To the angler that does most of their fishing in lakes and reservoirs, approaching streams and rivers can seem quite foreign. (I’m speaking as someone who is currently intimidated by these winding bodies of rolling water.) The fish behave differently, they use different locations, respond to different presentations, conditions can change constantly… things are just… well, different.
However, a 30 second internet search will reveal the truth: there are many stream & river fishing opportunities that we are missing.
Question is… how do we fix that? Where do we start?
Right here, right now.
Let’s discuss what a channel is, and where the deepest water in a river or stream is typically located.
What is a channel?
A channel is typically a narrow, fluid body of moving shallow water that provides a path for sediment flowing within the stream (or river) banks. Vegetation, sediment load, slope and flow can lead to constant changes that affect both aquatic & terrestrial life.
Because the water is moving, the fish in these areas can be slightly more resilient to changing weather conditions like cold fronts, cloud cover and changes in air temperature. If you have the option to fish either a small lake or a stream after a cold front – it might be a good idea to pick the stream!
It is also important to note that many sources seem to refer to the channel as something that is actually within the stream or river itself. The channel is part of a river or stream. Look back at our definition above, the channel provides “a path… flowing within the stream (or river) banks”.
Where is the channel actually located?
Next, it’s important that we understand the general underwater makeup of these channels, especially since most of us will not have access to our depth finders or the electronics we’re used to relying on when we’re fishing lakes. To understand where the channel itself is located (along with the deepest water) let’s look at a cross-section provided by The Freshwater Angler™: Fishing Rivers & Streams:
In a straight section of a river / stream?
Along an outside bend of a river / stream?
Along an inside bend of a river / stream?
Next, we’re going to talk more about current, current speed, and the different elements that factor into this attribute in your body of water. This is important knowledge to have, especially if you’re like me and plan to hike & explore as many streams as you can find in the near future!
That’s a big goal for this year.
Last year, it was important to take some bad habits and turn them into good behaviors. These behaviors resulted in a whole bunch of awesome fish – now this year, it’s time to repeat that process and catch more fish from more bodies of water.
Let’s keep pushing ahead. Tight lines!
NEXT SECTION: Understanding Current and How it Affects Fish Behavior
[ Back to the Index Page for Learn How To Fish Rivers & Streams ]
Some days… it all comes together…
Fishing is always fun – especially in Wisconsin – but it isn’t always as exciting as we’d like it to be. However, the slow days are what makes us appreciate the days when everything seems to come together, and you find loads of fish… like on this awesome morning.