In past posts I have talked about suspended lateral margin habitat and submerged root cover. In the photo below, you can see two mature poplar trees growing right along the water’s edge. The photo reveals how roots from the trees grow right along the water’s edge, both upstream and downstream of the trunks. These roots make perfect trout habitat, especially for juvenile trout. The stability of the strong roots is a safe place for trout to hang out, especially during high flows, when there is a lot of wood floating down the stream.
Riffle areas, like the one shown below, are ideal habitats for juvenile trout and there is a really good food supply, hidden under the rocks. A good riffle to pool ratio is a good thing for a wild trout population, and the creek shown in the photo has plenty of both.
During higher flows, this reach of the creek is bordered by plenty of good current breaks and little nooks and crannies where trout can take refuge. The steep slope on the right hand side of the stream channel, is held together by a network of tree and willow roots, so stream bank stability is a huge factor in a healthy riparian zone.
The importance of good riparian habitat is under estimated on some creeks. As these creek loose their riparian growth, the trout slowly start to disappear. Remember that a healthy riparian zone helps to clean out the surface water run-off, by physical filtration and bio-filtration. So water quality is also at stake, when riparian growth vanishes from the stream banks of a trout stream.