Anglers are, naturally, always on the lookout for aquatic environments that promote good fishing. In trackless ocean, this might mean a submerged seamount; in a backwater slough, it might be a tangle of underwater logs. A reliable hot spot the world over--and one of precious ecological value--is the river delta.
Deltas can be very productive places to fish because of their ecology. Deltas form when a river slows and drops sediment as it approaches its mouth in a lake or ocean. More rarely, deltas may result where rivers encounter low-lying valleys well away from their mouths, as in the Inner Niger Delta of West Africa. In an ocean delta, the mixing of freshwater from the river and saltwater from the marine environment promotes an ecologically rich cocktail of nutrients and habitats.
Types of Fish
As with other ecological frontiers, deltas attract many different kinds of animals. Some species like the totoaba of the Colorado River Delta use these brackish coastal areas as nursery grounds. Predominantly freshwater fish like alligator gars might venture into marine environments in deltas. Predatory fish like sharks and tarpon frequently cruise the river mouth to feast on the rich pickings.
Like anywhere else, fishing in deltas means aligning your techniques and tools with the local environment. Prawn fishermen in Tanzania's Rufiji Delta often employ nets anchored by mangrove stalks. Bass fishers in the San Joaquin River Delta contend with tule beds and fluctuating tides. Keep in mind that deltas are dynamic environments, so changing conditions are the norm.
Article Written By Ethan Schowalter-Hay
Ethan Schowalter-Hay is a writer and naturalist living in Oregon. He has written for the "Observer," the Bureau of Land Management and various online publishers. He holds a Bachelor of Science in wildlife ecology and a graduate certificate in geographic information systems from the University of Wisconsin.