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Top 5 Shore-Fishing Targets for Rivers and Streams

Ever move to a nice shady spot on a hot, sunny summer day? Or take shelter out of the wind on a blustery winter day? Yeah, me too. And guess what? Fish don’t hang out in the middle of nowhere, either. They often seek out areas that give them comfort, shelter or food.

Knowing a few top spots and casting to them increases your odds of catching fish. So here are my five favorite casting targets for small rivers and streams:

1. Rapids – Fish often head to rapids to feed. Sitting behind a current break (see below), a feeding predator such as a bass or trout can rest in place, waiting for minnows struggling against the strong flow, or for bugs to wash to them. Where rapids start and end are often the key spots.

2. Slack Pools – In rivers with long sections of shallow, swift water, a slow section with deep pools often holds big fish. Groups or “schools” can reside here, especially in the summer and winter, so spend extra time working these spots.

3. Bends – River bends typically produce fast, deep water on the outside and slower flows on shallow bars on the inside. Where fast water meets slower current can be good, but my favorite is the outside “cut bank” where current undercuts hiding places for hungry fish to lurk.

4. Current Breaks – Sitting in heavy current all day for a fish would be like trying to run all day for us – pretty hard. Anything in the water that blocks the flow – a laydown tree, boulders, plants, bridge piling, etc. – creates a spot for a fish to rest and feed without working hard. Cast your bait upstream and come as close to these targets as possible.

5. Eddies – Below large current breaks and river bends, the current often swirls and heads back upstream. Look for bubbles on the surface floating the “wrong” direction to spot eddies. Fish love these spots, so I do too!

If you fish ponds and lakes, click here to see the top five spots to target.

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