"Seams" to "See" is where Fish will Be - by Timothy Kusherets (Author) Steelhead & Salmon Drift-Fishing Secrets

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"Seams" to "See" is where Fish will Be

Favorite holding places of salmon and steelhead

Timothy Kusherets

Reading water is easy, once you know what to look for, and finding seams is perhaps the easiest form of reading water. Seams identify varying speeds of current and depth of holds. They are the favorite holding places of salmon and steelhead. Once you know what  a Seam is, why fish prefer them, understanding the movements of Seams, where they're found, and how to fish them, you'll know how to read water. I guarantee that once you find seams you'll find fish, in particular Salmon and Steelhead.
Seams indicate varying speeds of current in the form of undulating lines at the surface of any body of water. The best seams to fish are found in tributaries, slots, eddies, and drop-offs. All of these will have some form of seam, and if there is a seam there will be fish.
Salmon and Steelhead prefer seams for two reasons: baits, fly's, and small fish flounder in faster water; and on the other side of the seam is slower water. It doesn't matter where the seam is or what is causing it, Salmonids prefer the slower water for holding and for feeding purposes, and once you know that you can fish them.
To fish a seam is more art than science. Always fish the far side of a seam, no matter what side of the river you're on. It's all about the ability to cast at each seam and ensuring that your offering gets in front of fish for as long as possible. So long as the presentation is good, simulating either baits or debris, salmon and steelhead will pick up the offering within just a few casts. Since each seam does offer some kind of current, the best way to fish them is with any kind of "Drift-Fishing" gear. Spinners and spoons are best to fish from the mid-strata to the surface. The wide bodies of the lures flutter back and forth causing friction on the blade keeping them up rather than down, but they do work well. Corkies, Jigs, and Bait are best fished near the bed of the river, where most fish prefer to hold. How each cast is made determines how effective the hookups are. Assume that the river is flowing from the left to the right. The Seam is on the far side of the river. Cast past the seam to about the eleven o'clock position by about six to seven feet. Let the terminal gear hit the surface without flipping the bail over for about four to five seconds. Flip the bail over, reel in the slack, all the while mending the mainline as it makes its way closer and closer to the seam. Just before it enters the seam stop reeling, put your finger or thumb on the line and allow it to continue on through the drift to about the two o'clock position, or until the mainline has passed to the inside of the seam (that portion of the seam closest to you). Regardless of what you decide to fish with, this is the only productive way to fish any seam. If fish are in the water, a properly presented offering in the seam will be picked up fast, so the technique won't take long for you to find out. Remember; if fishing at the surface isn't working then try fishing near the bed. The whole thing should take about five minutes or less for you to find out, depending on the current, depth, and width of the river.
One of the mysteries of the seam is knowing when they'll move and then adjust fishing tactics. Most anglers don't know it, but as a river rises and falls so too does the fishable areas of the river, with regard to seams. Where fishing is good one day, assuming that you're fishing a back-eddy, may not be good at all the next. If the river rises or falls by as little as six inches it can be enough to move an entire school of fish. When rivers lower the best seams to fish are downriver, moreover, those seams down current will more likely be closer to the bank, which also means you'll have to fish it farther away from the waterline, to keep them on the bite. Pressure will keep fish from biting into anything, so when the seam moves downriver adjust your fishing tactics to be more stealthy.
When rivers blow out, or at least rise, then all the good seams will move upstream. More often than not, the fishable seams will move out and away from the shoreline. Depending on the turbidity of the river, fishing can be good or bad. Believe it or not, when rivers rise, the best fishing is when the water is churning and roiling (turbid). The further the seams move out the farther out you'll have to wade, within reasonable safety. Make sure to increase weight, test size, leader and offering. In many cases the leader should actually be made shorter since salmon and steelhead will not feel the pressure of visibly seeing thick line, or anglers fishing from shore; but, this technique should only be used when there is virtually less than an inch of visibility.
The ability to "Read" water is as easy as finding any seam. Don't forget that seams move back and forth, so don't look for a distinctly straight line where two currents meet. Rivers flow and currents move everything in the water, including seams. Once you know what seams look like, how their formed, why fish hold in them, and then how to fish the water, you'll be hooking into fish literally any time of the year. When you can see seams you can bet that it's where fish will be, which includes Salmon, Steelhead, Trout, and Bass.

To Learn more about "Reading Water" check out the authors book, Steelhead & Salmon Drift-Fishing Secrets, which shows every kind of holding water these fish can be found. Learn what tackle to take, when to fish, how to fish them, and how to motivate strikes even in the presence of heavy pressure from Predators, Floods, and Fishermen.
If you'd like to check out the Table of Contents of the book, log onto the authors website at
www.topfishingsecrets.com and click on "Inside the Book".
Check out MidWest Outdoors next month for more insightful Salmon, Steelhead, and Trout fishing information by Timothy Kusherets.
Here there is a pool and drop-off. The current from both holds vary so much that fish in each are faced in different directions. The shallow water at the top of the drop-off is an eddy so to fish it anglers will have to fish the river backwards. Rather than casting upriver optimal presentations, cast downriver and fish upriver since the heads of fish will be pointed that way. Those fish in the pool will be faced in the other direction, upriver, which require anglers fish the top of the drop-off to the bottom. The seam is right there at the drop-off all the way down to the bed. Note the black shadows in both holds. There are literally hundreds of salmon and steelhead holding in this one spot. With the right gear, fishing this spot could feel like heaven. Not knowing how to fish is could feel like hell born of frustration.
A Photograph like no other! These Salmon are actually in the main stem of this creek and a back-eddy at the same time. With the crystal clear water you can "see" the direction fish will hold while in a back-eddy. The Seam is the deciding factor of how Salmon will gravitate in any body of water. Look at how all the fish stay in a completely unified circle as they make their way around in the back-eddy. When fishing a back-eddy it's best to fish that section of the river backwards with most fishing gear. The direction of the heads of these fish should illustrate, quite clearly, that if you try to fish with a conventional drift, the only thing you'll hook is the tail of them. As we all know, fish can't bite into hooks with their tails.
The Yellow Line illustrates where the Seam is located in this photograph. To properly fish it, cast past the seam upriver by about six feet to the two o'clock position. Let the terminal gear fall and hit the bed, then lift the line, reel in the slack, and allow your mainline to drift in the seam for as long as possible. Remember, seams are created by the collision of two distinctly different speeds of current.  Always fish the far side of any seam first, no matter where you fish.
This awesome looking summer steelhead was taken in the seam directly behind me? Can you see it? The animated white line represents both sides of the seam where this fish was holding. Further out, or the upper portion of the photograph, is fast water, closer towards the bank, lower portion of the photo, is slow shallow water, and where the two currents meet is where this fish was holding. Seams offer great cover when the sun is out overhead. They can be inches wide to a few feet. Drift the entire seam before moving onto the next hold.