Understanding how moving water shapes the stream channel will improve your chances of finding trout. In most streams, the current creates a Riffle-Run-Pool pattern that repeats itself over and over. A deep pool may hold a big Brown trout, but Rainbows and smaller Browns are likely found in Runs. Riffles are where you will find small trout during the day and larger trout crowding in during morning and evening feeding periods.

Riffles have a fast current and shallow water. This gives way to a bottom of gravel, rubble or boulder. Riffles are morning and evening feeding areas. Trout usually spawn just above or below riffles, but may spawn right in them.


Runs are deeper than riffles with a moderate current and are found between riffles and pools. The bottom is made up of small gravel or rubble. These hot spots hold trout almost anytime, if there is sufficient cover.


Pools are smoother and look darker than the other areas of the stream. The deep, slow-moving water generally has a bottom of silt, sand, or small gravel. Pools make good midday resting spots for medium to large trout.