Skip to main content

Current Seams

Current Seams

My favorite riffle lies are the current seams created by junctures of fast and slow flows. Here the fish enjoy the best of both worlds: a cushioned lie with food drifting and depositing at its front door. Fish can rest in these seams and dart out into the adjacent riffle to capture prey and return back to rest in the seam. Current seams are formed by the nature of current flow. Usually the middle of a riffle contains the fastest flow with its edges having slower flows due to friction with the bank and the stream bed obstacles. A stream channels curvature redirects its heaviest flow away from the remainder of the stream creating current seams. In addition, a riffles surface reflects its stream bed contours. Riffles vary widely in both depth and speed resulting in a multitude of current seams which provide desired fish habitat.

A riffles broken surface affords an overhead canopy which obstructs the vision of birds of prey. In this way riffles create protective cover.

The current velocity increases as the stream bed narrows; likewise, wide riffles have slower velocities.

A riffles depth and speed play a role in its fish holding capability. Some are just too fast and deep for fish to hold in; therefore, look for the moderate and slower riffles to hold fish. Look for fish just above or below a basketball sized rock which creates a cushioned lie just right for fish.

The fastest current is at the surface of the water and it progressively slows down as it reaches its stream bed. The bottom obstructions further decrease the current speed, making favorable conditions for aquatic life.

At times when insects are hatching, fish migrate to these riffle areas to actively feed. Prior to hatching on the surface, emerging insects are active and exposed next to the stream bed.

Sunlight affects fish activities. A bright overhead sun can illuminate a riffle enough so that birds of prey can spot and sweep down upon fish. This alarms the fish and they avoid these shallows during bright light conditions. During low light periods fish migrate back to these shallow areas to feed in safety. My favorite conditions are overcast days in which fish feel safe and stay in the shallow riffles feeding throughout the day.

Fall, winter, and spring sunlight hits at a lowered angle and doesnt illuminate the water as well as a high angled summer sun. This causes fish to hold longer in the riffles during the off season.

A spring creeks feeding lies can be just about anywhere that there is an abundance of rooted aquatic plants. Perhaps the best lies are submerged plants because they produce an abundance of insects. Plants act like rocks in a freestones riffle by cushioning the currents flow. Rarely will you encounter extensive weed beds in waters too swift for fish to hold. Look for weed beds and fish will be close by, especially during an insect hatch.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Current Seams." Fly Fishing: The Lifetime Sport. . 20 Aug. 2019 <>.

"Current Seams." Fly Fishing: The Lifetime Sport. . (August 20, 2019).

"Current Seams." Fly Fishing: The Lifetime Sport. . Retrieved August 20, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.