Fishing with Grandpa

Your Favorite Fishing Spot

I’ve been fishing since I was a very young boy, and I had great teachers in my Mom and my Great Grandpa Earl.  They were well aware of the tactics to get kids hooked on fishing (which is something I will write an entire article about soon if I haven’t already).  The important thing was that I had fun in the early days, enough fun to keep my interest in fishing strong enough to continue to develop it on my own as I grew up.  I didn’t realize it at the time why we went to different places at different times; I thought it was just by chance or for convenience.  But my Great Grandpa Earl was an excellent fisherman, and he subliminally taught me a very important lesson about fishing:  It’s good to have your favorite fishing spot, but you have to have many favorites.

I know that is somewhat contradictory, but what it means is that you have to have a favorite spot for each time of the year, and for each species of fish you are going after.  Fish behave differently between species and at different times of the year.  I have written many articles about fish behavior, and there are many more to write, but understanding fish behavior is the key to finding a favorite fishing spot.

While sometimes you will catch different species of fish in the same spot, there is nothing more satisfying than saying “I am going fishing for bass today,” and actually catching bass, or whatever fish you choose to pursue.  It is a true testament to your fishing prowess to be able to fish for and catch a specific species.

On the mountain rivers in Colorado, or most mountain states, you are going to find multiple variations of trout.  But within those rivers there are specific places the various trout will be, and often times they will be feeding on different things.  For example, while you may catch a big brown trout while trying to catch a rainbow on a tiny nymph fly, you are more likely to catch the monster brown in a slower pool at dusk on a large mouse fly.  The same concept applies to lakes as well, with different lures and techniques obviously.


Kyle with a Brook Trout

Once you understand fish, you will understand their preferred habitat and forage, which will lead you to finding your favorite fishing spots.  For me, the White River is my favorite river to fish in Colorado, and there are certain pools, riffles, and runs that I always go to.  Some years after a heavy snow melt runoff there will be changes to the topography of the river from the high, violent water, and new hot spots are created, and sometimes old ones will be gone.  But in general, I know that river so well that I know where to go in the spring, summer, and fall, and they are not always the same places.  When I go to a new river, I look for places that resemble my favorite spots on the White River.  For river fly fishing, identifying good habitat comes easy after you understand it, but the factor that changes is what flies to use at different times of the year, or even different times of the day.

When fishing in lakes your favorite spots are much more vulnerable to the changes in the time of year than on a river.  For example I recently wrote about largemouth bass behavior during the pre-spawn, and you will find them in entirely different places as the lake water warms up.  Fish in lakes will move based on water temperature, vegetation growth and the concentrations of forage fish.  For me, figuring out a lake is harder than figuring out a river, but understanding the factors that affect fish behavior really help, as does a good topo map of the lake or sonar equipment if you use that.


Kyle with a Monster Cutthroat Trout

Once you figure out where the fish will be, when they will be there, and what they will be eating, then you will establish your favorite fishing spots, and you will consistently catch the fish you set out to catch.  When you have achieved that level of competence, then it is time to take a kid fishing.