It would be hard to find something more relaxing than walking along, in or sitting on the bank of a river casting a fly, lure or bait. While all rivers require slightly different fishing techniques there are many techniques that will remain the same.
How to fish a river
Whenever you are fishing it pays to think like a fish and this is no different when fishing a river. Remember that the food will be flowing past the fish very quickly and they will not have much time to decide whether to eat it or not. Whether you are fishing with bait, lure or fly remember to make your presentations look as close as possible to the natural food sources in the river. Sometimes fish will prospect with their mouth (they don't have hands after all) eating everything that flows past, they swallow the food and spit out the rest. When the fish are in this mood you will need to be aware of any indications of a bite and strike early. When the fish are not feeding you can try to annoy them into biting with repetitive casts over the same area.
Upstream or downstream
You can fish upstream and move downstream or downstream and move upstream and your choice will probably depend on the river you are fishing. Talk to local anglers and tackle shops for a bit of advice or just sit and watch some of the locals for a while. It also pays to learn and remember the following fly fishing ettiquette rules for upstream and downstream fishing:
- If a pool is being fished downstream by wetfly anglers, start upstream of them.
- If a pool is being fished upstream by nymph anglers, start downstream of them.
- Start your angling in the opposite direction.
- Don't start fishing a pool downstream when someone else is fishing it upstream
- Don't start fishing a pool upstream when someone else is fishing it downstream
- If in doubt, ask where to fish so as not to cause a disturbance.
Nothing spoils a relaxing day like someone having a go at you for doing something wrong. Unfortunately not everyone is patient with new anglers so it is worth learning the following river etiquette tips to avoid this kind of trouble:
- Respect other anglers already on the water.
- Enquire politely about their plans.
- At stream mouths, join a line of anglers at the end unless there is a large gap.
- Ask if it's okay to join an already occupied pool.
- If a pool is full, wait on the bank or move somewhere else.
- If you join others fishing a pool, don't fish the water someone is just about to fish.
- Do not monopolise a stretch of water, even if you're catching fish there.
- Move upstream or downstream with every few casts unless you are alone.
- When sharing a pool, accepted practice is to take a step every time you cast.
- Leave plenty of room for your neighbour to cast, and to play and reel in a hooked fish.
- Do not fill a gap left by an angler landing a fish - let them return.
- If other anglers offend through inexperience, have a gentle word with them