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Ronan's report

Sarturdy 10th March, 2007

So how to read water? That's this week's topic. Christ. How about a topic that makes you think..?

OK, so you're looking for seams. Seams are changes in currents, ie two different currents touching. This makes for fish. A merging of currents signifies a convergence of food. So find the seams and you find the fish? Well almost.

Combine seams with subsurface topography and you have the keys you need. Consider this: Fish will pretty much always take the prime lye. A prime lie offers high concentrations of food, security (a bolt hole), where they're not working their fins off to maintain position (rocks or other current breaking structure - back to seams) and, when needed, plenty of oxygen.

In backcountry NZ for example that means: eyes of pools, and the seam that runs off the eye, in front of rocks, broken water of 3-4 feet deep, especially hard on the bottom behind a white/light coloured flat rock and shelves. Pretty much all the prime stuff.

On lowland rivers there's more fish but those are often still the prime lies.

Anyway I don't want to talk about rivers, partly because there's already quite a bit about this in The Flow but also because I want to talk about STILLWATERS! I can understand why we concentrate on rivers at times down here in NZ, but in most of the rest of the world the best fishing is in Lakes! So what the hell do you do when confronted by a large expanse of water (containing big fish), how to deal with that?!

Well, much of fish location is outside the topic of reading water. You have to know some stuff about temperatures, wind direction and how the fish behave locally - for example in NZ large fish often cruise shallow water - that only happens in the UK after dark and into very early morning. But there are a couple of points when it comes to reading water on lakes…

[1] Seams are still cool. Slicks or wind lanes have two surface seams either side of the slick. Fish run these and surface feeding fish congregate there. Much of loch style fishing is simply running slicks.

[2] Underwater currents concentrate fish, this means peninsulas. Find a peninsular on a windy lake, or a stream mouth for that matter, and you have a concentration of fish. That's why apart from very early season the points are the places to head for. Mid-summer surface feeders you'll want to spend most of your time fishing the edge of the ripple upwind [back to 1].

[3] Surrounding hills and valleys will give an indication as to what's going on subsurface. Old gullies and stream beds concentrate fish during early season and when the water temp is high.

For more reading on fishing lakes check out our Stillwater section. This originally started as a book I used to give away during lessons when I taught groups on Ardleigh Reservoir.

That's it - I'm away for the weekend fishing both a lake and a backcountry river. I'll be in full stealth mode of course.


PS yesterday we launched Stealth 'n' Streetwear. Buy before the end of the month and receive our 5% launch discount. Judging by the response so far, it seems like this is exactly what you're been waiting for!

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