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Fly fishing: riffle 1

Friday, 29 May 2015  |  Simon

In fly fishing, a riffle is an important component of a river or a stream's physical morphology. An angler must read these areas carefully because of the abundant aquatic life they are able to support.

The anatomy of a riffle is straightforward and easy to recognise. They are generally higher energy sections of a stream or river and usually run at shallower depths than other portions of the system. Because the energy level of the water passing through a riffle is higher than average for a body of water, larger cobbles, rocks, and stones often collect along the river bed beneath one.

A riffle’s length is primarily determined by the gradient of the stream. They can be very short (only a few meters) or extremely long (several hundred meters in length). The classic ones are located a little upstream from deeper pools, slower runs, and otherwise undefined or smooth water areas.

Riffles are so important to fly fishers – especially if they are going after to trout and steelhead – because of the aquatic life they are able to support. Many aquatic insects spend much of their life cycles enjoying the cool, oxygen rich environment a riffle provides. A riffle’s shallow water also offers these insects and the plants on which they feed all the sunlight necessary for them to thrive.

So let’s stress this again: learn to read the water when you are fly fishing, because it greatly improves your changes of a highly successful day’s sport.

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