can be several feet and diameter or only an inch or two. The subtle positional changes you speak of or a change in the “angle of attack” can make all the difference.

    “Fish Hard or Go Home”

    Dave Hoff

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