We had a little taste of spring this past week with temperatures rising into the 60s, rain has broken up the ice, and the area streams are flowing well for the time being. The fishing should be heating up with most local waters being stocked this week. So along with the fish we received in January, the rivers have plenty of trout in them and the water has been in fairly good shape for some early season fishing.
The fishing, as usual for this time of year, has been hit or miss depending on the amount of rain and the flow in the streams. The water temperatures are in the mid to upper 30s depending on where you fish. The fish are sluggish but will hit if you can find them.
I have been fishing the Shavers Fork. I always enjoy fishing there early in the year because I know it so well and its many of the out of the way places that most people overlook. The nice thing about fishing familiar water is the intimacy you feel with that part of the river and the confidence you have in knowing where the fish will be at any given time throughout the year.
There are always certain sections of any stream that will hold fish year around. These places have everything a fish needs to feel secure and feed safe from predators. Deep holes, logjams, springs, boulders and other features have the right characteristics to hold fish. These are locations in any river that have a favorable current flow, protection from predators, and availability of food that all come together to attract and hold fish.
At this time of year when the trout’s metabolism is low, they will not chase many baits and it helps to know a few places that hold fish — pockets, holes, deep runs and all the smaller less obvious spots that attract fish.
For the most part, you must get your bait right in front of the fish for them to eat. In cold water the fish do not need to eat as much as in warmer water.
Trout will not exert a great amount of energy to feed but will happily take a minnow, night crawler, salmon egg or fly drifted in the current seam they occupy. This is where knowing the river you are fishing comes into play. There are places on the Shavers I have been fishing for years that always hold fish but most anglers overlook them because that particular section is not stocked or it has a lack of obvious structure.
There is a small depression in the tail out of a pool near my house that always holds fish. Most people overlook it because of the lack of visible structure but it has everything a trout needs.
It drops to about 5 feet, has several large boulders nearby for protection, and the current comes back together at this spot providing a steady stream of food from several different flows converging at this subtle feature. Another reason to look for these subtle holding areas is that the fish do not get a lot of pressure from other anglers.
Most obvious spots get hit pretty hard by anglers. It’s the out-of-the-way spots that hold fish that have not been cast to by everyone who came by that day.
Those fish will be more willing to eat and may not be quite as spooky as fish that have seen everything but the kitchen sink.
Personally, I like to get away from the crowds and enjoy the sounds of the river and its surroundings. While walking the river fishing my little honey holes, I quite often find new spots.
A fallen tree, a washed out bank, or some other feature may have been created during high water and will attract fish. I enjoy finding these little subtleties on a river.
Not many people fish them and they quite often hold the largest fish in a stretch of water.