FOCUS ON THE MARGINS
The odd dimpling trout might be tempting, but you’re better off marking these down for later and concentrating your efforts along the margins. At first glance this might seem futile, especially when compared to reservoir tactics which often demand long casts away from the banks. However, rivers tend to boast undercut banks, fallen in trees, exposed tree roots and other structure which all provide a safe place for trout to hide. What’s more, flows tend to concentrate food close to banks whether it’s a bend in the river (diagram 4), or an ambling straight (diagram 5). Once you’ve worked a section of likely bank, where depths allow, there is no reason why you can’t backtrack and cross the river to repeat the process on the opposite bank (diagram 6). The reason we retrace our steps is to avoid spooking trout which might be upstream of our position as the general consensus is to progress upstream on running water so that fish are approached from behind. Never attempt to cover the whole river in one swoop. Admittedly, by restricting our efforts to the margins alone we’re potentially robbing ourselves of the bulk of holding water. However, by the same token, we should refrain from attempting to cover a river’s width in a single pass. That is unless a narrow stream is our venue.
Concentrate on the margins.