New River – Part Three – The Run
As I stated in part one of the New River series, a run usually will follow a riffle area. A run is usually deeper water than a riffle but still has a good flow to it. This is where the bigger fish will lie while waiting for the aquatic insects offered from the riffles. It’s a great place for the big fish for it offers protection (depth), oxygen and food.
As always, I will observe the run before fishing it. I’ll sight fish first using polarized sun glasses and scanning the area. I’ll also look for rises which will help me locate the exact position of the fish. If I see neither then I’ll fish near the bottom. Swinging flies such as wooly buggers, stoneflies and mohair leeches or dead drifting flies such as nymphs, caddis or midges will be my preferred technique for the deep run. High sticking or euro nymphing can be very effective here too. When swinging larger flies, a sinking tip leader or sinking tip line can be the way to go to get your flies deep faster.
When dead drifting, I like to start fishing closer to my position and work outward towards the opposite shoreline. Fishing in “lanes” closer and working outward helps me to cover all the area until moving downstream. If swinging flies, I’ll make 3-4 casts then take a few steps downstream and cast again working the entire run. If I see any rises for emergers, I will try to swing my flies such as soft hackles or nymph patterns so that my fly passes in front of or very near the rise. Big flies or small flies can all be effective here, many times depending on the time of year and hatches.
Working in front and behind boulders can be very effective. Root wads, deep undercut banks and timber can hide big fish also. Another great spot to fish is at the beginning of the run where the riffle leads into the run and causes a deep drop in depth. The “hungry” fish will seem to sit here and be the first to pick off the insects coming down from the riffle. Although the riffle is loaded with food and oxygen, the run is my favorite spot to hunt big fish. So never pass up a run!