The ability to read a river is an ever-developing skill. You learn more with each outing and hence hone your watercraft. However, as individuals, it is tempting to say that we all view a pool differently. Ask a group of fly-fishers to fish any given pool and it is likely that they’ll approach it in their own manner. Of course, water conditions, personal preferences and styles of fishing will have a bearing. But each will believe that they are tackling the run correctly. Which is arguably how it should be: the result of an individual’s skill and how each fisher wishes to outwit his quarry.
First, with regard to a spate river, what is a pool? Fellow AAPGA Iinstructor Glyn Freeman sums it up nicely: a pool is a step in the river’s course that can be likened to the rung on a ladder. Generally, the headwaters of many rivers have the steepest gradients, with each pool quite short and often punctuated by mini waterfalls or lively rapids, whereas lowland-river stretches are much flatter and pools may extend several hundred yards, subtly merging into one another. All pools have the same distinct features, consisting of an entry point, main body and exit point. But they come in all shapes and sizes with characteristics such as pocket water, boulders and back eddies.