Tongans National Forest-Situk River-

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http://www.ohranger.com/tongass-natl-forest/poi/situk-river

Situk River
A mere twenty miles long, the Situk River unobtrusively slips through spruce forests and muskeg meadows from it’s headwaters in the Russell Fiord Wilderness to the Gulf of Alaska. It’s deep tea-colored pools and mossy log jams don’t shout its grandeur. You wouldn’t crane your neck to stare at it if you were passing by in a car. It is not an immense river like the Yukon River or powerhouse like the Alsek River, but make no mistake, the Situk River deserves to be counted amongst Alaska’s great rivers.
Situk川は長さが僅か20マイル。Russell Fiord(氷河)の未開地源流からアラスカ湾へ、トウヒの森と沼地の草原地帯をヒッソリ滑るように流れている。深い茶色の水たまりと苔生した倒木が壮大な風景を静かに見守っている。もし、あなたが車で傍を通っていたとしても、それをじっくり見るためにわざわざ首を伸ばしたりしないだろう。それはYukon川のような広大さやAlsek川のような力強さはない。しかし誤解しないでほしい。アラスカの素晴らしい川の中で、Situk川は数えられるに値する。

If you did pull over and stare down into one of the Situk River’s deep pools, chances are you would see a fish. From early spring to late fall the Situk River is a vein that pulses pacific salmon. Five species of pacific salmon, Dolly Varden char, and the states largest documented run of steelhead call the Situk River home. In the time that it has been recorded, the annual return of anadromous fish to the Situk River has been about 450,000 fish. That’s over twenty-two thousand fish per main stem river mile!
もし、Situk川の深場の1つに寄ってじっくり見たことがあるなら、きっと魚を見る機会があったことでしょう。早春から晩秋まで、Situk川は太平洋サーモンで満ちた大静脈になる。この川を故郷とする太平洋サーモン、ドリーバーデン、そしてスティールヘッドのアラスカで最大の遡上がある。記録ではこの川で45万匹の遡上があった。これは1マイルあたり2万2千匹以上ということだ。

People have been drawn to the Situk River and the massive runs of fish for hundreds of years. Refreshingly, in today’s world of endangered salmon and concrete tributaries, all kinds of people are still drawn for the same reason to the Situk River. Locals still hunt, fish and trap along the Situk River. A commercial fishery shipping wild Alaskan salmon out to the world operates in the Situk-Ahrnklin Estuary. Finally, anglers from as close as Juneau, Alaska, or from as far as Japan choose the Yakutat Ranger District for a sport fishing vacation on the Situk River.
たくさんの人がSituk川と何百年間も遡上を繰返す魚達の遡上に引き付けられる。そして危機に直面しているサーモンやコンクリートになった支流が多い今の世界において、様々な人がなお同じ理由でSituk川に引きつけられている。地元の人は今も川沿いで狩猟、漁業、罠を行っている。世界に向けたアラスカのサーモンの商業交易はSituk-Ahmklin河口で行われている。とうとう、ジュノーやアラスカの近い地域からの釣り人や日本のような遠い国からの釣り人は、スポーツフィッシングを楽しむために、Situk川の(ヤクタット森林地区)Yakutat Ranger Districtが選ばれている。

Fishing in Alaska can be a challenging endeavor. Salmon are highly migratory and their availability at any given time or place is never totally assured. Rain, snow, clouds, biting insects, and bears can make a trip difficult. We hope these pages not only provide a useful tool for anglers visiting the Yakutat Ranger District but will also help to impart a sense of stewardship towards the river. You may come in search of a cooler full of filets, the trophy of a lifetime, or both, but you will leave with memories that will last a lifetime.

アラスカで釣りをすることは1つの野心的試みと言える。大量のサーモンの遡上があり、ある期間と場所におけるサーモンの遡上は決して断言できない。雨、雪、曇り空、虫、そして熊が旅を難しくしている。この記事はYakutat Ranger Districtを訪れる釣り人に有益なツールを提供するだけでなく、川を管理する意識を伝える手助けとなることを望む。クーラーボックスを魚で一杯にするために、自分のご褒美として、または両方で、やって来たかもしれないが、一生涯の思い出を持って帰ることになるだろう。
Directions
Nine Mile Bridge
There are several ways for anglers to get to the Situk River. Forest Highway 10 crosses the Situk River at nine miles from the town of Yakutat. From the bridge anglers can walk along the river to fish. A trail departs downstream on the east side of the river. This trail follows the river for a mile then turns inland and continues to the US Forest Service Eagle and Raven cabins. A spur trail leads to a popular fishing spot at the confluence of the Situk and Old Situk Rivers. Another spur continues downstream past the cabins for another half mile. Hiking this trail requires fording the Old Situk River, so waders are a A man stands in shallow water fishing in misty light while his dog sits on the shore.must. The runway at the cabins makes them accessible to wheeled bush planes.

9マイル橋
釣人がSituk川へ行くにはいくつかの方法がある。1つは9マイル橋で、森林ハイウェイ10がSituk川を横切っている。この橋から、釣り人は川に沿って釣ることが出来る。トレイルは川の東方向へ流れている。川は下流1マイルほど大きく内陸方向で向きを変えて、US森林サービスの2つのCabin(小屋)、EagleとRavenへ続いている。トウヒの森の中を通るトレイルはSituk川とOld Situk川の合流点である人気の釣りポイントへ導いてくれる。また、別のトウヒはCabinを過ぎて、0.5マイルほどで下流へ続いている。このトレイルのハイキングでは、Old Situk川の渡渉があるのでウェイダーが必要だ。Cabin近くの滑走路はブッシュ・プレイン用である。
Those wishing to pursue steelhead in the spring are reminded that the area two miles above Nine Mile Bridge is closed. See the ADF&G Yakutat Regulations for more information.
春のスティールヘッド釣りは、9マイル橋から2マイルより上流域は禁漁域だ。規則の詳細はSDF&Gのサイトを参照。
Lower Landing
Twice daily, tides supply fresh fish to the lower three miles of the Situk River, a feature making the Lower Landing very popular with fisherman. Anglers have the option of parking at the boat landing at the end of Lost River road and hiking upstream or parking at the Maggie John Trailhead and hiking into the river. This area is subject to tidal flow from the nearby estuary so consult a tide table for optimum fishing at the Lower Landing.

下流域
1日に2回、満潮がSituk川の下流域3マイルにフレッシュな魚をもたらす。それで下流域は釣人に大変人気の場所になっている。釣り人はLost Riverロードの終端のボート搬出場所に駐車して上流へ歩くか、Maggile Johnトレイルに車を止めて川の中を歩くことが出来る。このエリアは河口近くなので、干満に影響を受ける。だから、一番いい釣りのためには干満の時刻をチェックせよ。

Situk Lake Trail
Anglers can also hike in the Situk Lake Trail to access more remote fishing areas. From the Situk Lake Cabin, anglers can follow the trail to Mountain Lake and fish along Mountain Stream. Other possibilities include hiking or paddling around the lake and fishing the upper Situk River below it’s outlet. Directly across from the Situk Lake Cabin is another good fishing site, Mountain Stream Inlet. Situk Lake is also accessible by float plane.
Situk湖へのトレイル
釣人は遠方のエリアに行くために、Situk湖へのトレイルを歩くことができる。Situk湖の小屋からMountain湖へトレイルを使って、Mountain Streamに沿って釣りができる。その他、湖周辺を散策したり、カヌーで漕いで、湖出口のSituk川下流域で釣りができる。
Floating the River
One of the most popular options for anglers visiting the Yakutat Ranger District is a day float of the Situk River. Anglers can launch boats at Nine Mile Bridge and float the 13 miles to the Lower Landing. There are several ways to pursue this option; going with a guide authorized to operate on the Situk River in a drift or jet boat, renting a drift boat from a local lodge, or bringing your own inflatable raft, kayak or other paddle craft.
ボートで下る
ヤクタット森林区を訪れる釣人の最も人気の選択肢の1つが、1日かけてSituk川をボートで川下りすることだ。9マイル橋からボートを搬入し、13マイル下流のLower Landingまで下る方法だ。この方法を為すためにいくつかの方法がある。ドリフトボートかジェットボートを認定されたガイドに漕いでもらって下る方法、地元のロッジからドリフトボートを借りて下る方法、自前でインフレータブルなカヤックなどを持ち込む方法だ。
There are some important considerations implicit in any float trip on the Situk River. There is no road access between the put in and take out on the river. It is a short drive from town, but once you launch your boat, help or rescue are far away. The water is cold enough to cause hypothermia even in July. You should bring all the appropriate safety equipment for any Alaskan river float. If you don’t know what that entails, then you should consider making your first trip down the Situk River with an experienced guide.
Situk川のボート下りでは注意すべきいいくつかの点がある。川へボートを搬入する(put in)場所から搬出する(take in)場所の間にアクセスできる道はまったく無い。ボートの搬入場所まで町から短時間で行けるが、一旦川を下り始めると、救助や手助けは得られないことだ。また、水温は7月でも低体温症(hypothermia)になるくらい低い。だから、アラスカの他の川下りと同様に、十分な安全に注意すべきだ。もしその必要品が何か知らないなら、経験あるガイドを一緒にSituk川を下るべきでしょう。
The Situk River displays a fairly wide range of flow conditions. The Situk River flow can range from less then 100 cubic feet per second (cfs) to over 1000 cfs throughout the season. If the river is flowing at less then 100 cfs, then be prepared for a long float with the possibility of a lot of strenuous dragging of your boat. Even at moderate and high flows floating the Situk River is at least an eight hour trip. It is very easy to get sidetracked fishing or lingering in the upper river and then return to the Lower Landing very late. A good measure to keep in mind while you float is that you should pass the Eagle and Raven cabins about a third of the way into your planned day. While the Situk River has no traditional white water, there are many tree snags, sweepers and strainers along the length of the river. These are especially hazardous during high flows.
Situk川は川の流れが大きく変化する。水量は季節によって100(cfs)から1000(cfs)まで変化する。もし水位が100(cfs)以下なら、その長い川下りの途中でボートを引っ張るはめになる場合があることを考えよ。水位が中か高い場合でさえ、少なくとも8時間かかる。上流域では脇道の釣りやぐずぐずした釣りは簡単で、遅くにLower Landingに戻ってくる。川下りの間の1つの目印は、川下り全体の1/3くらいの位置にあるEagleとRavenの2つ小屋を通過する地点だ。Situkにはいわゆる急流(White Water)はないけど、全長に渡って川沿に沢山の流木(snags)、張出した枝(sweepers)、水中の枝(strainers)がある。
Excellent planning tools for a float of the Situk are the USGS gauging station website, Yakutat Weather Office and the Yakutat Tide Predictions for 2007.
Cabins, Campsites & Camping

For those anglers who don’t mind sacrificing comfort to be closer to the fish, there are several options to spend the night along the Situk. The Eagle, Raven and Situk Lake cabins offer a warm dry place to stay. Located a little over three miles downstream from Nine Mile Bridge, the Eagle and Raven Cabins are especially popular with anglers seeking to extend a day float down the river into a multi-day excursion. It is also possible to camp along the Situk River. There are several designated campsites around Nine Mile Bridge. Camping within 50 feet of the high-water line of the river is prohibited. This means no camping on gravel bars. Good campsites along the river have been identified and marked with a sign. Campers are urged to use leave no trace camping practices and follow appropriate camping in bear country bear safety precautions.
In recent years several native allotments have been granted along the lower Situk River. This means parts of the lower river are privately owned and camping is prohibited in these areas. Please be informed and respectful of these private lands.
Situkの優れた旅行計画ツールはUSGSの水位観測所のWEBサイト、ヤクタットの気象観測所、干満予想、Cabin, キャンプサイトだ。もっと魚の接近に居たい釣人には、Situkに沿って夜を過ごす選択肢もある。Eagle, Raven, そしてSituk湖のCabinは暖かく、雨をしのぐ宿泊を提供してくれる。9マイル橋から3マイルちょっとでEagle(ワシ)とRaven(渡りガラス)小屋があり、特に数日間の遠征で川下りしたい釣人には人気がある。Situk川沿いでキャンプすることも可能だ。9マイル橋周辺に指定されたキャンプ場がある。水から50フィート以内のキャンプは禁止されている。つまり、河岸でのキャンプは禁止だ。川沿いのイイキャンプ場には看板がある。キャンパーはキャンプ跡の無い場所を好み、熊がいるので安全のために警告に従がって、そこに相応しいキャンプをすべきだ。
最近、下流域で原住民といくつかの取決めが認可された。これは下流域の一部は個人の所有地で、このエリアではキャンプは禁止であることを意味する。個人所有地についてよく理解して敬意を払ってください。

広告

Riffle, Runs, Pools,Flats, Undercut Banks, Woody Debris, Overhanging Vegetation, Plinge Pools, Rocket Water

http://depts.washington.edu/ehuf473/ehuf473/rifflerunpool.htm
adding some pictures from other sites, 別サイトの図、写真を追加

Riffles(早瀬、浅瀬)
Riffles are the preeminant feature of coldwater streams. They are at once a food source, a shelter from predators, a hedge against oxygen depletion, and a conveyor belt that brings food to the trout. Riffles, with their broken water surface, not only hide the trout from predators, but also hides predators (such as humans) from the trout. Because of this, trout in riffles may be approached more easily, and are harder to spook. Many species of insects reproduce or grow to maturity in riffles. The constant fast current dislodges nymphs from the rocks, freeing them into the “biological drift”, a term that refers to the constant downstream movement of organisms in flowing water. Riffles also oxygenate the water. In hot weather, trout may congregate in riffles, where the oxygen content of the water is highest. Riffles may be any depth, but most are between one and three feet deep. Within a riffle, trout may lie in wait behind rocks, hug the bottom, or roam about. Small pockets of deeper water in a riffle are prime feeding locations for trout, and invariably hold good fish. Riffles also hold larger prey items, like darters, sculpins, and crayfish, so large trout may move into riffles periodically to feed, especially at night.p
ns, and crayfish, so large trout may move into riffles periodically to feed, especially at night.

 Rifflesは渓流の際立った特徴だ。こして、餌の源、捕食者からのシェルター、酸素を充足する障害物、鱒に餌を運ぶベルト・コンベアになる。波立つ水面のRiffleは捕食者から鱒を隠すだけでなく、鱒から捕食者や釣人を隠す。魚をビクつかせることはなく、riffleにいる鱒へ簡単に近づくことができる。riffleではたくさんの昆虫が繁殖し育っていく。一様な急流は石からニンフ(幼虫)を剥ぎ落とし、水流の中で有機物の一定な下流への動きを意味する言葉「生物的な浮遊」へと解放させる。riffleはまた酸素を生む。riffleでは酸素濃度が高いので、暖かい日に鱒は群れをなしている。riffleは色々な水深があるが、大半は1~3フィートの間だ。riffle区間では鱒は岩の後ろで待ち伏せしていて(lie in wait)、川底の近くにいるか、または動き回っている。riffleの深場の小さな窪地は鱒にとって一級の餌場だ。いつもイイ魚がいる。riffleはまたダーター(darter)、カジカやザリガニのような大きな獲物(prey)が居着き、大きな鱒が定期的にriffleに移動している。特に、夜に。

Runs(深瀬)
Runs are similar to riffles, but although their current may be somewhat swift, their surface is smooth enough to allow light to penetrate. Runs are characterized by moderate current and a smooth surface. Runs may be deeper than riffles, but this depends on the size of the stream. Runs that form bends may form undercut banks, as the current erodes the underside of the streambank. Trout use runs as both holding and feeding areas. Trout do not need to expend as much energy fighting current in a run as in a riffle, so when food is abundant, trout may move out of a riffle and into a run to save energy while feeding.

 Runsはrifflesに似ているが、その水流は何らかのサザ波があり、日光が浸透するに十分なくらいゆっくりした水面である。Runsは穏やかな流れとスムーズな水面が特徴だ。RunsはRifflesより深いが、それは渓流のサイズに依存する。曲線部を形成するRunsは、水流が岸辺の下側を浸食しながら、張り出しのある川岸(undercut banks)を作る。鱒は一時休止と採食のためにrunsを使う。鱒はruffleと同様、runでは水流に対抗するためにエネルギーをたくさん消費する必要が無いので、餌が豊富なら採食中のエネルギーを押さえるために、riffleから出てrunに移動するようになる。

Pools(プール、トロ場、淵)
Pools are one of the most obvious features of a stream. They are popular with beginners who become mystified by the trout they see lurking in pools. Pools often hold suckers as well as tout. The pool provides the two things that are generally lacking in coldwater streams: depth and still water. The deep water of a pool provides a trout with the ultimate in protection from predators. However, because current in the main pool, especially near the bottom, is almost nonexistant, food is hard to come by there. Where a riffle or run enters a pool,a featured called “the toungue of the pool” is created. This area is where all biological drift enters the pool, and is a prime location for trout to lie in wait. The entire upstream end, where the tongue is, is called the “throat”. The deepest section in the middle of the pool is called the “belly” and the narrows at the bottom where the water speeds up as it exits the pool is called the “tail”. The tail concentrates food, and any kind of structure located in the tail of the pool is a prime location which will hold fish.

 Poolsは渓流で最も明らかな特徴のある場所だ。poolに潜む鱒に魅惑された初心者には人気がある。Poolは鱒と同様にSuckerを居着かせる。poolは低水温の川で、深さと止水の2つを与える。深い水域は、鱒に捕食者から身を守るに良い場所になる。しかし、特に川底近くの主poolの流れはほとんどなく、餌がここまで来るのは難しい。riffleやrun部がpoolに入ってきて、poolのtoungue(舌)と呼ばれる場所が作られる。このエリアはすべての生物学的浮遊物がpoolに入る場所であり、鱒が潜んでいる一級の場所だ。上流(toungue)の終端は喉(throat)と呼ばれる。poolの中間の最も深い部分は腹(belly)と呼ばれ、それが終わると、流れが速くなる川底の細い部分は尾(tail)と言う。tailは餌を集め、poolのtailのどのような構造も魚のいる一級の場所だ。

Sucker
Flats(平瀬)
A flat might be called a shallow pool. Flats have a still, unbroken surface, but a shallow, uniform bottom. Flats may or may not be productive, depending on bottom type. Smooth, sandy flats are almost worthless as trout habitat, except at the edges or near woody debris. Gravel flats are better, but flats that are filled with aquatic vegetation are perhaps the best. Open channels that often form between the weeds are perfect holding spots for trout, but beware: trout on flats are incredibly wary and can see the area above the water perfectly. Fishing for trout in flats is a place where presentations must be artful, tippets must be long and fine, and trouters must make every effort to conceal themselves from their quarry.

 Flatは浅いpoolと呼ぶことができる。flatは静かで波のない水面だが、浅く一様な川底だ。flatに魚がいるかいないかは川床に依存する。スムーズな砂地の川底には流木の集積した箇所を除いてほとんど魚はいない。砂利のflatは鱒の住処として価値がないが、水辺の植物で覆われたflatはおそらくベストだ。雑草間にできる開けたchannelは鱒の完璧な待機場所だ。用心せよ。flatにいる鱒は非常に用心深く、水面の上をしっかり見ることが出来る。flatでの鱒釣りはフライのプレゼンテーションは芸術的に、ティペットは長く繊細で、そして釣人は足場から自分を制御するように努力しなければならない。

Undercut Banks(えぐられた土手)

Wherever strong current flows against an earthen bank, the area beneath the water may become eroded. This creates a submerged, cavelike overhang in which trout may hold without worrying about predators. Undercut banks are also created by man, these so-called “Lunker Structures” are placed in the stream to provide additional cover for trout in areas where undercuts do not occur naturally. In all cases, these stream features will hold fish. Presenting a fly to these fish, however, can be quite a challenge. Depending on the current, it may be possible to drift a nymph beneath an undercut, but more often than not this is an exercise in futility. Creeping up on the same bank and dapping your fly over the edge works occasionally, and during a hatch, a dry fly may be drifted against the bank to elicit strikes from the trout concealed beneath the undercut.

 土手に強い水流が流れ込んでいるところは、どこでも水中のエリアは浸食される。これは水中に沈んだ、洞穴のような出っ張りを作る。そこでは鱒は捕食者を心配する必要が無い。また、ここは人間によっても作られものはLunker Structureと呼ばれる。自然に出来ないundercutのある場所では鱒に更なるカバーを与えために作られる。いずれの場合も、鱒が住み着く。それらの魚にフライをプレゼンテーションすることは本当に冒険である。川の流れによって、undercutの下にニンフをドリフト可能だが、大抵(more ofen than not)、無駄なことになる。同じ土手を這って、その縁にフライを落とすと、ときどき上手くいく。羽化の期間はドライフライ土手に対して流すと、undercut下の隠れている鱒からアタリを引き出せる。

Woody Debris(木の浮遊物)
Logs, branches, even whole trees sometimes end up in trout streams. These features block the current and provide shelter for fish. Swinging a streamer from upstream is one presentation that works in these instances. Woody debris, when combined with another feature, such as deep water or the tongue of a pool, is a trout magnet.

 丸太、枝、木でさえ、最後には鱒のいる渓流に流れて来る。そのためこれらは川の流れをせき止め、魚の避難所になる。上流からストリーマーを流すことは、うまいプレゼンテーションの1つだ。川の深場や細いプールのような部分、流木が組合わさった浮遊物は鱒の興味になる。

Overhanging Vegetation(覆い被さった草木、ボサ下)

Whether it is tall grass or tree branches, anything hanging out over a stream is worthy of notice. These structures protect trout from their most effective predator, the fisherman. Plus, terrestrial insects, such as ants, aphids, and beetles, may drop into the stream from such. A carefully planned cast that is allowed to drift beneath overhanging vegetation is always worth a shot. Or, you can creep up on the bank and gently lower a tiny ant imitation onto the surface of the water and feed out line to let it drift beneath a tree. This crafty and highly enjoyable tactic has always been enjoyable.

 背の高い草か、木の枝かに係わらず、川に覆い被さったものがある箇所は注意すべき場所だ。このような地形は、恐ろしい捕食者や釣人から鱒を守る。更に、アリ、アブラムシ、カブトムシなどの陸生昆虫がそこから川に落ちることがある。覆い被さった草木の下を流すための注意深く考えられたキャストはショット(オモリ)が効果的である。また土手を這って、水面に蟻のイミテーションをやさしく落とし、木の下を漂わせるように餌を流す。この狡くて楽しい戦術はいつも面白い。

Plunge Pools(滝壺)

Small waterfalls will occasionally be encountered on trout streams. Where the falling water hits soft bottom, a hole is scoured out that may be considerably deeper than the surrounding water. Trout love these tiny, sheltered pockets and a weighted nymph, cast above the waterfall and allowed to travel down to the bottom of the plunge pool, will take fish.

 ときどき、小さな滝に鱒のいる渓流で出会う。滝が柔らかい川底にぶつかると、周辺よりもかなり深く押し流される。鱒はこの小さく守られた窪みが好きで、滝上にキャストして滝壺の底に沈めるオモリ付きニンフが有効だ。

Rapids and Pocket water(激流と岩陰)

Rapids are areas where the water is so swift that trout do not hold in them. Within a rapid, however, fish will maintain station in scour holes, behind rocks, and in small “pocket water” of various types. Heavily weighted nymph rigs may be employed to explore these areas.

 Rapidは鱒がそこに留まることができないくらい速い流れだ。しかし、rapid内では魚は、岩の後ろなどの小さな掘れた窪地に居場所を維持している。重いオモリの仕掛けのニンフがこのエリアでは効果的だ。

Yakutat Bay 2012

Yakutat Bay 2012 by Frederica de Laguna

Yakutat Bay is open to the Gulf of Alaska and located in the heart of the massive Saint Elias Mountain Range. Its name comes from the Tlingit peoples who have lived in the bay for centuries and it means “the place where canoes rest”. Yakutat Bay offers a rare protected harbor on the otherwise rugged and storm tossed coast between Prince William Sound and the protected inside waters of the Alexander Archipelago. Notable early explorers to seek its shelter were Vitus Bering in 1741, Capt. James Cook in 1778, Alessandro Malaspina in 1791 and Capt. George Vancouver in 1794. Since that time Yakutat Bay’s stunning natural beauty has changed very little and today this remote region of Alaska still attracts an adventuresome few who come to explore its lofty mountains, ice filled glacial fjords and sheltered rainforest islands.

ヤクタット湾はアラスカ湾に開いていて、大規模なSaint Elias Mountain Rangeの心臓部である。その名称はリンギット族の人々(何世紀にも渡ってこの湾に住んでいた)から来ていて、意味は「カヌーが休む場所」だ。ヤクタット湾

On a clear day Yakutat Bay’s northern skyline is dominated by the mountains of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve and rising above all others stands Mount Saint Elias the second highest mountain in both the United States and Canada at 18,008 ft (5,489 m). Named Yaas’éit’aa Shaain by the Tlingit, the mountain was first climbed in 1897 by an expedition led by famed explorer Prince Luigi Amedeo Giuseppe Maria Ferdinando Francesco di Savoia-Aosta, aka The Duke of the Abruzzi.

The City of Yakutat, population 656, is now located at the end of Monti Bay and receives dally air service via Alaska Airlines and regular ferry service from the Alaska Marine Highway System. Yakutat’s economy is based largely on fishing, fish processing, government and visitor services including lodges, inns and charter fishing for both saltwater and fresh. Fishing in the Situk River is considered world-class and attracts many anglers every year. Many year round residents depend on subsistence hunting and fishing to augment their personal income

On the south side of the bay is the village of Yakutat surrounded by a small archipelago of sheltering islands. Over the past two centuries the village’s location has moved several times due to availability of food, trade, warfare and economic opportunity from commercial fishing and sea food processing. Aside from private and native owned lands the area surrounding Yakutat is under the management of the Tongass National Forest and, as of yet, has seen little in the way of large scale logging or development.

 

The Yakutat community maintains a strong traditional Tlingit culture, about half of the area’s population is Alaska Native or part Native. The Yakutat Tlingit are organized under Yak-Tat Kwaan, Inc., the village corporation that was formed as a result of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, as well as the Yakutat tribal government. Traditionally there are five major clans of extended families that are based on matrilineal lines in the Yakutat area: Teikukeidi (Brown Bear), Lunaxadi (Silver Salmon), Shunkukeidi (Thunder Bird), Kwaashkikwaan (Humpback Salmon) and Galix Kaagwaantaan (Beaver and Wolf). This totem pole, located on a beautiful local trail, is a memorial pole for a mother’s lost son and is testament to the community’s commitment to its traditional roots, values and culture.

The Yakutat and Southern Railroad was unusual in that its sole freight commodity was raw fish. The railroad’s schedule was totally depended not only on the fishing season but the twice daily tide and did not run during the winter months. Beginning in 1903 fishermen would bring their salmon to a slough on the Situk River and then load it onto the Y&S train. The train would then hall the fish 11 miles north to Yakutat where they would be canned and shipped to US markets. Today the engine and a few cars can be found in a city park near the center of town and the old rail bed has since been turned into a hiking trail, but if you plan to take a walk you will probably want to bring your bear spray as the bears like to walk there too.

Every year Humpback whales arrive during the summer to feed on the abundant schools of herring in the bay. Seals and sea lions haul out on crowded rocks, and harbor porpoises dive for fish in the channels and lagoons.  Even if you go by yourself, you are never really alone when you are out on the water.

A stopover and breeding ground for over two hundred species of birds, Yakutat is an ideal destination for the avid naturalist and bird watcher. You may want to check out the Yakutat Tern Festival that gets going in late May. If you do plan a visit be sure and bring your binoculars and checklist as every spring the bay comes alive with our avian friends, such as these Black Legged Kittiwakes in Disenchantment Bay.    

A trip to the end of Disenchantment Bay will bring you face to face with the largest tidewater glacier in Alaska. The sprawling Hubbard Glacier is seven miles wide at its terminus and over forty miles long spilling down from the surrounding mountains. Icebergs choke the upper bay and it took several hours for us to weave our way up to the looming cliffs of ice. If you don’t have the time or inclination to paddle all the way up from Yakutat, about 60 miles one way, reliable charter service is available from Yakutat Charter Boat Company. They offer a full day excursion up to the face of the glacier and back at a very reasonable price. Kayak drop off and pickup can be arranged for an additional charge.
 

The face of the Hubbard Glacier is about ten stories tall. When the ice fractures and lets loose it sends huge chunks crashing into the sea with thunderous sounds. On occasion, bergs would break off underwater, sending “shooters” rocketing up from the depths. This calving happens often, so good judgment should be used when approaching the glacier’s face. During this trip, the gap between the surging glacier and the entrance to Russell Fjord was open, but far too narrow to safely pass, so we spent an hour enjoying the deep blues of the glacial ice and watching harbor seals nurse their pups on the surrounding icebergs.

While in Yakutat I stayed at Leonard’s Landing Lodge. Located in the center of the surrounding islands, it’s a perfect spot to explore the area by kayak. Single and double kayaks are available for lease from the lodge by the hour or day. The owners and staff were very helpful in providing all necessary gear, arranging transportation and sharing their local knowledge. Their tidy rooms were reasonably priced and they have more exclusive beach front cabins as well. Maybe I’m just getting old and soft but I could sure get used to returning to camp with a hot shower and clean bed instead of just tenting it.

The islands were a delight to paddle with the stunning backdrop of the Saint Elias Range in the distance. A great number of birds were nesting on the edges of the islands including Arctic and Caspian Terns. The wildlife, both marine and terrestrial, was amazingly abundant. I searched for but found little evidence of the old village sites, long gone, swallowed up by the dense rainforest. 

One of my favorite places I explored was the Anaku Lagoons on the Phipps Peninsula just south of town. There are lots of intriguing salt chucks and hidey holes back in there, so I had to play the tides just right to get all the way back to the farthest lake. I also had to pay keen attention to my map to avoid getting lost amongst all the twists and turns.

Calm and serine, starfish, anemones and long strands of slowly waving kelp passed beneath my hull while small fish and hermit crabs scurried for cover. From the forest above, the songs of many different birds drifted down through the canopy. Sitka Blacktail deer unaware of my approach grazed on sedge grasses along the water’s edge. A small school of salmon swirled around at the entrance of a stream. Paradise!

From a narrow spot on the south end of Kardy Lake I was able to hike over to the vast beaches on the pacific side. If I ever go back to Yakutat, it will probably be to hike and camp along that shore.  It was really quite beautiful.
 

Paddling through the island and bays I would often try and imagine the days, not too long ago, when canoes were the only form of transportation and Yakutat bay was occupied exclusively by its first inhabitants. Before arriving I began reading Under Mount Saint Elias: The History and Culture of the Yakutat Tlingit by Frederica de Laguna. Reading her monumental three volume ethnographic work, first published by the Smithsonian Institution in 1972, helped give me a window into the past and a deeper appreciation for this remarkable place and its people.

Book 1Book 2Book 3 (photos)

“We dedicate this to the greatness of your ancestors, and to bright hopes of your children and grandchildren.”
– Frederica de Laguna

Reading the Water

Reading the Water(川を読む)
http://midcurrent.com/techniques/reading-the-water/

by Tom Rosenbauer
photos by Tom Rosenbauer
Stream reading is a vital skill for prospecting, but you should approach a day of fishing with the philosophy that not all places in a stream hold trout, and others that may hold trout cannot be blind-fished easily.

川を読むことは、見通しの不可欠な技術だ。川のどこにでも鱒が居着いているわけでなく、また簡単に釣れない鱒がいるという考え方で、一日釣りをすべきである。

SOME WATER that is easily fished during a hatch is tough to blind-fish with consistent success. Stream reading is a vital skill for prospecting, but you should approach a day of fishing with the philosophy that not all places in a stream hold trout, and others that may hold trout cannot be blind-fished easily.
When you cast to rising fish, you know exactly where each fish is, you have a good idea what they’re eating, and you stalk one fish at a time. You know the fish are willing to feed, and if your casting is accurate you know they can see your fly. On the other hand, when blind-fishing, you must constantly keep two questions in mind: Can he see my fly, and can he see me? If he sees you before he sees your fly, the fish will be spooked, and even if he doesn’t bolt for cover he won’t be interested in eating. You must have confidence in your ability to locate unseen fish, and you must be able to make a decent presentation to the narrow range where a suspected fish can see your fly.

In general slow water is the hardest water to fish blind, for a number of reasons. Slow water is more difficult to read, because in big pools you don’t have the benefit of differing currents to narrow the possibilities of where you may find a trout. In a riffle or run much of the water is too fast for a trout holding in place, and some of the water is also too shallow. Trout will be found in narrow, easily recognizable bands where fast water meets slow, deep water meets shallow, or rocks or shelves offer relief from the current. It is difficult to cover slow water without spooking the fish, because fish in slower currents get a much better look at the outside world and the food they’re eating. In a riffle you can drop your line right on top of a trout without spooking him, so a thirty-foot drift will effectively cover thirty feet of water. In slow water, though, a thirty-foot drift will cover a maximum of fifteen feet, the length of the longest leader most of us can handle, and the trout lying under the fifteen feet of fly line will probably be spooked. Frankly most of us lack the patience to blind-fish slow water. The fly drifts so slowly that we lose interest and confidence in what we are doing.

 虫の羽化シーズンの間、簡単に釣れる川はいつもblind-fishには辛く当たる。小川の流れを読むことは鉱床探査で必須の技術であるが、川のどこにでも鱒が居着いているわけでなく、また簡単に釣れない鱒がいるという考え方で、一日釣りをすべきである。ライズする魚にキャストしたとき、魚がどこに居るかを正確に知り、魚が何を食っているかを知る良い考えであり、そのときは忍び足で近寄るのだ。魚が捕食したがっているか、もしキャスチングが正確なら、魚はそれをみつけることが分かる。他方、blind-fishingではいつも2つのことを心に留めろ。ヤツはオレのフライをみつけれるか?ヤツはオレを見れるか?もし、魚がフライを見つける前に、あなたを見たのなら、魚は臆病に成り、物陰に急に逃げ出さないときでも、捕食に興味を失う。見えない魚を見つける為の能力に自信を持たねばならない。疑りやすい魚がフライを見れる狭い範囲に、適切なプレゼンテーションができなければならない。

 一般的に、流れがゆったりした川(slow water)で、知識も無く(盲目的に)魚を釣るのは難しい。それにはたくさんの理由がある。slow waterは読むのが難しい。なぜなら、大きなpoolでは魚がいる場所を見つける可能性狭めるために、水流の流れを分別する利点がないので。激流や急流では、鱒がその場所に居着くには流れが速すぎ、ある流れはあまりにも浅い。鱒は、速い流れと遅い流れがぶつかる処、深い流れが浅い流れに出会う処、岩や棚が水流を弱める処である、狭い幅の箇所で簡単に見つかる。魚が臆病にさせずに、ゆっくり流れる流れをカバーすることは難しい。と言うのは、ゆっくりした流れの魚は外の世界と餌を非常によく見ているのだ。ゆっくりした流れでは30フィートのドリフトで、最大15フィートの長さ(扱える最大長のリーダ)をカバーできるが、15フィートの水深にいる魚はたぶん用心深いくなっている。率直にいえば、大半の人は、そのような流れを無知識で釣る(blind-fish)ための忍耐が不足しているのだ。我々がやろうとしている興味や自信を失うくらい、フライはゆっくり漂うのだ。
Fishing blind is fishing to as many possible or probable lies as possible, while covering as much water as possible, without actually being sure there is a fish in any one of those potential lies.

A giant slow pool, like this one on the Delaware, is difficult to read and to prospect for trout in.
You’ve seen fish rising in your favorite pool on another day when there was a good Sulphur hatch, so you know exactly where they are lying, right? Sorry. Those fish may be lying below the same spot you saw them rising, but in slow water, especially during a heavy hatch or spinner fall, trout often move from their normal lies into places where they can capture floating food with greater ease.

Delawareの川のように、大きくゆっくりしたpoolは鱒がいる場所を読んだり見通すことは難しい。
これらの魚はあなたがライズを見た同じ箇所を水面下に居る可能性がありが、流れの遅い水域では、特にたくさんの羽化やスピナーフォールのとき、鱒はしばしば、もっと簡単に浮遊した餌を捕らえる場所へ、いつもの住処(lies)から移動する。

There are ways of finding trout in slow water, which we’ll explore a little later in this chapter, and there are methods of fishing that work in slow water, which I’ll talk about in later chapters. Vermont’s Battenkill has miles of slow, deep water that I have tried to blind-fish with a nymph or dry during every month of the season, but I find myself spooking an entire pool before I can get a fish to look at my fly. Where a riffle punctuates the slow water, I’ll do fine, but between the infrequent fast water I find myself relying on streamers, which can be fished independent of the current and for which trout will move from ten or even twenty feet away. On the other hand, when conditions are right in faster water, I can take trout on dries, wets, nymphs, or streamers.

So prospecting for trout relies heavily on riffles, runs, and pocket water, which is fine because in a heavily fished stream this is the water most fishermen ignore. When there are no hatches, I always start fishing at the head of a pool or run, in pocket water, or in a riffle, and then I graduate to the slower water if I can figure out what is going on. Fish in rough water are less easily disturbed, and they’re also less wise to the dangers of artificial bugs. Trout fishing is supposed to be challenging, but I am quite content with the dumbest, least neurotic trout available if there is no hatch to even the odds.

 後の章で展開するが、緩慢な流れの鱒を見つける方法がある。そのような流れで効果のある釣り方がある。これを後で述べる。Vermont’s Battenkill 川には数マイルのゆっくりして、深い流れがある。そこで全シーズンでニンフとドライで試したことがある。自分のフライが魚から見えるように、魚に近づく前に、自分でpool全体を脅えさせてしまっていることに気が付いた。急流がゆっくりした流れを中断するような処ではうまくいくが、たまの急流間では、水流に依存せずに釣れ、鱒は10~20フィート離れているので、ストリーマに頼った。他方、状態が急流で正しいときはドライ、ウェット、ニンフ、ストリーマで釣ることのできる。

 荒瀬、緩流、岩陰に強く頼った鱒の存在を見通すことは、素晴らしい。と言うのは、良く釣れる川では、これは大半の釣り人が無視する流れだ。羽化が見られないのなら、岩陰や急流ではpoolか、runの頭部から始めて、どうなっているかが分かったら、緩流の方へ少しずつ進む。荒い水域の魚は簡単にほとんど動揺させられない。また、偽物の虫の危険に対して無頓着だ。鱒釣りは冒険的であると思われているが、どう見てもハッチがないなら、間抜けで神経質な鱒でも、十分満足できる。

Prospecting is much easier in this kind of riffled water.(このような荒瀬では見通しが良い)

Why Trout Need Special Places
When Thomas Jenkins built his artificial channel in Convict Creek, he found that different trout introduced into the channel separately used virtually the same feeding positions, even if a whole new group of trout replaced a previous group. The positions used didn’t offer more food than the unused sites, but Jenkins thought the sites used offered better energetics — in other words, the fish could obtain their food without wasting more energy than they were gaining. Energetics is the basis of learning to read a stream. Trout need enough food passing by their position to have an almost constant supply, yet they need to lie in areas where the current velocity is nearly zero.

鱒はなぜ、特別な場所を必要とするか
 Tomas JenkinsはConvict Creekに人工の河道を作ったとき、彼は実質同じ給餌場を使う別れた河道に、別の鱒がやって来ることを見つけた。新しい鱒のグループが、前のグループと交代したときでも。使われた場所は未使用の場所よりもたくさん餌を提供していなかった。しかし、Jenkinsは使われた跡地はより活力(精力)を提供すると思った。言い換えると、その魚はエネルギーを増すというより、消費しないで餌を得ることができるのだ。エネルギー論は川をよむための基礎だ。鱒は一定の供給を得るために、近くを流れる餌が十分必要とする。それでも、水流の速度がほぼゼロである場所に留まる必要がある。

Bob Bachman has determined that brown trout prefer to lie in water with a speed from one-quarter to one-half foot per second and feed in water running about two feet per second. Rainbows generally feed in faster water, up to about six feet per second, while brook trout and cutthroats like about the same current speeds as browns. In a stream that offers all four species you’ll often find the rainbows at the head of a pool and the other species in the middle and the tail of the pool, or in places where a large object slows the current. The current at the surface of a tumbling mountain stream might be ten feet per second, the fastest water in an average riffle ­and pool low and stream six feet per second, and the middle of a slow pool at low water approaching that magic half a foot per second. This is why you’ll see trout hanging just below the surface in the middle or tail of a pool during a good hatch or spinner fall at low water — the current is slow enough that the fish can comfortably lie and feed in the same place.

 Bob Bachmanはブラウントラウトは秒速1/4~1/2フィートで水中に留まり、秒速約2フィートの流れで水中で捕食することを好むことを特定した。ブルックやカットスロートはブラウンと同じ流速を好むが、虹鱒は一般にだいたい秒速6フィートの速い流れ補食する。これら4種類の魚が棲む川ではpoolの中心に虹鱒が、その他がpoolの中間と尻尾に、または大きな障害物が水流の速度を緩和する場所にいる。急な山斜面における渓流の水面の流れは秒速10フィートくらいで、平均的な急な流れとpoolの最も速い流れの水深は低く、毎秒6フィートで流れ、下流に向かう緩流の中間部は0.5フィールにたちどころに変化している。これが水位が低い場所で、羽化やスピナーフォールのある期間に、poolの真中かテールの水面下で、パク付く魚を目撃できる理由だ。その流れは、同じ場所で魚が快適に居着き、捕食できるに十分なくらいゆっくりしている。

The usual scenario, though, is for trout to lie in slower current and dart into faster current to grab a piece of food. A fish might lie behind a rock and move to the side, where food is washed around the rock. Another fish might lie on a rubble-strewn streambed and slide up into the faster water just above the bottom. The places to look for trout are areas where fast water meets slow, adjacent to the main current. How do trout find these places? One theory is that they “hear” a particular chord of sounds with their lateral line. Apparently every place in a stream has a unique sound fingerprint.
You can find the main current by watching the line of bubbles and debris that snakes its way through a pool or run. Look up to the head of a pool and find the fast water spilling into it, then trace its path through the pool to find the places where trout anchor themselves. Understanding stream richness will help you determine how close to the main current trout will be found — in an infertile stream they will be locked onto its edges like cars waiting on a highway entrance ramp. As richness increases they will be found farther and farther away, in the side streets and alleys.

 普通のシナリオは緩流にいて、餌を取るために急流に突進する鱒に対してある。魚は岩の後ろにいて、岩の周辺に餌が押し流れてくる脇に移動する。また、ある魚は流れの砂利の上と、川底のちょうど上のより速い流れに移動するかも知れない。鱒を探す場所は速い流れが主流にゆっくり出会い合流する場所だ。鱒はどうやってその場所を見つけるのか?

Fishermen call these current-speed transition zones seams, and if you know nothing else about reading the water, you can find trout by looking for them. If you board a drift boat with a guide, the first thing he’ll tell you is to hit the seams. Loosely defined, almost any place a trout feeds is a seam, because trout almost always lie in slow water and feed in faster adjacent currents. But seams formed by two currents of different direction and velocity are especially useful because they can help you find trout where there are no bottom obstructions to break the current, or where you can’t see the obstruction on the bottom. When two currents meet, there is always a pocket of relative calm within the turbulence, and often it is enough to form a place where trout can lie and feed in comfort, even when there are no rocks, logs, or shelves. Seams like this form between the slow water next to a bank and the main current, below an island where currents re-form, or along the edges of a fast chute.

Less obvious than horizontal differences in current are the vertical ones. Anytime water encounters an object, friction slows the current and causes turbulence. Water that flows through a smooth pipe is nearly laminar, meaning most of the water molecules are running in the same direction. A trout stream never approaches anything near laminar flow, as the roughness of the streambed, the banks, and objects such as gravel bars and logs slow down the water, deflect the flow from a straight downstream course, and cause turbulence. That is why water in a straight piece of stream is fastest in the center of the river, near the surface. The closer to the banks and the bottom, the greater the friction, the greater the turbulence, and the slower the downstream progress of the water. Not surprisingly, then, in a stream of reasonable velocity without midstream obstructions you find most trout near the banks or on the bottom.

The focal point behind this rock is a particularly distinct one.
Reading Surface Currents
Reading the water is often spoken about as if it’s some kind of voodoo that only grizzled old men who smoke pipes and have many patches on their waders understand. They are supposed to be able to make magic predictions by translating the fingerprints of surface currents into signs that point directly to trout. Stream reading skills do improve with experience, but no good stream reader depends entirely on surface currents; in fact you should only use surface currents if you have no other clues. As a bonefish guide on Christmas Island told me, “Don’t look at the water, look into it, look through it.” With a decent pair of polarized sunglasses and a little training — teaching your eyes what to look for — you’ll be able to see deeper into the water. You’ll also be able to spot trout on those rare occasions when they are visible. Don’t think it takes vision like The Man of Steel’s, either. It just takes experience learning what to look for. My eyesight has always been poor, and I wear strong contact lenses so that I can use polarized sunglasses and still take them off when it rains. A friend of mine, a commercial shell fisherman, can spot a flock of gulls wheeling over the water at least a half mile before I can, yet when we fish together I can spot trout and submerged rocks that he never sees. It’s simply a matter of picking up patterns.
There are times, however, when you’ll have to depend on reading surface currents: when the water is too dirty to see more than a foot into it; when glare that polarized sunglasses can’t block obscures the water, especially in the morning and evening; or in a riffle where bubbles and surface turbulence hide what’s underneath.
Midstream Rocks
Perhaps the most over-studied situation involves a submerged rock surrounded by either sand or gravel, so the rock stands out as an obvious trout haven in an otherwise unattractive spot. When water meets an immovable object, some of the water is stopped dead, and the kinetic energy it had is transformed into potential energy. Water gets potential energy by piling itself higher and gaining altitude, and you can see this at the head of a submerged rock. A bump in the water surface shows you where the rock begins; this bump is always slightly downstream of the rock because the current pushes it. It’s a comfortable place for a trout to live because the current is slowed considerably, yet food is constantly pushed to him. Sometimes the force of the current digs a hole, giving the trout a place to bolt to when an osprey’s shadow darkens the water.

Trout near midstream rocks, and where the bump above a big rock will appear.
When water rushes over a submerged object, an area of slower water forms just behind the object, and the difference in velocity causes turbulence. If the water is sufficiently shallow and fast, the turbulence carries to the surface and tells us where behind the rock the area of slower current is located. Trout like these places behind rocks, but not always and not everywhere. When you see standing waves or loads of foam behind a submerged rock, you may not find any trout directly behind it. The current’s force is too great, the swirly turbulence may make it difficult for a trout to hold his position, and the unpredictability makes it hard for him to see and to intercept his prey. The current behind a large rock or boulder may be so slow that it offers little food. Only when the rock is no larger than a television set and the current moderate enough to form gentle swirls behind it are you likely to find a trout with his nose up against the rock.
Many more trout, and bigger ones, feed at the edges of the current that swirls around a rock and near the tail of the plume that extends downstream. I call the downstream end of the V-shaped plume, where it narrows to a point, the ‘focal point,’ and the focal point is usually the best spot of all for trout. Lying here, trout can feed from currents coming around both sides of the rock without fighting the violent turbulence that often forms just behind the rock.
Seldom do you find a single rock lying in a riffle or run like a spot on a clean mirror. Usually the mirror is covered with spots of all shapes and sizes, and if most of the bottom is covered with boulders and cobbles, fishermen call it ‘pocket water.’ This stuff is a blind-fisherman’s delight: the trout here usually feed all day long. They are easy to approach, and they are not too picky about their fly selection. Stand off to the side and look for places where the focal point of one nice rock intersects the bump in front of another rock, or where a family of rocks form a minipool with its own bump, edges, and focal point. Because trout feed on drift that comes in front of the rock or slides off to the sides, I avoid dropping my fly in the swirly water right behind the rock, even though it’s tempting to slam your first cast right there. Try it a couple of times and you’ll see why it should be avoided — placing your fly there without dumping piles of slack into the leader will give you almost immediate drag, and a trout may be put off your fly on successive casts, even if they are drag-free. A trout that is lying around looking for food but not preoccupied with a hatch can be spooked much easier by a fly that drags than a trout that is filling his face with bugs. If you begin by placing your fly in front of the rock a few times and then try a drift along each side, it will be easier to get repeated drag-free floats. The water in these places runs uniformly downstream, so it’s less likely that a squirrelly current will make your fly go south when the leader is heading north.
If you just can’t resist plopping your fly in that gurgling mess right behind the rock, don’t use a dead-drifted nymph or dry. Try a streamer, or a skating caddis or spider — something that laughs in the face of convoluted currents.
The Head of the Pool — An Easy Spot for Prospecting
Often the water is too deep for you to pick out individual rocks, or the rocks are too small to be differentiated from the characteristic marks on the surface. Even though trout will key in on certain rocks no bigger than themselves, and fish will lie on top of or just behind certain rocks year after year, no one has come up with a formula for predicting what rocks offer exactly the right hydraulics. I hope they never do. When you can’t locate the rocks, you have to use other clues. The head of a pool or run is the first place I go, because the water there is faster than in the rest of the pool, so the fish will be easier to approach and fool. (I never told you we would always force ourselves to do this the hard way, did I?) Water coming into a pool, right in the tongue as it spills over whatever obstruction forms the head of the pool, may often be too fast to hold trout. Without a log or rock to block the current’s force, this part of a pool may be sterile. Usually, though, as the current entering a pool starts to flatten and slow (typically just below the standing waves, if there are any), there will be a shelf, with an area of calm water below its lip. Here trout can hold in comfort and have the pick of the current. If you can tell me how to get to them in early spring, when there are four feet of raging current above them, then you should be writing this book instead of me. Once in a while, if you twist enough lead in front of a streamer, toss it above the pool, and strip just as it drops over the lip, you might draw one out of the maelstrom. But in the early season the water generally is too cold for a trout to chase anything moving faster than a crawl, so you’re out of luck anyway. You can try those guys under the waterfall in midsummer, when the current barely whispers over their heads. There are easier places at the head of the pool.

In a fast bend trout may be found more often on the protected inside of the bend.
Look at the edges of the fast current on either side of the tongue, the place New Zealanders call the “eye” of the pool. If there is a bend in the river at the head of the pool, as there often is (do you know how hard it is to find a “classic” pool with mirror-image seams on either side?), there will be an inside and outside bend. Where most of the trout will be found depends on current speed. In fast current, where the water on the outside bend smashes against the bank, you’ll find more trout on the inside. The outside may even be completely sterile. I once coveted a spot on a favorite trout stream where the current plowed up against the far bank, carving a dark undercut. I never saw a trout rise there and never hooked one blind­fishing, so I assumed there was a monster brown in residence. One steamy August day when even bobbing away in an inner tube looked inviting, I put on a diving mask and poked around. I was disappointed. Not only were there no trout in a place I had paid much attention to over the years, the bottom was as smooth as a beach pebble and offered not one place for a trout to get out of the current.

In a slow bend trout will be where the food flow is concentrated — on the outside of the bend.
On the other hand, if the current is so slow that leaves and other debris collect on the inside of the bend, you’ll find more trout on the faster outside, where the meager current will bring them the most food. In streams with poor to average fertility you would expect to find trout where there is at least some current to bring them food, but in a rich river trout can be anywhere, including those neglected backwaters. Also, if the head of a pool is formed by a gentle riffle rather than a slick tongue of fast water, you’ll find trout distributed all across the riffle, not just at the seams on both sides of the tongue.
Turbulence is what makes the head of a pool easier to fish. At the tail of a pool, and usually in the middle, the water velocity is stratified: faster water is at the top, where your fly enters, and much slower water is near the bottom, where the trout lie. When you cast a dry fly upstream in the tail of a pool, the water closest to you is accelerating before it dumps over into the next pool or riffle, so drag sets in almost as soon as your fly lands, making it move unnaturally.

At the head of a pool water velocity is more uniform in a vertical cross section; it stratifies in the middle and tail.
When you cast a nymph upstream, it starts to sink, but the leader and line on top of the water are moving faster, so they begin to pull the fly upward, keeping it out of the productive water below and, again, dragging unnaturally. Your choices include dumping a lot of slack into the cast when fishing a dry or nymph upstream, using a technique that is independent of the current, such as a streamer, or using a technique that uses current to your advantage, like a swung wet fly or a skating caddis. If you’re unfamiliar with these techniques, don’t worry; I’ll describe them in later chapters.
At the head of a pool or riffle, though, turbulence mixes the currents so they’re much less stratified. The downstream progress of the water is impeded, making it easier to slip a nymph through the currents or to get a drag-free float with a dry fly. And you can still swing a streamer or wet fly through these currents, so your options are doubled.
Riffles and Soft Spots
Plain, boring old riffles are some of the easiest and most productive places to blind-fish, because the way the water moves conspires against the trout. Current speeds seem uniform both vertically and horizontally: the many cells of turbulence are so small that they produce, for practical purposes, a uniform body of water, lessening drag on a dry fly or a nymph. Contrast a riffle, with its many tiny goose bumps of turbulence showing on the surface, to a boiling slick, where the turbulence cells are larger, big enough to grab your leader and wrench your fly. In a boiling slick the turbulence may even be strong enough to push a trout out of position constantly. Since trout like predictability, if they have to fight for position or they can’t accurately take a piece of food, they’ll move in a hurry. Unless I’m streamer fishing or I have seen a decent trout rising in them (which is seldom), I avoid boiling slicks like a bank full of worm fishermen.

A plain, boring — and easy — riffle on the Bighorn. It’s a real soft spot.
Datus Proper, in his thought-provoking and iconoclastic book What the Trout Said, describes places he calls “soft spots.” These are places where almost anything you do will produce a strike — places that Proper takes rank beginners to bolster their confidence. Every stream I fish has some soft spots, which I have found through experience, and I use them for special guests, children, and impatient or discouraged fishing buddies. All of the soft spots I know are in gentle riffles, lacking either strong whorls of current or the rooster tails of standing waves.
A wide expanse of riffle, whether at the head of a pool or in a transition between pools, seems at first to have no features. Look harder. First you’ll notice seams at the edge of the riffle, and these are worth much of your time and effort. Out in the middle of the riffle, look for slicks — areas that look as though someone polished and flattened the bumps on the surface. Slicks are formed either when the water is too deep for the turbulence formed by contact with the bottom to reach the surface, or when the water is slowed by a plateau in the streambed or an object on the bottom. If there is enough water, all of these places will hold trout. Depth is a limiting factor for trout abundance only when the water is so shallow that trout feel insecure about holding in it. In a riffle the water may be too shallow to hold adult trout, because as a rule they need to have a foot of water over their backs and a nearby refuge. So look for the places where the water is too deep for you to see the stones on the bottom clearly; when looking at slicks, make sure they are big enough or deep enough that a trout can find a place to hide when you stumble up through the currents. A slick the size of a kitchen sink in the center of a shallow riffle might offer all the food and protection from fast currents a trout needs, but a trout won’t stay alive there for long unless the merganser population has flown south for the winter.

The result of fishing a nymph in that soft spot on the Bighorn.
If you can find a slick the size of a bathtub with secure cover nearby, you may find a trout that everyone else has missed. I remember one place in a shallow riffle I must have walked through fifty times without a cast. There was an old dead tree trailing in the riffle, and at the downstream end was a tiny pocket, barely deep enough to cover my ankles. I stared and thought I could see bare stream bottom, but I cast a Gray Fox Variant anyway. A brown shape formed seemingly out of the gravel, rose to meet the fly, moved without apparent haste to the tangle of branches, and broke my leader. I have been back to the same place another fifty times and have not seen that trout again.
The Middle of the Pool
The middle of a pool also often looks featureless, without the obvious seams between fast and slow water that guide you to trout at the head. If there is nothing else to guide me, I can find the best fish in the middle of a pool by tracing the main threads of current down through it. Look up to the head and follow the line of bubbles and debris carried by the current, and you’ll see the best feeding positions. Even if the places where the main current flows are shallower or offer less cover than water off to the side, you’ll find more trout, and especially more feeding trout, where the current brings a constant stream of food.

The featureless middle of a pool. Note the bubble line in the right foreground.
Look on the bottom for lines of color that show a dramatic change in depth. Trout may hide in the dark depths when you stumble through a pool, but deep water doesn’t offer much food. If the depth suddenly changes from eight feet to two feet, all the food being carried by the current is forced into a narrow vertical choke point, and a trout here can see all the food that the current carries. In the bottom of a hole he can see only a fraction of it. Look too for rubble on the bottom, as opposed to sand or gravel. The rougher the bottom, the greater the number of nooks and crannies that offer places to hide and pockets of slower water, energy-efficient places for a trout to live and feed. If the water isn’t too slow or too shallow, you’ll be able to spot these places if you can’t “see” into the water by reading the roughness of the surface.
Don’t Ignore Springs . . .
In the early and late season a spring or small tributary entering a pool will concentrate the fish. Springs reflect the average mean temperature of a given latitude, and because of the insulating effect of the ground they hold a constant temperature year-round, just as your basement does. So in early spring, when the river water is 45 degrees, the temperature of an entering spring could be closer to 50, a more comfortable temperature that will encourage more feeding. In August, when the temperature of the river is 72 degrees with a corresponding decrease of oxygen, the spring will be around 55 degrees, and it may often be a question of survival rather than mere comfort that keeps trout with their noses stuck into the cold water. The Firehole in Yellowstone Park is a river that suffers from high summer water temperatures because of the hundreds of geysers, mud pots, and boiling water pools that flow into it. One August day I found a cold spring flowing into the Firehole opposite the famous Ojo Caliente hot spring. There were more than twenty trout packed into a shallow, barren flat below the spring, and they were unusually spooky, but I found that a tiny Pheasant Tail nymph dropped into the crowd would get a nod if I rested the pool after the previous fish I’d taken. It was the first time I had fished the Firehole, and had I not wanted desperately to catch a trout there, I would have left them alone, as they were vulnerable and stressed by living in this crowded, exposed environment. Since that day I have avoided cool springs in extremely hot weather, preferring to fish near them only when a couple of trout have moved in for comfort, not when an entire pool has migrated there out of desperation. You’re the predator, though, and you can make that decision on your own.

Great bank water, with a cobbled bottom as well. You’ll find many trout here.
. . . or the Banks
Reading the water by looking at the banks is often ignored, but the banks in many streams (not just meadow streams with undercuts) are the most important fish-holding features. Unless a bank has a shallow slope without cover and is made from fine gravel or the water along it is so shallow that a trout’s back would poke out, you’ll find trout somewhere along this edge. Generally one bank is better than the other. When you’re fishing blind, fish are spookier than if they’re preoccupied with a hatch, and because you’ll have to favor one of the banks when wading up or down (unless the river is so big you have to fish the same bank you’re wading), it’s important to look over both banks before you enter the water.

With standing waves like these on the Madison you can bet most trout will be close to the banks.
If the river is so fast in the middle that it is difficult for you to wade, there is nothing to break the current, and there are no twists to make current seams, you can be certain that any decent trout around will be near one or both banks. Which one should you choose? Just as you evaluated the middle of the pool, look at the head of the pool or riffle to see where the current is directing most of the food. Usually the current will bounce the main volume of water toward one bank or the other. But wait, you say;trout don’t need to worry about aquatic insects when they live near the banksbecause they have plenty of terrestrial insects falling right on top of their heads. It’s true that in some rivers terrestrial insects make up the bulk of a trout’s diet, but contrary to what most fishermen say and believe terrestrial insects are no more important to trout near the banks than to trout in the middle of the river. I remember casting to a large brown trout rising to leafhoppers and beetles in an upstate New York river one windy day, and I counted thirteen fly changes until I got him to take. He was in the middle of the river, fifty feet from either bank. One early morning on the Madison I walked the bank upstream from the Raynolds Pass Bridge. I rose dozens of big­spotted browns on a hopper right next to the bank, but when I turned my attention to the middle, the rainbows on the seams of the fast water ate the hopper just as eagerly.
There is a simple reason for my not thinking terrestrials are more important to fish living near the banks: An object falling into a river is quickly drawn into the center. If a grasshopper or cricket or beetle or ant falls into the water and isn’t eaten right away by a trout living next to the bank, it will soon be available to those guys out in the center. In tiny brooks or shallow streams the deeper bank is usually better. You should make sure, however, that some current is getting to the deeper bank, because sometimes the deep bank is an almost stagnant backwater. Huge trout can use these deep places for refuge, but they don’t eat there, so trying to get one to take is like pitching to a batter while he’s sleeping. If one bank slopes gently up from the river and the other is made from ledge rock or is otherwise steeper, the steep bank is likely to be better. In huge, fast rivers where the current along the deeper bank might be moving at ten feet per second and the water might be twenty feet deep, I’d take a look at the shallower bank first. There might be a trout underneath that twenty feet of fast water, but you’re not going to have much luck getting a fly to where he’ll see it and feel inclined to move for it.
Once you’ve identified the better bank, make sure as you fish that you keep your eye on where the good water peters out, as often the good water switches from one bank to another. Because you’re not looking for rising fish but casting to likely stream features, you can sometimes tighten the blinders too much and wade right through some water you should be fishing rather than blundering through.

Big boulders along the bank give you excellent water for prospecting.
Any object that breaks up the outline of the bank will increase its attractiveness to trout. Where a deep riffle runs along a bank, look for a point of land that sticks out. Just like a rock in the middle of a river, the point will form two choice places for trout to lie — one just upstream of the point where the water is backed up to form a dead spot, and another area just downstream. If the point sticks out more than a foot from the bank, you might think that the most or best fish will be found close to the bank in the backwater right behind the point. My experience has shown that most trout, and certainly the bigger ones, prefer to lie just inside the seam behind the point. This place makes sense for trout because it offers protection from the full brunt of the current and easy access to food being carried by the current. If you toss a twig into the backwater behind an object, it will whirl around for many revolutions before it rejoins the current, and some fishermen argue that trout like to be in backwaters because they get multiple looks at pieces of food. I think they are more concerned with getting enough to eat than with admiring their next meal.
I also like to think this is true because getting a fly behind a point of land just inside a fast current and maintaining a natural drift is difficult without throwing piles of slack or adding a six-foot tippet. I’d rather throw my fly into the easier current just outside the point for a longer natural drift and hope the trout just inside can easily slide over and inhale my fly. If he is tucked way back, he may still see my fly and rush over for it. Only after I’ve attempted every permutation of drifts on the outside will I try the nasty water in the backwater.

Fred Barberi nets one taken off the end of a sweeper in a suburban Connecticut stream.
Rocky banks are good. A jumble of rocks offers many havens from the current, with plenty of areas of different current speeds and seams. Narrow lanes between rocks concentrate the current — and move the food — into alleys, simplifying feeding. Any kind of vegetation will also make the bank more attractive to trout, even if the vegetation overhangs the water and doesn’t break the current. Shrubs hanging over the water offer trout security from predators. Luckily for fishermen, if there is a tunnel of alders along the bank, trout will not feed way back inside the tunnel but will lie just to the outside of the brush, using the dark interior only if they are frightened. Logs along a bank, whether parallel or perpendicular to the current, offer protection and breaks from the current.
A tree that has fallen into the water at a right angle to the current, usually with the trunk still attached to the bank, is called a ‘sweeper.’ The best places near a sweeper are at the outside tip of the branches extending downstream along the seam, and in front of the crotch where the sweeper meets the bank. Both places offer breaks from the current and a steady food supply. Often a line of trout extends below the tips of the branches, with the biggest fish upstream and the size decreasing as you go downstream, because a trout will not tolerate a smaller or less aggressive fish in front of it. Downstream of the sweeper is often barren water. If it contains trout, they’ll be much smaller than you’d think, because the sweeper strains food from the current and pushes it to the outside leaving slim pickings to the trout behind.
A log lying parallel to the current will probably hold more trout than a sweeper of the same size, because the entire length of the log offers attractive feeding grounds. When I was a teenager, I fished a productive stream that runs through the limestone bedrock of upstate New York. This river had all the attractive haunts a trout stream could possibly offer, but as far as my sampling could determine, one log in particular held the biggest fish. About fifteen feet long and five feet from the bank, the log always held several small trout; two six-inch nubs were left from branches that had been broken off over the years. And anchored at these nubs were the two best trout in the pool, one twenty inches long and the other nineteen. All these trout fed on the outside edge of the log, and even though there was a good five feet of dark, deep, protected water between the log and the bank, I never saw a trout rise and never caught one there.

Brown trout will use cover more than any other species of trout.
The subject of banks brings up the question of cover — the degree trout use it, and the amount they need. Anyone who has studied a piece of trout water for any time has seen trout feeding out in the open, away from obvious cover. The energetics of getting enough food seem to be far more important than safety from predators. But even if you can’t see it, you can bet that trout feeding in the open have a place to run to nearby, and that they have memorized the route. Brown trout seem to place more importance than other species on cover, and if they can find a spot that offers food, protection from the current, and cover, they’ll stay close to cover. When you hook a brown trout, he will invariably head for the nearest log or rock. The other day I was fishing a stream that holds both browns and rainbows, and out in the middle of a pool I hooked a rainbow that tailwalked in place four or five times, ran upstream, and then grudgingly headed downstream to be released. I cast to another fish rising in almost the same spot, except this trout streaked downstream before I even knew he was hooked, and he used a submerged root six feet ahead of me to remove the fly from his jaw as cleanly as popping the top off a beer bottle. He swam past me with an arrogant flip of his tail, and left my fly stuck firmly in the root, all before I could begin to strip in my line. As the fish passed, I saw the dark spots of a brown trout along his back.

Rainbows will usually be found in more open water, whether it’s riffly like this or slow and smooth.
Brown trout have even been known to burrow in gravel when frightened, but the behavior of frightened rainbows betrays their lack of concern with overhead cover. Rainbows, when spooked, usually head en masse to the deepest part of a pool, and when you walk by you can observe what biologists call “fright huddles” — groups of rainbows all packed together, fins trembling. You never see browns mixed in with them because all the browns have headed to the bank with its more substantial cover. Brook trout seem to use cover less than browns but more than rainbows, so you will more often find them farther from cover and from the bank than browns. Where cutthroats and brook trout are found together, biologists have seen more use of cover by the brook trout. So if you know a river contains only brown trout, spend more time casting tight to the banks than out in the middle. If it holds only rainbows, bless their hearts, you can concentrate on the easier places in the middle of the river. But don’t ever completely ignore the banks. The middle of the Railroad Ranch section of Henry’s Fork in Idaho is essentially featureless, as most of the water is one long flat without big rocks. The better rainbows are near the banks, possibly because of cover, but more likely because the current along the banks is reduced enough to form areas of slower water with access to the food carried by the current.
The Most Difficult Part of a Pool
Everything I’ve said about rocks and banks and logs applies to the tail of a pool as well, and in most of the rivers I’ve fished, the tails hold the largest trout. All the food passing through a pool is channeled at the tail into a vertically and horizontally constricted funnel, and the smooth water here allows a nearly unobstructed view of the outside world, which warns of the approach of all kinds of predators. During a hatch the tail of a pool is the first place I’ll go to catch a trout that will pull line off my reel. It is also the last place I’ll go to prospect. When a trout in the tail of a pool is preoccupied with feeding and you know exactly where he is, approaching him is still difficult; when he is not actively feeding, it is masochistic. Because the tail of a pool is shallower than the middle, look for the deepest place in the tail to hold the most trout, barring any rocks or logs in the water. The place where the tail begins to shallow, where dark water gives way to lighter-colored water, will often be where trout are lined up to feed. If the water close to the banks is deeper than in the middle, and especially when vegetation meets the water, you’ll often find more and bigger trout next to the banks than out in the middle.

The nastiest part of a pool — the tail.
When you stand at the tail of a pool and fish upstream, following the usual line of attack, the water at your feet is faster than the water you cast into. The water in the tail is always accelerating, particularly in the early season when the current is faster. As soon as your fly lands, drag sets in, and even throwing big piles of slack will not always counteract this problem. You can get a better presentation by casting from upstream or from across-stream and throwing upstream curves, and this works best early in the season when you can get closer to the trout without spooking them. In midsummer I find that from above you spook the fish in the tails of most pools, especially in smaller streams or when the water is unusually low.
Because most aquatic insects live in riffles, and everything that hatches in a pool that doesn’t fly away will be funneled into the tail (as will any terrestrial insect that falls into the water), trout in the tail of a pool seem more aware of surface food than trout in any other place. If you stand and watch long enough, you will often see them sipping here throughout the day, especially in the low water of late season. This is not really a hatch situation; it is opportunistic surface feeding at every little morsel that drifts by. Sometimes you can watch for twenty minutes before you see a rise, so if you’re moving at a normal pace you won’t spot the fish, and you’ll fish the tail blind. During the summer, when the current has slowed enough, you can often make a short, accurate upstream presentation from a trout’s blind spot. But since your drift will still be short before it drags, decide first where you think the trout will be lying — don’t just blast away at random. It’s a good idea to study the surface currents for several minutes as well. If you can get close enough to where you think a trout might be, and you can figure an angle from which you can get a drag-free float, a terrestrial pattern or small spinner imitation in the middle of the day may rise a trout of a size you would normally see only during the evening hatch.
Even in the same stream at the same time of year, you cannot approach the tail of a pool with the casual tactics that might work in a riffle. If you want to catch trout in the tails of pools, study the last chapter on approach carefully. In the technique chapters that follow, note these techniques that have worked best for me in the tails of pools: actively stripped streamers, swung wets, and skated dry flies.
How the Setting Can Change
Four minutes from where I sit in an office eight hours a day is a tiny stream that is my laboratory, escape valve, and forty-five-minute retreat. I can fish three or four pools on my lunch hour. In one favorite half-mile stretch I know virtually every fish except the unseen brown trout that I suspect inhabit a couple of deep undercut banks at the base of streamside maples. I have never caught one of these elusive browns, but I imagine them sulking in a tangle of drowned roots, oblivious to my flies but capable of eating a six-inch brook trout followed by a three-day fast. At the beginning of each season I mark a couple of gullible brook trout by clipping their adipose fins so I can follow their progress through the season. If I can figure out where they are living, I can almost always catch them. In early spring they are in the deeper, slower pools, and to catch them you need a large nymph fished close to the bottom, with no drag at all. As water temperatures rise above 55 degrees and flies start to hatch, they will be pulled from the pools into shallow riffles. Now a dry fly will work, as will a wet fly or nymph that swings across the current. As water levels fall during the summer, they can be hard to find, and whenever I fail to catch one that has been in the same spot for a couple of months, I start to imagine my brookie in an aluminum­foil coffin in somebody’s freezer, or in the belly of a heron or otter. With the lower water levels it’s also likely that there are fewer places in this little stream that can hold trout, and my friends were pushed downstream by more aggressive trout. In summer most of the trout are concentrated in only the deepest holes and in the heads of pools — it may be a hundred feet between places that hold trout.
During the winter and early in the season trout are more concerned with avoiding anchor ice and floods than they are with eating. There are few insects in the drift for them to capture, and their metabolisms are slowed to the point where they take little advantage of the food that might be available. Shallow water can be scoured by floating ice and anchor ice, which grows from the bottom of the river, so look for trout in deep-water refuges, out of the main current. When there is no ice, though, I have caught them on sunny days in shallow riffles, and because I doubt trout spend the winter in water like this, I suspect they move into places that are warmed by the sun as spring starts to wake up the river. As the water temperature approaches 50 degrees, and insects begin to drift and hatch, the fish migrate to shallow riffles and the heads of pools to take advantage of insect life at its source. You can gauge the migration time by the first major hatch of the season. In the East, if you blind-fish before the Hendrickson hatch, you’ll find most trout in the side eddies and backwaters, but as soon as this first big hatch begins, the trout appear in riffles, in tails of pools, and out in the main current. They’re still there on days when the flies don’t hatch, and early in the morning on days when flies don’t hatch until midafternoon.
There they will stay until low water and high temperatures shrink the comfortable places in a stream and concentrate the trout. As habitats contract, trout don’t move far, sometimes just from one side of the pool to another, or from the middle to the head. In the tail of a big pool on the lower Battenkill, I found a pod of a half-dozen large brown trout one late spring evening, and I returned a couple of evenings a week to work them over. By the middle of the summer I had caught and released most of them, including a couple that I fin-clipped. A vacation kept me away from them for ten days, and when I returned the places where they had been feeding were almost dry. I couldn’t find a single one. One night I happened to look at the other side of the river, which was deeper but had never produced a fish, I guess because this deeper pocket was out of the main current and did not supply enough food. There were several good fish rising there, and sure enough, over the next several weeks I caught some that I had clipped. As I looked carefully at the water, I saw that their new home was deep enough to keep them secure. The current had shifted because of a newly exposed gravel bar, and by the looks of the bubble line coming down through the pool, most of the food was now funneled to the opposite side of the river.

Look for oxygenated water like this in the late season. Margot Page photo.
In the tough late season there are three keys to finding trout: temperature, oxygen, and flow. If you remember them, you will catch trout all day long, even in the noonday heat of August when there is slim chance of any kind of hatch.
Temperature: Look for springs entering the river. Even springs whose surface flow runs dry during the summer usually offer some flow below the dry channel, so a scar of clean rocks along the bank that looks as though it might have been a tributary in early spring may tip you off to some cooler water. In general any entering tributary will be cooler than the main river, so look for trout below the confluence of a smaller and a larger stream. Wade wet to find springs entering the river beneath the streambed.
Oxygen: Water’s oxygen content is inversely related to its tem­perature, so if you can’t find the cooler water, which holds more oxygen, look for places where oxygen is forced into the water by physical means. Riffles, runs, pocket water, the bases of dams — trout will move to these places in midsummer, often leaving the rest of a pool barren.
Flow: This important factor of midsummer trout fishing is often overlooked. Trout won’t live where they can’t eat, and during low water their options are limited, making stream reading easier. Especially in slower pools, don’t look for trout anywhere but right under the bubble line, because flow is reduced to a point where only the
main current offers enough food. If you can’t locate the bubble line or it doesn’t seem to help, another way of finding trout is to look at the stones on the bottom. Once when I was fishing a stream known for its wild rainbows, I was in a wide riffle that holds scores of trout during the spring, and I knew some of them had to be around, even though the water looked too shallow. At first the entire riffle looked daunting and I couldn’t decide where to start. Then as I stared at the water, I noticed something. Most of the rocks on the bottom were covered with a thin film of dusty-looking silt, but in places that were slightly deeper and had a stronger current, the rocks had been wiped clean. That gave me some targets, and by pitching a Flashabou Caddis Larva into the narrow lanes of clean stones, I picked up a half-dozen ten-inch fish, more than I would have expected in such a flat, shallow riffle.

start the super-meta
 
Tom Rosenbauer has been a fly fisher for over 35 years and was a commercial fly tier by age 14. For 30 years he has been with the Orvis Company, where he is now marketing director for Orvis Rod and Tackle. He also has written ten fly fishing books. Excerpted from The Orvis Guide to Prospecting for Trout (The Lyons Press, December 2000, 288 pages).
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Reading the Water

Reading the Water(川を読む)
http://midcurrent.com/techniques/reading-the-water/

by Tom Rosenbauer
photos by Tom Rosenbauer
Stream reading is a vital skill for prospecting, but you should approach a day of fishing with the philosophy that not all places in a stream hold trout, and others that may hold trout cannot be blind-fished easily.

川を読むことは、見通しの不可欠な技術だ。川のどこにでも鱒が居着いているわけでなく、また簡単に釣れない鱒がいるという考え方で、一日釣りをすべきである。

SOME WATER that is easily fished during a hatch is tough to blind-fish with consistent success. Stream reading is a vital skill for prospecting, but you should approach a day of fishing with the philosophy that not all places in a stream hold trout, and others that may hold trout cannot be blind-fished easily.
When you cast to rising fish, you know exactly where each fish is, you have a good idea what they’re eating, and you stalk one fish at a time. You know the fish are willing to feed, and if your casting is accurate you know they can see your fly. On the other hand, when blind-fishing, you must constantly keep two questions in mind: Can he see my fly, and can he see me? If he sees you before he sees your fly, the fish will be spooked, and even if he doesn’t bolt for cover he won’t be interested in eating. You must have confidence in your ability to locate unseen fish, and you must be able to make a decent presentation to the narrow range where a suspected fish can see your fly.

In general slow water is the hardest water to fish blind, for a number of reasons. Slow water is more difficult to read, because in big pools you don’t have the benefit of differing currents to narrow the possibilities of where you may find a trout. In a riffle or run much of the water is too fast for a trout holding in place, and some of the water is also too shallow. Trout will be found in narrow, easily recognizable bands where fast water meets slow, deep water meets shallow, or rocks or shelves offer relief from the current. It is difficult to cover slow water without spooking the fish, because fish in slower currents get a much better look at the outside world and the food they’re eating. In a riffle you can drop your line right on top of a trout without spooking him, so a thirty-foot drift will effectively cover thirty feet of water. In slow water, though, a thirty-foot drift will cover a maximum of fifteen feet, the length of the longest leader most of us can handle, and the trout lying under the fifteen feet of fly line will probably be spooked. Frankly most of us lack the patience to blind-fish slow water. The fly drifts so slowly that we lose interest and confidence in what we are doing.

 虫の羽化シーズンの間、簡単に釣れる川はいつもblind-fishには辛く当たる。小川の流れを読むことは鉱床探査で必須の技術であるが、川のどこにでも鱒が居着いているわけでなく、また簡単に釣れない鱒がいるという考え方で、一日釣りをすべきである。ライズする魚にキャストしたとき、魚がどこに居るかを正確に知り、魚が何を食っているかを知る良い考えであり、そのときは忍び足で近寄るのだ。魚が捕食したがっているか、もしキャスチングが正確なら、魚はそれをみつけることが分かる。他方、blind-fishingではいつも2つのことを心に留めろ。ヤツはオレのフライをみつけれるか?ヤツはオレを見れるか?もし、魚がフライを見つける前に、あなたを見たのなら、魚は臆病に成り、物陰に急に逃げ出さないときでも、捕食に興味を失う。見えない魚を見つける為の能力に自信を持たねばならない。疑りやすい魚がフライを見れる狭い範囲に、適切なプレゼンテーションができなければならない。

 一般的に、流れがゆったりした川(slow water)で、知識も無く(盲目的に)魚を釣るのは難しい。それにはたくさんの理由がある。slow waterは読むのが難しい。なぜなら、大きなpoolでは魚がいる場所を見つける可能性狭めるために、水流の流れを分別する利点がないので。激流や急流では、鱒がその場所に居着くには流れが速すぎ、ある流れはあまりにも浅い。鱒は、速い流れと遅い流れがぶつかる処、深い流れが浅い流れに出会う処、岩や棚が水流を弱める処である、狭い幅の箇所で簡単に見つかる。魚が臆病にさせずに、ゆっくり流れる流れをカバーすることは難しい。と言うのは、ゆっくりした流れの魚は外の世界と餌を非常によく見ているのだ。ゆっくりした流れでは30フィートのドリフトで、最大15フィートの長さ(扱える最大長のリーダ)をカバーできるが、15フィートの水深にいる魚はたぶん用心深いくなっている。率直にいえば、大半の人は、そのような流れを無知識で釣る(blind-fish)ための忍耐が不足しているのだ。我々がやろうとしている興味や自信を失うくらい、フライはゆっくり漂うのだ。
Fishing blind is fishing to as many possible or probable lies as possible, while covering as much water as possible, without actually being sure there is a fish in any one of those potential lies.

A giant slow pool, like this one on the Delaware, is difficult to read and to prospect for trout in.
You’ve seen fish rising in your favorite pool on another day when there was a good Sulphur hatch, so you know exactly where they are lying, right? Sorry. Those fish may be lying below the same spot you saw them rising, but in slow water, especially during a heavy hatch or spinner fall, trout often move from their normal lies into places where they can capture floating food with greater ease.

Delawareの川のように、大きくゆっくりしたpoolは鱒がいる場所を読んだり見通すことは難しい。
これらの魚はあなたがライズを見た同じ箇所を水面下に居る可能性がありが、流れの遅い水域では、特にたくさんの羽化やスピナーフォールのとき、鱒はしばしば、もっと簡単に浮遊した餌を捕らえる場所へ、いつもの住処(lies)から移動する。

There are ways of finding trout in slow water, which we’ll explore a little later in this chapter, and there are methods of fishing that work in slow water, which I’ll talk about in later chapters. Vermont’s Battenkill has miles of slow, deep water that I have tried to blind-fish with a nymph or dry during every month of the season, but I find myself spooking an entire pool before I can get a fish to look at my fly. Where a riffle punctuates the slow water, I’ll do fine, but between the infrequent fast water I find myself relying on streamers, which can be fished independent of the current and for which trout will move from ten or even twenty feet away. On the other hand, when conditions are right in faster water, I can take trout on dries, wets, nymphs, or streamers.

So prospecting for trout relies heavily on riffles, runs, and pocket water, which is fine because in a heavily fished stream this is the water most fishermen ignore. When there are no hatches, I always start fishing at the head of a pool or run, in pocket water, or in a riffle, and then I graduate to the slower water if I can figure out what is going on. Fish in rough water are less easily disturbed, and they’re also less wise to the dangers of artificial bugs. Trout fishing is supposed to be challenging, but I am quite content with the dumbest, least neurotic trout available if there is no hatch to even the odds.

 後の章で展開するが、緩慢な流れの鱒を見つける方法がある。そのような流れで効果のある釣り方がある。これを後で述べる。Vermont’s Battenkill 川には数マイルのゆっくりして、深い流れがある。そこで全シーズンでニンフとドライで試したことがある。自分のフライが魚から見えるように、魚に近づく前に、自分でpool全体を脅えさせてしまっていることに気が付いた。急流がゆっくりした流れを中断するような処ではうまくいくが、たまの急流間では、水流に依存せずに釣れ、鱒は10~20フィート離れているので、ストリーマに頼った。他方、状態が急流で正しいときはドライ、ウェット、ニンフ、ストリーマで釣ることのできる。

 荒瀬、緩流、岩陰に強く頼った鱒の存在を見通すことは、素晴らしい。と言うのは、良く釣れる川では、これは大半の釣り人が無視する流れだ。羽化が見られないのなら、岩陰や急流ではpoolか、runの頭部から始めて、どうなっているかが分かったら、緩流の方へ少しずつ進む。荒い水域の魚は簡単にほとんど動揺させられない。また、偽物の虫の危険に対して無頓着だ。鱒釣りは冒険的であると思われているが、どう見てもハッチがないなら、間抜けで神経質な鱒でも、十分満足できる。

Prospecting is much easier in this kind of riffled water.(このような荒瀬では見通しが良い)

Why Trout Need Special Places
When Thomas Jenkins built his artificial channel in Convict Creek, he found that different trout introduced into the channel separately used virtually the same feeding positions, even if a whole new group of trout replaced a previous group. The positions used didn’t offer more food than the unused sites, but Jenkins thought the sites used offered better energetics — in other words, the fish could obtain their food without wasting more energy than they were gaining. Energetics is the basis of learning to read a stream. Trout need enough food passing by their position to have an almost constant supply, yet they need to lie in areas where the current velocity is nearly zero.

鱒はなぜ、特別な場所を必要とするか
 Tomas JenkinsはConvict Creekに人工の河道を作ったとき、彼は実質同じ給餌場を使う別れた河道に、別の鱒がやって来ることを見つけた。新しい鱒のグループが、前のグループと交代したときでも。使われた場所は未使用の場所よりもたくさん餌を提供していなかった。しかし、Jenkinsは使われた跡地はより活力(精力)を提供すると思った。言い換えると、その魚はエネルギーを増すというより、消費しないで餌を得ることができるのだ。エネルギー論は川をよむための基礎だ。鱒は一定の供給を得るために、近くを流れる餌が十分必要とする。それでも、水流の速度がほぼゼロである場所に留まる必要がある。

Bob Bachman has determined that brown trout prefer to lie in water with a speed from one-quarter to one-half foot per second and feed in water running about two feet per second. Rainbows generally feed in faster water, up to about six feet per second, while brook trout and cutthroats like about the same current speeds as browns. In a stream that offers all four species you’ll often find the rainbows at the head of a pool and the other species in the middle and the tail of the pool, or in places where a large object slows the current. The current at the surface of a tumbling mountain stream might be ten feet per second, the fastest water in an average riffle ­and pool low and stream six feet per second, and the middle of a slow pool at low water approaching that magic half a foot per second. This is why you’ll see trout hanging just below the surface in the middle or tail of a pool during a good hatch or spinner fall at low water — the current is slow enough that the fish can comfortably lie and feed in the same place.

 Bob Bachmanはブラウントラウトは秒速1/4~1/2フィートで水中に留まり、秒速約2フィートの流れで水中で捕食することを好むことを特定した。ブルックやカットスロートはブラウンと同じ流速を好むが、虹鱒は一般にだいたい秒速6フィートの速い流れ補食する。これら4種類の魚が棲む川ではpoolの中心に虹鱒が、その他がpoolの中間と尻尾に、または大きな障害物が水流の速度を緩和する場所にいる。急な山斜面における渓流の水面の流れは秒速10フィートくらいで、平均的な急な流れとpoolの最も速い流れの水深は低く、毎秒6フィートで流れ、下流に向かう緩流の中間部は0.5フィールにたちどころに変化している。これが水位が低い場所で、羽化やスピナーフォールのある期間に、poolの真中かテールの水面下で、パク付く魚を目撃できる理由だ。その流れは、同じ場所で魚が快適に居着き、捕食できるに十分なくらいゆっくりしている。

The usual scenario, though, is for trout to lie in slower current and dart into faster current to grab a piece of food. A fish might lie behind a rock and move to the side, where food is washed around the rock. Another fish might lie on a rubble-strewn streambed and slide up into the faster water just above the bottom. The places to look for trout are areas where fast water meets slow, adjacent to the main current. How do trout find these places? One theory is that they “hear” a particular chord of sounds with their lateral line. Apparently every place in a stream has a unique sound fingerprint.
You can find the main current by watching the line of bubbles and debris that snakes its way through a pool or run. Look up to the head of a pool and find the fast water spilling into it, then trace its path through the pool to find the places where trout anchor themselves. Understanding stream richness will help you determine how close to the main current trout will be found — in an infertile stream they will be locked onto its edges like cars waiting on a highway entrance ramp. As richness increases they will be found farther and farther away, in the side streets and alleys.

 普通のシナリオは緩流にいて、餌を取るために急流に突進する鱒に対してある。魚は岩の後ろにいて、岩の周辺に餌が押し流れてくる脇に移動する。また、ある魚は流れの砂利の上と、川底のちょうど上のより速い流れに移動するかも知れない。鱒を探す場所は速い流れが主流にゆっくり出会い合流する場所だ。鱒はどうやってその場所を見つけるのか?

Fishermen call these current-speed transition zones seams, and if you know nothing else about reading the water, you can find trout by looking for them. If you board a drift boat with a guide, the first thing he’ll tell you is to hit the seams. Loosely defined, almost any place a trout feeds is a seam, because trout almost always lie in slow water and feed in faster adjacent currents. But seams formed by two currents of different direction and velocity are especially useful because they can help you find trout where there are no bottom obstructions to break the current, or where you can’t see the obstruction on the bottom. When two currents meet, there is always a pocket of relative calm within the turbulence, and often it is enough to form a place where trout can lie and feed in comfort, even when there are no rocks, logs, or shelves. Seams like this form between the slow water next to a bank and the main current, below an island where currents re-form, or along the edges of a fast chute.

Less obvious than horizontal differences in current are the vertical ones. Anytime water encounters an object, friction slows the current and causes turbulence. Water that flows through a smooth pipe is nearly laminar, meaning most of the water molecules are running in the same direction. A trout stream never approaches anything near laminar flow, as the roughness of the streambed, the banks, and objects such as gravel bars and logs slow down the water, deflect the flow from a straight downstream course, and cause turbulence. That is why water in a straight piece of stream is fastest in the center of the river, near the surface. The closer to the banks and the bottom, the greater the friction, the greater the turbulence, and the slower the downstream progress of the water. Not surprisingly, then, in a stream of reasonable velocity without midstream obstructions you find most trout near the banks or on the bottom.

The focal point behind this rock is a particularly distinct one.
Reading Surface Currents
Reading the water is often spoken about as if it’s some kind of voodoo that only grizzled old men who smoke pipes and have many patches on their waders understand. They are supposed to be able to make magic predictions by translating the fingerprints of surface currents into signs that point directly to trout. Stream reading skills do improve with experience, but no good stream reader depends entirely on surface currents; in fact you should only use surface currents if you have no other clues. As a bonefish guide on Christmas Island told me, “Don’t look at the water, look into it, look through it.” With a decent pair of polarized sunglasses and a little training — teaching your eyes what to look for — you’ll be able to see deeper into the water. You’ll also be able to spot trout on those rare occasions when they are visible. Don’t think it takes vision like The Man of Steel’s, either. It just takes experience learning what to look for. My eyesight has always been poor, and I wear strong contact lenses so that I can use polarized sunglasses and still take them off when it rains. A friend of mine, a commercial shell fisherman, can spot a flock of gulls wheeling over the water at least a half mile before I can, yet when we fish together I can spot trout and submerged rocks that he never sees. It’s simply a matter of picking up patterns.
There are times, however, when you’ll have to depend on reading surface currents: when the water is too dirty to see more than a foot into it; when glare that polarized sunglasses can’t block obscures the water, especially in the morning and evening; or in a riffle where bubbles and surface turbulence hide what’s underneath.
Midstream Rocks
Perhaps the most over-studied situation involves a submerged rock surrounded by either sand or gravel, so the rock stands out as an obvious trout haven in an otherwise unattractive spot. When water meets an immovable object, some of the water is stopped dead, and the kinetic energy it had is transformed into potential energy. Water gets potential energy by piling itself higher and gaining altitude, and you can see this at the head of a submerged rock. A bump in the water surface shows you where the rock begins; this bump is always slightly downstream of the rock because the current pushes it. It’s a comfortable place for a trout to live because the current is slowed considerably, yet food is constantly pushed to him. Sometimes the force of the current digs a hole, giving the trout a place to bolt to when an osprey’s shadow darkens the water.

Trout near midstream rocks, and where the bump above a big rock will appear.
When water rushes over a submerged object, an area of slower water forms just behind the object, and the difference in velocity causes turbulence. If the water is sufficiently shallow and fast, the turbulence carries to the surface and tells us where behind the rock the area of slower current is located. Trout like these places behind rocks, but not always and not everywhere. When you see standing waves or loads of foam behind a submerged rock, you may not find any trout directly behind it. The current’s force is too great, the swirly turbulence may make it difficult for a trout to hold his position, and the unpredictability makes it hard for him to see and to intercept his prey. The current behind a large rock or boulder may be so slow that it offers little food. Only when the rock is no larger than a television set and the current moderate enough to form gentle swirls behind it are you likely to find a trout with his nose up against the rock.
Many more trout, and bigger ones, feed at the edges of the current that swirls around a rock and near the tail of the plume that extends downstream. I call the downstream end of the V-shaped plume, where it narrows to a point, the ‘focal point,’ and the focal point is usually the best spot of all for trout. Lying here, trout can feed from currents coming around both sides of the rock without fighting the violent turbulence that often forms just behind the rock.
Seldom do you find a single rock lying in a riffle or run like a spot on a clean mirror. Usually the mirror is covered with spots of all shapes and sizes, and if most of the bottom is covered with boulders and cobbles, fishermen call it ‘pocket water.’ This stuff is a blind-fisherman’s delight: the trout here usually feed all day long. They are easy to approach, and they are not too picky about their fly selection. Stand off to the side and look for places where the focal point of one nice rock intersects the bump in front of another rock, or where a family of rocks form a minipool with its own bump, edges, and focal point. Because trout feed on drift that comes in front of the rock or slides off to the sides, I avoid dropping my fly in the swirly water right behind the rock, even though it’s tempting to slam your first cast right there. Try it a couple of times and you’ll see why it should be avoided — placing your fly there without dumping piles of slack into the leader will give you almost immediate drag, and a trout may be put off your fly on successive casts, even if they are drag-free. A trout that is lying around looking for food but not preoccupied with a hatch can be spooked much easier by a fly that drags than a trout that is filling his face with bugs. If you begin by placing your fly in front of the rock a few times and then try a drift along each side, it will be easier to get repeated drag-free floats. The water in these places runs uniformly downstream, so it’s less likely that a squirrelly current will make your fly go south when the leader is heading north.
If you just can’t resist plopping your fly in that gurgling mess right behind the rock, don’t use a dead-drifted nymph or dry. Try a streamer, or a skating caddis or spider — something that laughs in the face of convoluted currents.
The Head of the Pool — An Easy Spot for Prospecting
Often the water is too deep for you to pick out individual rocks, or the rocks are too small to be differentiated from the characteristic marks on the surface. Even though trout will key in on certain rocks no bigger than themselves, and fish will lie on top of or just behind certain rocks year after year, no one has come up with a formula for predicting what rocks offer exactly the right hydraulics. I hope they never do. When you can’t locate the rocks, you have to use other clues. The head of a pool or run is the first place I go, because the water there is faster than in the rest of the pool, so the fish will be easier to approach and fool. (I never told you we would always force ourselves to do this the hard way, did I?) Water coming into a pool, right in the tongue as it spills over whatever obstruction forms the head of the pool, may often be too fast to hold trout. Without a log or rock to block the current’s force, this part of a pool may be sterile. Usually, though, as the current entering a pool starts to flatten and slow (typically just below the standing waves, if there are any), there will be a shelf, with an area of calm water below its lip. Here trout can hold in comfort and have the pick of the current. If you can tell me how to get to them in early spring, when there are four feet of raging current above them, then you should be writing this book instead of me. Once in a while, if you twist enough lead in front of a streamer, toss it above the pool, and strip just as it drops over the lip, you might draw one out of the maelstrom. But in the early season the water generally is too cold for a trout to chase anything moving faster than a crawl, so you’re out of luck anyway. You can try those guys under the waterfall in midsummer, when the current barely whispers over their heads. There are easier places at the head of the pool.

In a fast bend trout may be found more often on the protected inside of the bend.
Look at the edges of the fast current on either side of the tongue, the place New Zealanders call the “eye” of the pool. If there is a bend in the river at the head of the pool, as there often is (do you know how hard it is to find a “classic” pool with mirror-image seams on either side?), there will be an inside and outside bend. Where most of the trout will be found depends on current speed. In fast current, where the water on the outside bend smashes against the bank, you’ll find more trout on the inside. The outside may even be completely sterile. I once coveted a spot on a favorite trout stream where the current plowed up against the far bank, carving a dark undercut. I never saw a trout rise there and never hooked one blind­fishing, so I assumed there was a monster brown in residence. One steamy August day when even bobbing away in an inner tube looked inviting, I put on a diving mask and poked around. I was disappointed. Not only were there no trout in a place I had paid much attention to over the years, the bottom was as smooth as a beach pebble and offered not one place for a trout to get out of the current.

In a slow bend trout will be where the food flow is concentrated — on the outside of the bend.
On the other hand, if the current is so slow that leaves and other debris collect on the inside of the bend, you’ll find more trout on the faster outside, where the meager current will bring them the most food. In streams with poor to average fertility you would expect to find trout where there is at least some current to bring them food, but in a rich river trout can be anywhere, including those neglected backwaters. Also, if the head of a pool is formed by a gentle riffle rather than a slick tongue of fast water, you’ll find trout distributed all across the riffle, not just at the seams on both sides of the tongue.
Turbulence is what makes the head of a pool easier to fish. At the tail of a pool, and usually in the middle, the water velocity is stratified: faster water is at the top, where your fly enters, and much slower water is near the bottom, where the trout lie. When you cast a dry fly upstream in the tail of a pool, the water closest to you is accelerating before it dumps over into the next pool or riffle, so drag sets in almost as soon as your fly lands, making it move unnaturally.

At the head of a pool water velocity is more uniform in a vertical cross section; it stratifies in the middle and tail.
When you cast a nymph upstream, it starts to sink, but the leader and line on top of the water are moving faster, so they begin to pull the fly upward, keeping it out of the productive water below and, again, dragging unnaturally. Your choices include dumping a lot of slack into the cast when fishing a dry or nymph upstream, using a technique that is independent of the current, such as a streamer, or using a technique that uses current to your advantage, like a swung wet fly or a skating caddis. If you’re unfamiliar with these techniques, don’t worry; I’ll describe them in later chapters.
At the head of a pool or riffle, though, turbulence mixes the currents so they’re much less stratified. The downstream progress of the water is impeded, making it easier to slip a nymph through the currents or to get a drag-free float with a dry fly. And you can still swing a streamer or wet fly through these currents, so your options are doubled.
Riffles and Soft Spots
Plain, boring old riffles are some of the easiest and most productive places to blind-fish, because the way the water moves conspires against the trout. Current speeds seem uniform both vertically and horizontally: the many cells of turbulence are so small that they produce, for practical purposes, a uniform body of water, lessening drag on a dry fly or a nymph. Contrast a riffle, with its many tiny goose bumps of turbulence showing on the surface, to a boiling slick, where the turbulence cells are larger, big enough to grab your leader and wrench your fly. In a boiling slick the turbulence may even be strong enough to push a trout out of position constantly. Since trout like predictability, if they have to fight for position or they can’t accurately take a piece of food, they’ll move in a hurry. Unless I’m streamer fishing or I have seen a decent trout rising in them (which is seldom), I avoid boiling slicks like a bank full of worm fishermen.

A plain, boring — and easy — riffle on the Bighorn. It’s a real soft spot.
Datus Proper, in his thought-provoking and iconoclastic book What the Trout Said, describes places he calls “soft spots.” These are places where almost anything you do will produce a strike — places that Proper takes rank beginners to bolster their confidence. Every stream I fish has some soft spots, which I have found through experience, and I use them for special guests, children, and impatient or discouraged fishing buddies. All of the soft spots I know are in gentle riffles, lacking either strong whorls of current or the rooster tails of standing waves.
A wide expanse of riffle, whether at the head of a pool or in a transition between pools, seems at first to have no features. Look harder. First you’ll notice seams at the edge of the riffle, and these are worth much of your time and effort. Out in the middle of the riffle, look for slicks — areas that look as though someone polished and flattened the bumps on the surface. Slicks are formed either when the water is too deep for the turbulence formed by contact with the bottom to reach the surface, or when the water is slowed by a plateau in the streambed or an object on the bottom. If there is enough water, all of these places will hold trout. Depth is a limiting factor for trout abundance only when the water is so shallow that trout feel insecure about holding in it. In a riffle the water may be too shallow to hold adult trout, because as a rule they need to have a foot of water over their backs and a nearby refuge. So look for the places where the water is too deep for you to see the stones on the bottom clearly; when looking at slicks, make sure they are big enough or deep enough that a trout can find a place to hide when you stumble up through the currents. A slick the size of a kitchen sink in the center of a shallow riffle might offer all the food and protection from fast currents a trout needs, but a trout won’t stay alive there for long unless the merganser population has flown south for the winter.

The result of fishing a nymph in that soft spot on the Bighorn.
If you can find a slick the size of a bathtub with secure cover nearby, you may find a trout that everyone else has missed. I remember one place in a shallow riffle I must have walked through fifty times without a cast. There was an old dead tree trailing in the riffle, and at the downstream end was a tiny pocket, barely deep enough to cover my ankles. I stared and thought I could see bare stream bottom, but I cast a Gray Fox Variant anyway. A brown shape formed seemingly out of the gravel, rose to meet the fly, moved without apparent haste to the tangle of branches, and broke my leader. I have been back to the same place another fifty times and have not seen that trout again.
The Middle of the Pool
The middle of a pool also often looks featureless, without the obvious seams between fast and slow water that guide you to trout at the head. If there is nothing else to guide me, I can find the best fish in the middle of a pool by tracing the main threads of current down through it. Look up to the head and follow the line of bubbles and debris carried by the current, and you’ll see the best feeding positions. Even if the places where the main current flows are shallower or offer less cover than water off to the side, you’ll find more trout, and especially more feeding trout, where the current brings a constant stream of food.

The featureless middle of a pool. Note the bubble line in the right foreground.
Look on the bottom for lines of color that show a dramatic change in depth. Trout may hide in the dark depths when you stumble through a pool, but deep water doesn’t offer much food. If the depth suddenly changes from eight feet to two feet, all the food being carried by the current is forced into a narrow vertical choke point, and a trout here can see all the food that the current carries. In the bottom of a hole he can see only a fraction of it. Look too for rubble on the bottom, as opposed to sand or gravel. The rougher the bottom, the greater the number of nooks and crannies that offer places to hide and pockets of slower water, energy-efficient places for a trout to live and feed. If the water isn’t too slow or too shallow, you’ll be able to spot these places if you can’t “see” into the water by reading the roughness of the surface.
Don’t Ignore Springs . . .
In the early and late season a spring or small tributary entering a pool will concentrate the fish. Springs reflect the average mean temperature of a given latitude, and because of the insulating effect of the ground they hold a constant temperature year-round, just as your basement does. So in early spring, when the river water is 45 degrees, the temperature of an entering spring could be closer to 50, a more comfortable temperature that will encourage more feeding. In August, when the temperature of the river is 72 degrees with a corresponding decrease of oxygen, the spring will be around 55 degrees, and it may often be a question of survival rather than mere comfort that keeps trout with their noses stuck into the cold water. The Firehole in Yellowstone Park is a river that suffers from high summer water temperatures because of the hundreds of geysers, mud pots, and boiling water pools that flow into it. One August day I found a cold spring flowing into the Firehole opposite the famous Ojo Caliente hot spring. There were more than twenty trout packed into a shallow, barren flat below the spring, and they were unusually spooky, but I found that a tiny Pheasant Tail nymph dropped into the crowd would get a nod if I rested the pool after the previous fish I’d taken. It was the first time I had fished the Firehole, and had I not wanted desperately to catch a trout there, I would have left them alone, as they were vulnerable and stressed by living in this crowded, exposed environment. Since that day I have avoided cool springs in extremely hot weather, preferring to fish near them only when a couple of trout have moved in for comfort, not when an entire pool has migrated there out of desperation. You’re the predator, though, and you can make that decision on your own.

Great bank water, with a cobbled bottom as well. You’ll find many trout here.
. . . or the Banks
Reading the water by looking at the banks is often ignored, but the banks in many streams (not just meadow streams with undercuts) are the most important fish-holding features. Unless a bank has a shallow slope without cover and is made from fine gravel or the water along it is so shallow that a trout’s back would poke out, you’ll find trout somewhere along this edge. Generally one bank is better than the other. When you’re fishing blind, fish are spookier than if they’re preoccupied with a hatch, and because you’ll have to favor one of the banks when wading up or down (unless the river is so big you have to fish the same bank you’re wading), it’s important to look over both banks before you enter the water.

With standing waves like these on the Madison you can bet most trout will be close to the banks.
If the river is so fast in the middle that it is difficult for you to wade, there is nothing to break the current, and there are no twists to make current seams, you can be certain that any decent trout around will be near one or both banks. Which one should you choose? Just as you evaluated the middle of the pool, look at the head of the pool or riffle to see where the current is directing most of the food. Usually the current will bounce the main volume of water toward one bank or the other. But wait, you say;trout don’t need to worry about aquatic insects when they live near the banksbecause they have plenty of terrestrial insects falling right on top of their heads. It’s true that in some rivers terrestrial insects make up the bulk of a trout’s diet, but contrary to what most fishermen say and believe terrestrial insects are no more important to trout near the banks than to trout in the middle of the river. I remember casting to a large brown trout rising to leafhoppers and beetles in an upstate New York river one windy day, and I counted thirteen fly changes until I got him to take. He was in the middle of the river, fifty feet from either bank. One early morning on the Madison I walked the bank upstream from the Raynolds Pass Bridge. I rose dozens of big­spotted browns on a hopper right next to the bank, but when I turned my attention to the middle, the rainbows on the seams of the fast water ate the hopper just as eagerly.
There is a simple reason for my not thinking terrestrials are more important to fish living near the banks: An object falling into a river is quickly drawn into the center. If a grasshopper or cricket or beetle or ant falls into the water and isn’t eaten right away by a trout living next to the bank, it will soon be available to those guys out in the center. In tiny brooks or shallow streams the deeper bank is usually better. You should make sure, however, that some current is getting to the deeper bank, because sometimes the deep bank is an almost stagnant backwater. Huge trout can use these deep places for refuge, but they don’t eat there, so trying to get one to take is like pitching to a batter while he’s sleeping. If one bank slopes gently up from the river and the other is made from ledge rock or is otherwise steeper, the steep bank is likely to be better. In huge, fast rivers where the current along the deeper bank might be moving at ten feet per second and the water might be twenty feet deep, I’d take a look at the shallower bank first. There might be a trout underneath that twenty feet of fast water, but you’re not going to have much luck getting a fly to where he’ll see it and feel inclined to move for it.
Once you’ve identified the better bank, make sure as you fish that you keep your eye on where the good water peters out, as often the good water switches from one bank to another. Because you’re not looking for rising fish but casting to likely stream features, you can sometimes tighten the blinders too much and wade right through some water you should be fishing rather than blundering through.

Big boulders along the bank give you excellent water for prospecting.
Any object that breaks up the outline of the bank will increase its attractiveness to trout. Where a deep riffle runs along a bank, look for a point of land that sticks out. Just like a rock in the middle of a river, the point will form two choice places for trout to lie — one just upstream of the point where the water is backed up to form a dead spot, and another area just downstream. If the point sticks out more than a foot from the bank, you might think that the most or best fish will be found close to the bank in the backwater right behind the point. My experience has shown that most trout, and certainly the bigger ones, prefer to lie just inside the seam behind the point. This place makes sense for trout because it offers protection from the full brunt of the current and easy access to food being carried by the current. If you toss a twig into the backwater behind an object, it will whirl around for many revolutions before it rejoins the current, and some fishermen argue that trout like to be in backwaters because they get multiple looks at pieces of food. I think they are more concerned with getting enough to eat than with admiring their next meal.
I also like to think this is true because getting a fly behind a point of land just inside a fast current and maintaining a natural drift is difficult without throwing piles of slack or adding a six-foot tippet. I’d rather throw my fly into the easier current just outside the point for a longer natural drift and hope the trout just inside can easily slide over and inhale my fly. If he is tucked way back, he may still see my fly and rush over for it. Only after I’ve attempted every permutation of drifts on the outside will I try the nasty water in the backwater.

Fred Barberi nets one taken off the end of a sweeper in a suburban Connecticut stream.
Rocky banks are good. A jumble of rocks offers many havens from the current, with plenty of areas of different current speeds and seams. Narrow lanes between rocks concentrate the current — and move the food — into alleys, simplifying feeding. Any kind of vegetation will also make the bank more attractive to trout, even if the vegetation overhangs the water and doesn’t break the current. Shrubs hanging over the water offer trout security from predators. Luckily for fishermen, if there is a tunnel of alders along the bank, trout will not feed way back inside the tunnel but will lie just to the outside of the brush, using the dark interior only if they are frightened. Logs along a bank, whether parallel or perpendicular to the current, offer protection and breaks from the current.
A tree that has fallen into the water at a right angle to the current, usually with the trunk still attached to the bank, is called a ‘sweeper.’ The best places near a sweeper are at the outside tip of the branches extending downstream along the seam, and in front of the crotch where the sweeper meets the bank. Both places offer breaks from the current and a steady food supply. Often a line of trout extends below the tips of the branches, with the biggest fish upstream and the size decreasing as you go downstream, because a trout will not tolerate a smaller or less aggressive fish in front of it. Downstream of the sweeper is often barren water. If it contains trout, they’ll be much smaller than you’d think, because the sweeper strains food from the current and pushes it to the outside leaving slim pickings to the trout behind.
A log lying parallel to the current will probably hold more trout than a sweeper of the same size, because the entire length of the log offers attractive feeding grounds. When I was a teenager, I fished a productive stream that runs through the limestone bedrock of upstate New York. This river had all the attractive haunts a trout stream could possibly offer, but as far as my sampling could determine, one log in particular held the biggest fish. About fifteen feet long and five feet from the bank, the log always held several small trout; two six-inch nubs were left from branches that had been broken off over the years. And anchored at these nubs were the two best trout in the pool, one twenty inches long and the other nineteen. All these trout fed on the outside edge of the log, and even though there was a good five feet of dark, deep, protected water between the log and the bank, I never saw a trout rise and never caught one there.

Brown trout will use cover more than any other species of trout.
The subject of banks brings up the question of cover — the degree trout use it, and the amount they need. Anyone who has studied a piece of trout water for any time has seen trout feeding out in the open, away from obvious cover. The energetics of getting enough food seem to be far more important than safety from predators. But even if you can’t see it, you can bet that trout feeding in the open have a place to run to nearby, and that they have memorized the route. Brown trout seem to place more importance than other species on cover, and if they can find a spot that offers food, protection from the current, and cover, they’ll stay close to cover. When you hook a brown trout, he will invariably head for the nearest log or rock. The other day I was fishing a stream that holds both browns and rainbows, and out in the middle of a pool I hooked a rainbow that tailwalked in place four or five times, ran upstream, and then grudgingly headed downstream to be released. I cast to another fish rising in almost the same spot, except this trout streaked downstream before I even knew he was hooked, and he used a submerged root six feet ahead of me to remove the fly from his jaw as cleanly as popping the top off a beer bottle. He swam past me with an arrogant flip of his tail, and left my fly stuck firmly in the root, all before I could begin to strip in my line. As the fish passed, I saw the dark spots of a brown trout along his back.

Rainbows will usually be found in more open water, whether it’s riffly like this or slow and smooth.
Brown trout have even been known to burrow in gravel when frightened, but the behavior of frightened rainbows betrays their lack of concern with overhead cover. Rainbows, when spooked, usually head en masse to the deepest part of a pool, and when you walk by you can observe what biologists call “fright huddles” — groups of rainbows all packed together, fins trembling. You never see browns mixed in with them because all the browns have headed to the bank with its more substantial cover. Brook trout seem to use cover less than browns but more than rainbows, so you will more often find them farther from cover and from the bank than browns. Where cutthroats and brook trout are found together, biologists have seen more use of cover by the brook trout. So if you know a river contains only brown trout, spend more time casting tight to the banks than out in the middle. If it holds only rainbows, bless their hearts, you can concentrate on the easier places in the middle of the river. But don’t ever completely ignore the banks. The middle of the Railroad Ranch section of Henry’s Fork in Idaho is essentially featureless, as most of the water is one long flat without big rocks. The better rainbows are near the banks, possibly because of cover, but more likely because the current along the banks is reduced enough to form areas of slower water with access to the food carried by the current.
The Most Difficult Part of a Pool
Everything I’ve said about rocks and banks and logs applies to the tail of a pool as well, and in most of the rivers I’ve fished, the tails hold the largest trout. All the food passing through a pool is channeled at the tail into a vertically and horizontally constricted funnel, and the smooth water here allows a nearly unobstructed view of the outside world, which warns of the approach of all kinds of predators. During a hatch the tail of a pool is the first place I’ll go to catch a trout that will pull line off my reel. It is also the last place I’ll go to prospect. When a trout in the tail of a pool is preoccupied with feeding and you know exactly where he is, approaching him is still difficult; when he is not actively feeding, it is masochistic. Because the tail of a pool is shallower than the middle, look for the deepest place in the tail to hold the most trout, barring any rocks or logs in the water. The place where the tail begins to shallow, where dark water gives way to lighter-colored water, will often be where trout are lined up to feed. If the water close to the banks is deeper than in the middle, and especially when vegetation meets the water, you’ll often find more and bigger trout next to the banks than out in the middle.

The nastiest part of a pool — the tail.
When you stand at the tail of a pool and fish upstream, following the usual line of attack, the water at your feet is faster than the water you cast into. The water in the tail is always accelerating, particularly in the early season when the current is faster. As soon as your fly lands, drag sets in, and even throwing big piles of slack will not always counteract this problem. You can get a better presentation by casting from upstream or from across-stream and throwing upstream curves, and this works best early in the season when you can get closer to the trout without spooking them. In midsummer I find that from above you spook the fish in the tails of most pools, especially in smaller streams or when the water is unusually low.
Because most aquatic insects live in riffles, and everything that hatches in a pool that doesn’t fly away will be funneled into the tail (as will any terrestrial insect that falls into the water), trout in the tail of a pool seem more aware of surface food than trout in any other place. If you stand and watch long enough, you will often see them sipping here throughout the day, especially in the low water of late season. This is not really a hatch situation; it is opportunistic surface feeding at every little morsel that drifts by. Sometimes you can watch for twenty minutes before you see a rise, so if you’re moving at a normal pace you won’t spot the fish, and you’ll fish the tail blind. During the summer, when the current has slowed enough, you can often make a short, accurate upstream presentation from a trout’s blind spot. But since your drift will still be short before it drags, decide first where you think the trout will be lying — don’t just blast away at random. It’s a good idea to study the surface currents for several minutes as well. If you can get close enough to where you think a trout might be, and you can figure an angle from which you can get a drag-free float, a terrestrial pattern or small spinner imitation in the middle of the day may rise a trout of a size you would normally see only during the evening hatch.
Even in the same stream at the same time of year, you cannot approach the tail of a pool with the casual tactics that might work in a riffle. If you want to catch trout in the tails of pools, study the last chapter on approach carefully. In the technique chapters that follow, note these techniques that have worked best for me in the tails of pools: actively stripped streamers, swung wets, and skated dry flies.
How the Setting Can Change
Four minutes from where I sit in an office eight hours a day is a tiny stream that is my laboratory, escape valve, and forty-five-minute retreat. I can fish three or four pools on my lunch hour. In one favorite half-mile stretch I know virtually every fish except the unseen brown trout that I suspect inhabit a couple of deep undercut banks at the base of streamside maples. I have never caught one of these elusive browns, but I imagine them sulking in a tangle of drowned roots, oblivious to my flies but capable of eating a six-inch brook trout followed by a three-day fast. At the beginning of each season I mark a couple of gullible brook trout by clipping their adipose fins so I can follow their progress through the season. If I can figure out where they are living, I can almost always catch them. In early spring they are in the deeper, slower pools, and to catch them you need a large nymph fished close to the bottom, with no drag at all. As water temperatures rise above 55 degrees and flies start to hatch, they will be pulled from the pools into shallow riffles. Now a dry fly will work, as will a wet fly or nymph that swings across the current. As water levels fall during the summer, they can be hard to find, and whenever I fail to catch one that has been in the same spot for a couple of months, I start to imagine my brookie in an aluminum­foil coffin in somebody’s freezer, or in the belly of a heron or otter. With the lower water levels it’s also likely that there are fewer places in this little stream that can hold trout, and my friends were pushed downstream by more aggressive trout. In summer most of the trout are concentrated in only the deepest holes and in the heads of pools — it may be a hundred feet between places that hold trout.
During the winter and early in the season trout are more concerned with avoiding anchor ice and floods than they are with eating. There are few insects in the drift for them to capture, and their metabolisms are slowed to the point where they take little advantage of the food that might be available. Shallow water can be scoured by floating ice and anchor ice, which grows from the bottom of the river, so look for trout in deep-water refuges, out of the main current. When there is no ice, though, I have caught them on sunny days in shallow riffles, and because I doubt trout spend the winter in water like this, I suspect they move into places that are warmed by the sun as spring starts to wake up the river. As the water temperature approaches 50 degrees, and insects begin to drift and hatch, the fish migrate to shallow riffles and the heads of pools to take advantage of insect life at its source. You can gauge the migration time by the first major hatch of the season. In the East, if you blind-fish before the Hendrickson hatch, you’ll find most trout in the side eddies and backwaters, but as soon as this first big hatch begins, the trout appear in riffles, in tails of pools, and out in the main current. They’re still there on days when the flies don’t hatch, and early in the morning on days when flies don’t hatch until midafternoon.
There they will stay until low water and high temperatures shrink the comfortable places in a stream and concentrate the trout. As habitats contract, trout don’t move far, sometimes just from one side of the pool to another, or from the middle to the head. In the tail of a big pool on the lower Battenkill, I found a pod of a half-dozen large brown trout one late spring evening, and I returned a couple of evenings a week to work them over. By the middle of the summer I had caught and released most of them, including a couple that I fin-clipped. A vacation kept me away from them for ten days, and when I returned the places where they had been feeding were almost dry. I couldn’t find a single one. One night I happened to look at the other side of the river, which was deeper but had never produced a fish, I guess because this deeper pocket was out of the main current and did not supply enough food. There were several good fish rising there, and sure enough, over the next several weeks I caught some that I had clipped. As I looked carefully at the water, I saw that their new home was deep enough to keep them secure. The current had shifted because of a newly exposed gravel bar, and by the looks of the bubble line coming down through the pool, most of the food was now funneled to the opposite side of the river.

Look for oxygenated water like this in the late season. Margot Page photo.
In the tough late season there are three keys to finding trout: temperature, oxygen, and flow. If you remember them, you will catch trout all day long, even in the noonday heat of August when there is slim chance of any kind of hatch.
Temperature: Look for springs entering the river. Even springs whose surface flow runs dry during the summer usually offer some flow below the dry channel, so a scar of clean rocks along the bank that looks as though it might have been a tributary in early spring may tip you off to some cooler water. In general any entering tributary will be cooler than the main river, so look for trout below the confluence of a smaller and a larger stream. Wade wet to find springs entering the river beneath the streambed.
Oxygen: Water’s oxygen content is inversely related to its tem­perature, so if you can’t find the cooler water, which holds more oxygen, look for places where oxygen is forced into the water by physical means. Riffles, runs, pocket water, the bases of dams — trout will move to these places in midsummer, often leaving the rest of a pool barren.
Flow: This important factor of midsummer trout fishing is often overlooked. Trout won’t live where they can’t eat, and during low water their options are limited, making stream reading easier. Especially in slower pools, don’t look for trout anywhere but right under the bubble line, because flow is reduced to a point where only the
main current offers enough food. If you can’t locate the bubble line or it doesn’t seem to help, another way of finding trout is to look at the stones on the bottom. Once when I was fishing a stream known for its wild rainbows, I was in a wide riffle that holds scores of trout during the spring, and I knew some of them had to be around, even though the water looked too shallow. At first the entire riffle looked daunting and I couldn’t decide where to start. Then as I stared at the water, I noticed something. Most of the rocks on the bottom were covered with a thin film of dusty-looking silt, but in places that were slightly deeper and had a stronger current, the rocks had been wiped clean. That gave me some targets, and by pitching a Flashabou Caddis Larva into the narrow lanes of clean stones, I picked up a half-dozen ten-inch fish, more than I would have expected in such a flat, shallow riffle.

start the super-meta
 
Tom Rosenbauer has been a fly fisher for over 35 years and was a commercial fly tier by age 14. For 30 years he has been with the Orvis Company, where he is now marketing director for Orvis Rod and Tackle. He also has written ten fly fishing books. Excerpted from The Orvis Guide to Prospecting for Trout (The Lyons Press, December 2000, 288 pages).
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Tongass National Forest, Alaska(2011)

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Tongass National Forest, AK on 08/27/2011 17:18:36 MDT

トンガス国立森林区 posted by Ike Jutkowitz
Not really backpacking but…(実際はbackpackingでないけど。でも。。)

Every August, I take part in a professional conference in Yakutat, a small fishing village on the southeast coast of Alaska. Lecturing and coordinating small group trips to the Situk River helps to subsidize the cost of the trip each year. What I love most though is getting up there a few days before the conference starts to spend some time alone surrounded by Alaska’s natural beauty.

毎年8月にヤクタット(アラスカの南西海岸の小さな漁業の村)でプロフェッショナル会議を開いている。Situk川へ旅行する小グループに講義したり調整したりすると、補助金が旅費に助成されるのだ。私は、会議が始まる数日前にアラスカの美しい自然に囲まれた中で一人で数時間を過ごすように旅行計画を立てるようにしている。

I flew out of Detroit at about 10 pm, arriving in Anchorage in the middle of the night. I went upstairs to the native Alaskan exhibit where I knew from past experience that I was unlikely to get hassled. (By the way, if you ever need to figure out where you can sleep in an airport without getting thrown out, sleepinginairports.net is a great resource.) I threw down my sleeping pad and summerlite bag and caught a few hours of restless sleep in a little cubicle within the exhibit. The next morning, I jumped on a plane, arriving in Yakutat at about 11 am. I stowed my extra gear at the lodge where the conference would be held the following week and caught a ride to the Situk Lake trailhead, located within the Tongass National Forest.

真夜にアンカレッジに到着するように、午後10時にデトロイトから飛行機に乗り込んだ。人と口論したくないので、過去の経験からわかっている2階のアラスカ原住民文化展示フロアーへ行った。スリーピングパッドと寝袋を広げて、この展示場の小さな仕切りで数時間うたた寝した(restless sleep)。翌朝、飛行機に乗り午前11:00にヤクタットに到着した。来週会議が開かれるロッジに荷物を預け、トンガス国立森林区にあるSituk湖トレイルの入口(trailhead)まで車に乗せてもらった。

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I was travelling pretty light for this trip. I had reservations to use a small forest service cabin located on Situk Lake, so shelter was taken care of. Food was also abundantly available this time of year, so I was able to limit my food weight to just a few granola bars and snacks. Inside my Recon day pack, I had sleeping bag, small cutdown pad, rain coat, flip flops, fishing gear, and a coffee can containing coffee, spices, olive oil, and an alkie stove. I wore my waders, and carried fishing rod and bear spray close at hand.

この旅行は実に軽装だった。Situk湖にある森林サービスの小さな山小屋を予約していた。それで避難場所の心配はいらない。食料もこの時期はたくさん利用できるので、少しのgranolaバーとスナックで、食料の重量を制限した。私のRecon デイバッグには、寝袋、コットンの敷物、雨具、サンダル、釣具、そしてコーヒが入っている。オリーブオイル、スパイス、アルコールストーブも入れてある。私はウェイダーを履いて、釣竿、熊よけスプレーを手に持った。

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The trail to Situk Lake was only 3.5 miles, wandering through mossy rainforest, past water lily covered ponds, sedge and cottongrass fields, and over little streams. Thanks to the American Reinvestment and Recovery act, major trail improvements had been implemented 3 years earlier, with hand carved logs spanning the wetter areas of the trail. New for this year, netting had been placed over the logs to improve traction.

Situk湖へのトレイルはたった3.5マイル(5.6Km)で、苔生した雨林の中を、沼を覆う睡蓮、スゲ、そして綿花畑、そして小さな流れを越えて進んで行く。アメリカ復興・再投資法(the American Reinvestment and Recovery act)のお陰で、3年間早く湿地エリアのトレイルには手製の丸太で改良がなされた。今年は新しく丸太が滑らないようにするために丸太にネットが掛けられていた。

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Berries were abundant and I snacked on salmon berries, blueberries, twisted stalk, bunchberries, and highbush cranberries (not quite ripe) as I walked. Moose tracks were evident everywhere.(ベリーは豊富で、歩きながらサーモン、ブルーなどのベリーをつまみ食いした。ムースの足跡がそこら中にあった。)

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Moose were not the only obvious presence in the forest. As I came across this large deposit on the trail, two thoughts immediately came to mind. (1) That’s a really large bear, and (2) with all the berries I’d been eating, I might be heading for a similar outcome. I took a second glance, remembering the old joke on how to differentiate grizzly bear scat from that of the black bear. Grizzly bear scat has bells in it and smells like pepper.

森の中にムースだけがいるわけではない。トレイルで大きな落とし物を跨いだとき、たくさんのことがすぐに心に浮かんだ。(1)本当に大きな熊だ、(2)私が食べていたベリーで。同じ結果に向かっているかも知れない。数秒眺めてから、黒クマとグリズリーベアーの糞の見分方のジョークを思い出したよ。「グリズリーの糞は中にベルが含まれていて、胡椒のような臭いがする」(熊ベルを付けた人間やペッパースプレーを持った人を喰ったので →グズリーベアーを防御する方法は無い?)。

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Walking on, I found a pretty fresh bear track. (歩いていると、極めて新鮮な熊の足跡を見つけた)

Just 3 years earlier, a park ranger had been mauled on this trail after surprising a mother bear and her cub. To avoid making the same mistake, and partly to entertain myself, I sang loudly as I walked, not so cleverly substituting the word “bear” in the lyrics when appropriate. My best rendition (and that’s not saying much) was probably, “Oh when those bears, come marching in, oh when those bears come marching in. Lord I got me a big a$$ shotgun, for when those bears come marching in.” One thing I should mention is that I am not a particularly good singer. At all. I was a little self-conscious, hoping I didn’t run into anyone else on the trail. Luckily, Alaska is a pretty big place and I never saw a soul.

丁度3年前、公園レンジャーが母熊と子熊を驚かしてしまい、トレイルでひどい目にあった事故が起きた。同じ誤りを避けて少し楽しむために、歩きながら大きな声で歌った。あまり賢い方法ではないが、適当に歌詞の言葉「熊」を置き換えて歌った。最も得意な歌は、多分「おお、熊たちが行進して来る。おお、熊たちが行進してくる。主よ、大きな拳銃がほしい。熊たちが行進してきたとき」。ご存じのように「私は実際いい歌手ではない」と言うことだ。まったく自覚しなかったが、トレイルで誰かがどこかに駆け込まなかったことを希望しながら。幸いアラスカは非常に広い場所で、人っ子一人見なかった(not see a soul)。

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After about an hour and a half of wandering, photographing, and filming, I arrived at the forest service cabin. The Situk Lake cabin is a one room cabin with two bunk beds and a woodstove, sitting in a small clearing overlooking the lake. Amenities include an outhouse, woodshed stocked with cut logs, and an aluminum canoe. It was paradise.

写真を撮りながら歩き回って1.5時間後、Situk湖の森林サービス山小屋に到着した。小屋は一部屋だけで、2つのベッドと1つの薪ストーブが備え付けられていたて、そこから湖を見渡せる小さく清潔な部屋だった。野外便所、丸太の貯蔵庫、アルミのカヌーもあった。ここはパラダイスだ。

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Looking out at the magnificent view, I could see Sockeye jumping where the Situk River flowed into Situk Lake. A note on salmon biology- the best sockeye runs take place in river systems that contain a lake within them. This is because after hatching the sockeye fry spend a year or more living in the lake before migrating to the ocean. The river system I was on contained two such lakes, Mountain Lake, a glacial lake where the Situk River originated, flowing down to Situk Lake in the middle of the river system.

素晴らしい展望を楽しみながら、Situk川がSituk湖に流れ込むところで姫鱒がジャンプしているのが見えた。サーモン生態学の1つの注意:姫鱒の最高の遡上は湖がある水系で生じる。これは姫鱒の幼魚は孵化してから太平洋へ移動するまでに、1年以上湖で過ごすからだ。この川(Situk川)にはMountain Lake( 氷河湖で、Situk川の源流になり、Situk湖に流れ込んでいる)を含む2つの湖がある。

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Grabbing a paddle and life jacket, I quickly paddled the canoe out to a small sandbar where river met lake and soon had my first sockeye on. He immediately took for the lake, ripping line in a series of acrobatics. After about 5 minutes, I landed the fish on the sandbar, feeling a sense of relief in knowing that I would not be going hungry that night.

パドルとライフジャケットを握りしめて、川が湖に流れ込みんでいて、最初の姫鱒が釣れた小さな砂州へ、素早く漕ぎだした。魚は何回もアクロバッティクに、そしてラインを一直線に引き出し、たちまち湖の方へ持って行った。約5分後、砂州にこの魚を釣り上げた。今夜腹ぺこにならないと分かって、ひと安心した。

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Sweet Success(成功の甘き香り)

I whiled away the afternoon fishing for sockeye and canoing around the lake. By evening I had caught a number of beautiful sockeye, releasing most but keeping two. Not wanting to attract bears to the sandbar, I overturned the canoe and used it as a counter to fillet the fish. Carcasses were cast into a deep hole, likely to be retrieved later by otters. I know this doesn’t sound classically LNT, but the salmon die by the millions annually in the river system, providing much needed nutrients to support aquatic life.
午後は、姫鱒釣りと湖周辺をカヌーイングしてぶらぶら過ごした。夕方までたくさんの姫鱒を釣った。大半は逃がしてやって2匹だけキープした。砂州で熊の襲撃は困るので、カヌーを転覆(overturn)させて、魚を切り刻むための調理台として使った。後でカワウソが掘り返せるように死骸を深い穴に放り込んだ。これは従来のLNT(Leave No Trace, 足跡を残さない)でないことは分かっているが、この水系では毎年鮭が数百万も死んでいる。そして水生生物の生命を支えるに必要な栄養になっているのだ。

I took one large salmon fillet back to camp, devising a bear bagging refrigeration system for the rest. As mentioned earlier, the river flowing down from Mountain Lake is glacial runoff, icy cold. I double bagged the fillets and placed them in a large ziplock storage bag. This was tied to a rock and lowered to the bottom of the lake. A small, airfilled baggie kept the end of the rope afloat, allowing me to haul up the fish when needed.
大きな鮭の切り身を1つキャンプ用に持ち帰った。先に述べたようにMountain Lakeから流れ出ている川は氷河の溶けたもので氷のように冷たい。切り身をバッグに詰めて、大きなジップ付き保存バッグに入れた。

Back at camp, I split some logs using an axe left for that purpose in the woodshed and built a fire in the fire ring. I seasoned up the fish with olive oil, salt, and pepper, wrapped it in foil, and placed it by the fire.
キャンプに戻って、薪小屋の薪を斧で割り、たき火を起こした。オリーブオイル、塩、胡椒で味付けして、フォイールで包み火に掛けた。

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Very fresh fish

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Campfire cooking

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While the fish cooked, I gathered some young fireweed greens for a salad, seasoning these with olive oil, spices, and some vinegar found in the cabin. I gorged myself on fresh, smoky salmon, the best I had ever tasted. As I ate, it began to drizzle and I soon retired to the security of the cabin. Snuggled in my down bag, I slept warmly through the night.

魚を料理しながら、サラダ用に若いヤナギランの葉を集め、小屋で見つけたオリーブオイル、スパイス、酢で味付けした。新鮮で、燻した鮭をむさぼり食った(gorge)。味わったことの無い最高の味だった。食事をしていたとき、小雨が降り始めたので直ぐに小屋に撤収した。ダウンの寝袋に潜り込み、夜中暖かくして寝た。

I woke at about 4:30 am (the 4 hour time difference made this feel very reasonable) too excited to stay in bed any longer. After a quick cup of coffee and breakfast bar, I started my hike up to Mountain Lake. The trail was heavily overgrown, and I had some moments of concern as I made my way hunched over through willow tunnels that were hardly more than game trails. The thought of coming face to face with a bear in one of these tunnels made me quicken my pace, bear spray held at the ready in one hand.

長く寝ているのはもったいないので、朝4:30に起きた。コーヒーと朝食のバーを素早く食べてから、上流のMountain Lakeへ歩くことにした。トレイルはかなり雑草で覆われて(overgrown)いて、ほとんど獣道以上に通りづらい柳(willow)のトンネルを通って、前屈み(hunch over)に進んだ(make one’s way)。このトンネルで熊に遭遇したらと思うと、歩みが速くなった。片手に熊よけスプレイを準備していた。

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Eagles were everywhere

Finally I reached a small waterfall where Mountain Lake emptied into the river. There I saw a large school of red salmon, waving their tails slowly to hold position in the water. They were spawned out and waiting to die. I wondered what went through their minds at that time, mission accomplished and nothing to do but wait for the inevitable. Was it a feeling of relief or sadness that the journey had ended?

やっとMountain Lakeから川に放出している小さな滝に到達した。そこで大量の赤鮭がいた。水中にゆっくり尾鰭を揺らしてながら体勢を保っている。産卵の終わった魚で、死を待っている。使命を果たし、何もしないで、来るモノを待つ。そのとき私の心に去来したものは何だったか。旅が終わって、安心しているのか、悲観しているのか?

Intermingled with the salmon were the rapidly flitting shapes of rainbow trout. They had gorged on salmon eggs, and waited now for disintegrating bits of sockeye that would soon follow. I mentally marked the spot for my return downstream.

鮭と混在して、虹鱒のスイスイ素早く泳ぐ姿があった。姫鱒がボロボロになるのを待ちながら、虹鱒が鮭の卵をむさぼり食っていた。

I continued upward toward the lake, fording above the waterfall to reach the other side. The lake was pristine, surrounded by high mountain walls. Within the lake was another giant school of older sockeye that had succeeded in making the leap up the waterfall. By the lakeside, I found an old bear camp with a small tent-like hut and curiously paused for a while to investigate. I then continued hiking along the shore of the lake, casting occasionally for rainbows cruising beneath the willows. It was drizzling, again.

湖の上流へ足を進めた。対岸に行くために滝の上を渡渉した。湖は、高い山の壁に囲まれて、まったく自然のままだった。湖には、滝を上り得た別の大量の年取った姫鱒の群れがいた。湖岸のそばで、小さなテントのような祠の熊の古い巣を見つけた。好奇心で、調べるために小休した。湖岸に沿って探索を続け、柳近くを回遊している虹鱒をときどき釣った。また小雨が降り始めた。

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By noon, I started back down the trail toward home base, I stopped by the waterfall again to cast for rainbows. To my surprise, I caught a nice Dolly Varden and decided to bring it back for dinner that night. However, as I turned around, I realized I had attracted the interest of a young male bear.

正午近くに、ベースキャンプに向けて、トレイルを戻り始めた。滝近くで、また虹鱒を釣るために立ち止まった。驚いたことに、ドリーバーデンが釣れ、今夜の夕食用に持ち帰ることに決めた。しかし、振り返ったとき、若い雄熊に目がいった。

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As he moved toward me purposefully, I quickly released the fish back into the water and stood tall, talking trash and readying my bear spray. My heart was pounding as I slowly backed away.

彼が意識的に近づいてきたとき、魚を湖に戻して高く背を伸ばし、威嚇の声を出して、熊よけスプレーを用意した。ゆっくり後ろに下がったとき、心臓はばくばく鼓動していた。

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The bear soon lost interest and began nosing around in the water. I took that as my cue to retreat back to the trail.

熊はすぐに興味を失い、水面の臭いをかぎ出した。トレイルに後退させる合図だ、と思った。

It was raining steadily when I arrived back at the Situk Lake cabin. I spent some more time fishing, then retrieved a sockeye fillet from my “refrigerator” and headed back to the cabin to make dinner. I decided to eat inside that night because of the rain. I built a small fire in the woodstove, again seasoned and wrapped my fish in foil, and cooked it atop the stove. The fresh fish needed no accompaniment, but I did have some blueberries heated with some sugar to form a delicious sauce alongside. Sipping a little whisky afterward, I contemplated what I would do should a bear try to force his way into the cabin. Sleep came soon afterward.

Situk湖の小屋に戻ったとき、雨はまだ降り続いていた。釣りにもう少し時間を使った。私の冷蔵庫から姫鱒の切り身を取り出し、夕食のために小屋に戻った。雨だったので、その夜は室内で食事を取ることを決めた。再び、薪ストーブに火をおこし、魚を味付けしてホイルで包み、ストーブの上で焼いた。新鮮な魚に付き合わせはいらないが、砂糖で熱したブルーベリー、美味しいソースを、脇に加えた。後で、ウイスキーをチビチビ啜りながら、小屋に熊が襲ってきたらどうすべきか思案したが、後ですぐ熟睡した。

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The next day dawned on a beautiful morning. I would be heading back to the lodge today, but resolved to get in a little fishing first, hopefully to bring some sockeye back with me.

翌日の美しい朝明け。今日、ロッジに戻るつもりだが、まず少し釣りをして、幸く行けば姫鱒を持って帰るつもりだった。

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I paddled back out to my little sandbar across water still and unblemished.

小さなボクの砂州に向かって、静かで汚れの無い水面を漕いだ。

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Making coffee on the sandbar

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Flycasting at dawn

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Another nice sockeye

After that, it was time to leave. I triple bagged a number of sockeye fillets and headed out. The trip back was uneventful. Reaching 9 mile Bridge late that afternoon, I hitched a ride back to the lodge. Dinner that night was a pot of Dungeness crabs generously donated by one of the guys at the lodge. Plainly boiled and dunked in butter, this was one of the best post trip dinners I’ve ever had.

その後、出発の時間が来た。姫鱒の切り身を3パック詰めて出発した。戻りの旅は何も無かった。9マイル橋に午後遅く到着し、ロッジまで車に乗せてもらった。その日の夕食はロッジの一人が寄付してくれたダンジネスクラブのスープだった。茹でて、バターを通したモノだ。これは今まで経験した最高の旅の後の夕食だった。

That evening, I hiked along the shoreline around a rocky outcropping overlooking the bay.

夕方、湾が見下ろせる露出した岩周辺の海岸線を歩いた。

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A school of porpoises swam right between me and the island in this picture, not 30 feet away.

ネズミイルカが沖合30フィートの島と私の間を泳いでいった。

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Still life with crab

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The next day, I borrowed a conference van and beat around the lower river for the day. Coho salmon were just starting to enter the river system, ferociously taking any well presented fly.

翌日、会議の車を借りて、その日は下流域を狙った。Cohoサーモンが川に遡上し始めていて、どんなフライでもヒットした。

The conference began one day later. While I thoroughly enjoyed myself, I was incredibly glad to have had a few days alone in the Alaskan wilderness. These are memories that will last a lifetime.

会議は一日遅れで始まった。十分満足したけど、アラスカの荒野で一人数日を過ごして信じられないくらいに嬉しかった。生涯に残る思いでだ。

Edited by Ike on 08/27/2011 17:25:14 MDT.