Fishing for Trout ..... Reading Trout Water
The above is just one example of a trout lie.
It is important to learn to read water. If you do, you will catch more trout. Knowing where trout live will focus your efforts on trout holding water or what is know as "trout lies". Spending time on water that is void of trout wastes your angling time. Concentrating your fishing time on productive trout holding water will result in more opportunity to present your fly to the trout and if done correctly, you will be rewarded with the fish eating your fly. At this point, the difference between netting the trout or not is the ability to play the fish properly. I once heard it said that fly fishing for trout is as easy as one, two, three. One put the right fly in the right place at the right time. Two, when the trout eats your fly, strike. Three, play the trout properly to the net. If you successfully do this, you will catch a lot of trout.
Trout require very few things to survive. They are, and let's face it, very simple creatures. Sometimes we fly fishers assign such characteristics as "smart" to the fish. The truth of the matter is that they survive in nature having been given a brain about the size of a pea. What allows the trout to survive are some finely tuned instincts and adhering to those few things they require to live makes us believe they are "Rhodes Scholars". Every one of us has been in the position of being severely humbled by a very fussy trout. We just can't figure out what it is they want. My advice, after giving it the old college try, move on. No sense being frustrated by that one trout that will not cooperate. There are many fish in the river and many of them will be more eager to eat your fly.
Trout in a river, what ever river you fish, all have the same few basic requirements. Trout require 1) adequate food and oxygen to sustain life. 2) protection from predators whether from land, water or by air. The Bow River has a number of avian predators of trout such as the white pelican, bald eagles, herons, cormorants and mergansers. The life of a trout is not easy as it is also preyed on by other trout, especially the meat eating brown trout as well as pike that have been washed over the damn and have taken up residence in the Bow. 3) the third requirement, after locating the first two, is to conserve energy. By this I mean that the trout needs to eat and be protected from predators but without expending a great deal of energy. If the trout expends more energy in acquiring food than the energy and sustenance derived from the food item, then the trout will die. If a trout finds all three basic requirements in the same place, that is food/oxygen supply, protection and current relief, then it might be called a "prime lie". A prime lie will hold the biggest trout in that area of the stream. Lesser sized trout will take up residence in a secondary lie but not the prime lie. If an angler finds a prime lie in the Bow River, he might also find a very large trout. If the fly is chosen carefully, presented properly without drag and the trout is struck when he eats the fly, then the angler might find himself into his backing, maybe several times before bringing the trout to net. The Bow River trout are known for their fighting prowess. The Rainbows are reported to be of steelhead stock and are aerial acrobatics while the Brown trout, of German brown trout origins, is a voracious meat eater and displays all the characteristics of it's ancestors. When I say, large trout, I mean a trout of 24 inches or better. The average sized trout in the Bow River is reported by Alberta Fish and Wildlife to be about 16 inches in length. It is common on any given day to land trout 20 inches or better. There is also the possibility, on any given day, to land trout of 24 inches and up.
In surfing the web I came across an article on "Fishing for Trout". In this 4 piece article they talk about reading water and also about the world of the trout. You may view these articles by clicking on the links below.