Why Target Pocket Water?

First off, what is pocket water? Pocket water is fast moving current with the streambed literally strewn with boulders and rocks. The term pocket water comes from the myriad of pockets of slow water created by the jumble of rocks in the streambed. Trout love all the slack current and the intertwining of food lanes that occurs in pocket water. They move into good holding lies on all sides of rocks or edges. Since the water is broken, it's difficult to see the trout, but more importantly, they can't see you. A relatively short section of pocket water may contain hundreds of good lies.

Many anglers simply do not take maximum advantage of this kind of water. Why?

It's because they approach pocket water as a single run and shotgun it. When you come to such water you've got to take your time. Survey the situation and try to map out each of the probable lies. Focus on the smooth water areas that form in the conflicting flows. They will give you the ability to see deeper into the water.

Trout will settle into any given pocket only if it satisfies basic needs -- shelter and food. Shelter is protection from predators, a place to hide, or protection from the current while resting or feeding. This is where many anglers miss the boat - a resting lie that offers no practical feeding opportunity will hold no trout. Locate a good resting lie with the appropriate adjacent flow-rate as a food delivery vehicle and chances are a trout will be in residence. The feeding current can come in the form of a ribbon of current passing around, over, or even under the resting lie.

Every pocket water run has a beginning and an end. Some may extend for only 25 yards while others can run for miles. Whenever possible, walk along the bank first, taking note of the most conspicuous lies and current seams, keeping in mind that for every obvious lie there are probably ten that display no surface indications. I'd guess that 75% of all lies will not be discernible with surface inspection.

Go slow and use very short casts keeping your rod high while being religious about line control. There is a pocket water section on the Blue River that I'm quite fond of. It's about 50 yards long and it takes almost 3 hours to cover it properly. Fishing upstream or down stream can make little difference. I will always work dries upstream and streamers, wets, and nymphs either direction.

Pocket water trout are rarely selective! They don't have the luxury of time. If it looks like food, they'll take it. However, your offering must resemble something that a pocket water trout is accustomed to equating as food. Tossing a red ant pattern to a pocket water trout residing mid-stream on a very large river may get no attention; place that same pattern along a rock strewn, undercut, tree-lined bank and you may get a fish on every cast.