While a cute title, the pillow we’re talking about is a pillow of water backed up due to some form of vegetation growing anchored out of the bank. Willows are very common water-loving vegetation and thrive along streams.
Finding trout near willows that are anchored to stream banks requires you to understand the water dynamic and movement about the willow. The first key is that it is tied to the bank of the stream, which provides us definition and limitations to potential trout holding water.
Willows and other shrubs tend to have a collection of branches through the water and those have leaves that act as a spider web in collecting anything floating on or in the water. Over time, weeds, grasses, leaves, needles, and other material collects and a dam of organic material is created. This results in water backing up and stalling in a small area just upstream, called a pillow. And any time you have a pocket of calm water that is shroud with overhead cover near deeper, woody debris laden escape cover, and you will find a large trout. That’s prime holding water. Let’s have a look.