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Small Water Fishing on Big Water Rivers

Fishing a mid to large-sized trout stream can be tiring. As you look at the overwhelming, expansive stretch of water in front of you, it’s easy to feel a sort of fatigue as you wonder how on earth you’re going to fish all of that water...

The key is to break it into pieces.

Break it Into Segments

With so much ground to cover, and so many types of lies, try to segment the river into smaller portions treating them almost like their own small rivers. For example, you may start by trying a particularly appealing stretch of fast-moving pocketwater, working your way from boulder to boulder. Once you’ve fished through this target area, evaluate your performance so far. Did you catch any fish? If so, what did they take?

Learn and Adjust as You Go

If you had success, try to replicate it. Look for other areas on the river that offer a cluster of boulders similar to those you just fished. If you didn’t do as well as you hoped, then look for a segment of water with a different type of appealing structure. For example, maybe pocketwater wasn’t working, but those shallow rapids dump into a deep, slow-moving pool. Skip the water in between those initial boulders and go right to the pool. Try your luck there. By doing the same thing you did with the pocketwater, you can evaluate any trends that you’re seeing, and help narrow your scope for the rest of the day. Instead of exhausting yourself by fishing every square inch of river, bounce from key location to key location, focusing on refining the pattern for those fish.

Big Water Means Be Efficient

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with “fishing your way to a spot”, but in rivers where things are spread out, you may be better off going to shore, and walking/driving/drifting to the next key location. You’ll save time that way, and by breaking the river into pieces and hitting the highlights, you’ll be able to key in on a particular approach and presentation without feeling overwhelmed by all of the water in front of you.

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