Dead water refers to wide expanses of shallow muddy stream bed areas that are void of rooted plants. This habitat lacks the food production ability of a riffle. Heavily silted streams commonly harbor large areas of dead water. This is why watershed deterioration is so devastating to a stream. The silt deposits inside the riffles and destroys their insect producing capacities. Dead waters also lack protective cover and are dangerous places for fish to hold. Most of the time dead waters lack fish. Occasionally wind blown insects may collect in these areas. Fish can migrate to them to feed upon accumulated dead or crippled insects. Although fish are overly alert and can be difficult
to approach. During large hatches of small mayflies and heavy spinner falls, the wind can accumulate these insects into dead waters.
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