Bypassed Water

Secret honey holes are often hard to access, but sometimes the best water is the closest to the parking lot.

The trail from a popular parking area at one of my favorite trout streams angles upstream and toward the river and provides good streamside access beginning a few hundred yards upstream. Many anglers start at the first big pool beside the trail. Others skip past the most heavily fished spots by continuing up the trail, which parallels the river for nearly three miles.

Recently, I’ve taken a different tact, and it has paid dividends. Instead of using the primary trail, I’ve followed a little fisherman’s path through the woods that leads directly to the river and meets it downstream of the first trailside pool. Each time, I’ve had that little section of river to myself and have seen substantially more trout there than in any upstream stretch.

The path through the woods is sufficiently trodden that I know it’s not my own secret spot, and it’s not some hard-to-reach hole that calls for penetrating dense woods or descending a steep bank. In fact, it’s easier access than the most popular route. I actually think most anglers skip past it because it seems too close and simple for a walk-in trout stream, and they assume they’ll find better stuff by walking farther.

To me this little river section is much like a cover-rich bank in a cove with a popular tournament ramp at the back of it. Every tree along the bank provides a potential holding area for oodles of fish that get released in that cove weekend after weekend, but most fishermen who launch at the ramp blow right past those fish because somehow, going somewhere else always seems better.

Boat rides and hikes can provide real advantages some days and can help you reach less-traveled waters, but they also can skip you past excellent opportunities that are underfoot and overlooked.

Check out my blog to keep up with fishing travels.

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