River Fishing Tips & Techniques – Guide For Beginners

River fishing

River fishing can be very relaxing and comfortable but the main goal, of course, is a good catch. Whether you are a novice or experienced fisherman, it is important to know some fishing techniques that will help you succeed.

When fishing in the river, you should realize its nature. The rivers flow towards another river, lake, sea or ocean. So you need to take into consideration the area where the river flows, current, flow rates, banks, lodges, snags and many more factors. You should remember that the current is moving and you need to use specific equipment and methods to catch fish.

Depending on the river, you can find a variety of fish that inhabit there or just migrating in the specific season in order to reach the spot to spawn. River fishing also allows you to implement different techniques and you can fish from the bank, on the boat or by wading.

It is necessary to take into account that rivers in urban areas are a bit different in terms of clarity. That is because of water pollution that is more common in the city. Local fishing agencies usually release advisories for the specific rivers. You should also take into consideration that there are dams or water locks that help control the water flow. Such places are usually rich in large fish and increase your chances for a better catch.

With all these factors to consider, this guide for the river fishing tips and techniques will help you take your skills to the next level.

What should you know about the river?


River fishing requires some knowledge about the river where you are going to fish. So what should you take into account?


River fishing has a more rapid current that lake or dam fishing but at the same time, it differs from the sea and ocean fishing since the movement of the river is unidirectional.


The rate of flow changes as the river progresses. It depends on the depth, width, and other geological factors. Narrow areas will bottleneck the water and increase the speed of the current. Wide spots are more likely to reduce the speed. The river that flows through the landscape has faster current than the river that has lots of turns and twists. Such obstacles slow down the flow. But at the same time, rocks, falls and rises in the landscape make the water more turbulent and the lack of these factors make the river rather calm.

These factors will give you an understanding of the behavior of the river and you will better realize how to fish the specific fish in this area.

How to find fish?

How to find fish

When you go fishing to the specific area, you can look for the information in forums and websites or talk to local people and owners of fishing shops in the area. These people can give you the best advice regarding the best locations along the river, its depth and current, time of day or moon cycle when it is better to fish, what weather conditions and baits are the best for the fish in the area, and other useful advice.

Places where the fish rest and hide

Fish live in the environment where they constantly move. This means that fish expend a lot of energy. So it is more likely to find fish in the calm and slow moving areas. So you can look for the fish closer to the banks, in the areas with weeds and plants, the bottom of the river and other formations that slow down the current such as islands, backwaters, and logs.

Places where fish feed

Another place where you can catch the fish is where they feed. It can be around submerged trees and rocks since the food collects there in foam patches. If it is a large river, a lot of food usually passes over spillways, so you can also find there a plenty of fish. You can also watch the birds. They like feeding on the river and hover over areas of bait fish.

It is also great if you know the habits and behavior of the fish you are going to catch. So consider how far they like to move to feed. This will help you choose the best technique and strategy.

Weather conditions

It is also important to consider weather conditions in the fishing area. When the weather is warm, fish are more sluggish and slower. So when you find them, you should take into account this factor and use the specific technique.

If it is rainy, the raindrops can catch insects and fall on the surface of the river. Fish like such opportunity and come closer to the surface to feed. Another advantage of the raindrops is that when they fall, they don’t allow the fish to see what is going on above the water.

When it is windy, you can cast your bait further. So you can increase your chances to have a good catch.

River fishing tips and techniques

River fishing tips and techniques

In order to succeed in river fishing, you should take into consideration the above-mentioned tips and combine them with the following techniques.

Upstream fishing

This technique is the best one when the fish stay in the area where the current is slow and wait for the flow to bring the food for them. So the fish move upstream and don’t see you. You just need to cast the bait upstream in line with the area you want to catch the fish. It can be any place such as the bank of the river, fallen trees or submerged rocks in the middle of the river.

Downstream fishing

This technique is the least favorable for river fishing since fish can see you. You are also more likely to disturb fish when casting. You should also note that you will need a larger weight if the current is heavier. This is necessary to keep your bait closer to the bottom. However, the line is more likely to get snagged. When you use this technique, you have to cast slightly across the river; the end of your rod should stay low and retrieve only when your line is downstream.

It is also worth considering that with the increased turbulence of the river lots of sediment can stir up. As the result, lots of species of fish become more active and you can better see them.

Crosscurrent fishing

Crosscurrent fishing is the best fishing technique for the river since you can cover a big area while casting upstream when the current is slow and the bait goes downstream. This technique requires not just one cast but a few casts in order to adjust the bait for the distance and cover the area where you are fishing.


These are the main common tips and techniques for catching fish in the river. Of course, it is impossible to determine the best technique for all rivers since there are so many factors to consider and the conditions are different. But if you follow these tips and master the techniques, you will undoubtedly have success in fishing.

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