How To Find Good Fishing Spots In A River

Fishing a river isn’t the most complex thing to do and a lot of the time you can simply cast and catch something. If you want to increase your chances of catching a bunch of fish you have to know what you’re looking for. In this post, I’m going to be talking about how to find good fishing spots in your local river.

There are basically three different things you’ll want to look out for. If you want to catch the most fish you’ll need to look for changes in current, changes in depth, and areas near a lot of cover. If you can find a mix of all three then you’ll most likely have a goldmine on your hands. I’ll also be talking about how to use Google Maps to find these spots before you go.

I like doing the research beforehand to find 3-5 different spots I could check out. A lot of the time, you can see changes in current/depth and also spots that have fallen trees and other areas the fish might be hiding in. If I’m going to get up early, spend hours out there, and end up wet then I better be sure I’m going to catch something. Let’s jump into each of them.

Changes In Current

One of the best things to look for in a river is a change in current. It’s pretty simple to see but all you’re looking for is where fast-moving water meets slow or still water. Not all rivers are going to have rapids but generally, they have some sort of movement.

The reason you want to find areas like this is that fish like to sit in the still water and ambush things the current bring them. They’ll sit and wait in the still water and wait for fish, worms, insects, or whatever else might come floating by. That’s why you want to be in areas like this.

It could also be where fast-moving water runs into an obstacle. If you have moving water that runs into a big rock or fallen tree, that could also be a great spot to fish. A lot of fish will be hiding out in areas like this to stay out of the rapids.

Changes In Depth

The next thing you’ll want to keep a lookout for is a change in depth. Anytime you can find a spot where there’s a quick dropoff, there’s a good chance big fish will be there. It doesn’t have to be a huge depth change and even 3-4 feet can make a big difference.

It’s pretty much the same concept as the current. A lot of predator fish will be waiting in this area for smaller fish to swim by. If two fish are at the same depth it’ll be really easy for the baitfish to spot the other and make a run for it. The depth change is a much better ambush strategy for the fish and that’s why you want to be fishing there.

I’ve always had the best luck casting right along the edge of the dropoff. You can experiment with going a bit deeper or shallower but as long as you’re in this area, you should have no problem catching something.

Areas Near Cover

The final thing you want to look for is cover in the water where fish might be hiding. These can be big rocks, fallen trees, weeds, bushes, or anything else like it. This also works the same if you’re fishing in lakes and ponds.

Fish like to sit in these areas to rest, keep away from the faster-moving water, spawn, or stay cool if it’s in the summer. This is probably my favorite thing to look for and the best thing about it is that you can spot it on Google Maps before you go out.

You could also look for docks, wood pilings, boats, bridges, or pinch off points. When you can find a spot that narrows it’ll pinch them off and there should be a bunch of fish piled up in that area.

Use Google Maps

If you can find a spot that has all 3 of those things you’ll most likely have a winner. What I always like to do beforehand is look at Google Maps to find 3-5 potential spots I want to try. This saves a lot of time scouting so I can spend more fishing.

A lot of the time you can actually see current changes, dropoff points, and objects in the water fishing might be hiding in. All you have to do is pull up Google Maps and take a look at your river.

The most important thing for me is finding cover. Scan the bank of the river and look for trees and log piles along the bank. You can also look for bridges that go over the river or pinch off points where the river narrows. Those are where you should be spending the majority of your time fishing.

The other thing you’ll need to make sure of is that you can actually access that spot (unless you have a boat). Make sure there’s a road so you can get fairly close. Or double-check to see if you can walk to it. There’s a lot of spots that look really good but getting to them is another story.

Here’s a really good spot with a bridge and a log pile.

Here’s another accessible spot that has a bunch of fallen down trees.

Here’s a pinch-off point where a lot of fish will be sitting.

These are three different areas along the same river that I’d probably want to check out. They’re all accessible, they all have good conditions, and they all had fish. Save yourself some time and do the research beforehand.

Until next time, happy fishing. If you want to catch more fish, use more hooks.

Let me know your thoughts and any questions you have. Like this article? Feel free to give it a share!

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Jon W

I'm Jon and welcome to Backcountry Cariboo. We're just average outdoorsmen sharing our fishing and outdoor adventures and what we're learning along the way. Be sure to check out the website for some epic fishing tips and the YouTube channel for our latest catches.

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