Spin Fishing Fast-Moving Rivers: How To Successfully Catch More Fish

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Spin fishing in fast-moving rivers can raise the hair on the back of some anglers’ necks. The challenge of getting stuck, struggling to get your choice of bait in the ideal position and landing fish can deter even some of the most dedicated anglers. Thankfully, that leaves more fish for those willing to put in the effort. 

In this article, In this article lets learn: 

  • Where are the fish in fast currents?
  • What are the best ways to fish fast current? 
  • What to avoid when fishing in fast current?
  • Choosing the ideal spin fishing gear for fast-moving water

Where are the Fish in Fast Currents?

White water can be intimidating but find the slack water!

We all have had dozens of days on the water where you can’t seem to do anything to find fish. Whether it’s a river you’ve fished 100 times or the first time, there are always going to be days when nothing is working. It’s important to be able to discern if you’re not fishing where the fish live or if it’s truly an off day. 

When you’re looking to find fish in white water and intimidating water, you really don’t have to look that hard. The thing you have going for you is that fish can only live in a few places. They don’t want to fight a current if they don’t have to. They’ll do whatever they can to find slow-moving water that doesn’t move them around. 

The first thing to do when you approach fast-moving water is to look closely for any part of it that’s slack or minimally moving. You can almost guarantee that it’s going to have fish stacked up in it. These areas can be large and often in wider portions of the river. It may feel strange, but you’ll likely have to fish right along in front of you where the water is slow. 

Tip: The area of water close to the bank or shore is called “the margins” by many seasoned anglers.

Another area to look is behind large rocks or trees. These cause breaks in the water and another spot for fish to stay while they wait for food. They’ll wait and see food move by the slack water and dart out into the current and grab it. It’s also not uncommon for food to get sucked down in the slack water and make it easy for fish to feed. 

The final thing to do in fast-moving water is fish deep. If you’re unable to find slack water anywhere, then go to the bottom of the water column. It’s going to take time to get your weight figured out, but once you do, you’ll find fish.

The current is much less severe at the bottom of the river, so if fish can’t find anywhere else to go, that’s where the fish are likely to be. 

What Are The Ways to Fish Fast Current? 

Fishing fast current with a spinning rod is no easy task. If you’ve ever done it before, you understand how lines get tangled and lures get stuck quite often. There are ways, however, that you can get to the fish without too much trouble. 

The first thing to do is to not try and make a miracle cast. When starting to fish the water in front of you, keep it simple. The more current you have between you and your lure, the more trouble you’re going to have. Get as close to your preferred fishable water area as you can and make short casts at first. You’ll have more time in the best possible area and waste less time trying to get your bait or lure in the perfect place.

The next thing to understand is the depth at which you’re fishing. Too many anglers lose out on dozens of fish because they can’t get their lure to the proper part of the water column. There’s a fine line between not enough weight and too much weight. You don’t want your lure free-flowing in the current, but you also don’t want it stuck on the bottom. 

The ideal amount of weight is going to have your bait bounce along the bottom. As long as it’s moving, you’re in good shape. 

Another thing to focus on is giving your bait or lure more time to get to the proper depth. You’re likely going to have to cast much farther upstream than you would in a river with a normal flow rate. Give your bait time to get in the proper place! The strike zone can often be a few yards so you don’t want to lose out on any of that precious area. 

Don’t be afraid to switch up your bait. Since so much food is flowing downstream, fish have quite a few choices. 

If your bait isn’t working after a few casts, consider a few things:

First, make sure your bait is at the proper depth! As long as it is, you have the freedom to switch around your bait.

Adjust your fishing depth, go deeper and then shallower till you find the right sweet spot where the fish are.

Second, cast to a different distance, go short casts and see if there is any fish nearer to you. Then go long to the far bank if possible, or under trees and near weed beds.

Third, Try holding back your bait so it comes up in the water and then sinks back down again.

Fourth, try different baits.

Eventually, if the fish are feeding you will find them!

What to Avoid When Fishing a Fast Current? 

Do your best to avoid impatience. In fast water, you don’t have the opportunity to just sit and wait for something to take your bait. You’ll have to make numerous casts to get your bait in the right place, work different parts of the water and fish in difficult conditions.

Give yourself time to learn and understand the water! 

Next, avoid taking on too much water at a time. If you find a 10-yard section of slack water, then work it until you know there are no fish in it that are going to eat. Fish often need a perfect bait presentation and it takes time to accomplish this when the water is moving extremely fast. It’s an effort of patience, but you’ll be rewarded. 

Tip: When you arrive at the water, the fish are likely to get spooked. Let your bait or lure flow as far down the river as possible away from you.

Ideal Spin Fishing Gear for Fast Moving Water

Perhaps the most important part of your gear setup is your line. You’ll want to use a line that’s going to sink.

Monofilament line is a favorite choice for most anglers, but it has an extremely slow sink rate. Your bait and lure may not get to the bottom of the water column as fast as you need. 

If you use a fluorocarbon line, you’ll find that it not only sinks faster but also performs better. It’s smooth and won’t wear out as fast as a monofilament line would. 

The next thing to consider is your rod and reel setup. A 7’ to 9’ foot rod is going to work great for throwing lures in search of trout or other fish living in the river. If you’re hoping to float fish or bounce bait along the bottom, then you’ll want a 9′ to 13′ foot rod. A medium-light or medium model will have enough power and weight to land fish. It’ll also work well to make your longer casts. 

Many anglers love using ultralight models, but those will not be sufficient for fast currents. A 9’6” light or medium-light would be a wonderful option! 

It’s not a bad idea to use a fast action rod instead of a slow action. Fast action rods are going to work well in tougher conditions. They’re not as sensitive, but that’s not necessary for fishing in fast-moving water. You’ll get faster hook sets and make much longer casts using a fast action rod. 

Final Thoughts

Don’t make the mistake of passing by white water that may look challenging to fish. There are fish waiting to be caught, but it’s going to take a bit of discipline and creativity to land them.

If you’re able to pull fish out of these conditions, then you shouldn’t have trouble in too many scenarios. 

I hope this article was helpful, you can find out more by reading my articles on How to Fly fish in fast-moving waters and choosing the Ideal Freshwater Spinning Rod Weight And Action.

Daniel Mooers