Drop-Offs Are Trout Hot-Spots

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Hooked up fishing a drop off. Photo By: Louis Cahill

Adjacentjust before, after, lying near; neighboring

Drop-offs located adjacent to shallow water are trout magnets.

The slower moving water and cover found downstream of drop-offs are the two main reasons trout are drawn here. If you’re looking for super consistent water where you can almost always find trout, you should be searching out dropoffs on your streams and rivers where shallow water transitions into deeper water. The more significant (larger the area) the stretch of shallow water is, the more appeal the adjacent drop-offs will have over trout, especially when the shallow water upstream or downstream holds very little cover.

I regularly float over a long stretch of shallow unproductive water on my home tailwater. It’s about 200 yards long, calf deep at best, and it’s completely barren of any form of trout cover. The trout hate this section of the river because they’re sitting ducks to predators looking for an easy meal, and there’s nowhere for the trout to find refuge out of the excessive current. I’d say it’s a completely worthless piece of water on the river, but the fact is, it does serve a valuable purpose for us fly anglers. This long stretch of desolate trout water, makes it’s neighboring drop-offs and deep water extremely attractive to trout, and in turn, trout will usually congregate in substantial numbers. To put it more clearly, it’s the first available holding water for trout to set up shop immediately before or after dead water.

Just the other day, as my drift boat moved past that very stretch of barren shallow water, and we eased over the drop-off into the deeper water, my client hooked and landed a beautiful 20″ male rainbow trout. The fish put on a wonderful acrobatic aerial show with a series of running jumps out of the water. The trophy couldn’t have shown up at a better time, because I had just explained why the adjacent drop-off and deepwater was such a hot-spot for trout.

Have you experienced similar success fishing Drop-offs? We welcome your two cents. 

Keep it Reel,

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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3 thoughts on “Drop-Offs Are Trout Hot-Spots

  1. right on! the shallows are food factories, and bugs/minnows/crustacea are constantly “going over the edge”, where they become dinner for waiting fish.

  2. On our creek there is about a 125 foot flat stretch,around 12-18 inches deep during normal flow, then the creek narrows into a chute to the next section. Right before the chute is a hole about 6 foot wide and 3-4 deep. It is rare that I don’t pull at least 1 from this hole.

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