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Fly-fishing for Wild Trout

2009/8/12 11:55
From chester county
Posts: 53
This is a topic that comes up frequently, so figured some of you guys could probably repost here.

On small streams with wild trout, what are the best patterns? How do you approach the fish? Do you use lighter lines? Anything else that is important to remember on wild trout streams?

I have a good understanding of how to fish wilds but I think this is a good topic for others who may not. I'd add some info but I'm heading out for some wild browns in a little bit

Posted on: 2010/3/20 9:03

Re: Fly-fishing for Wild Trout
2006/9/9 17:32
From Gettysburg
Posts: 439
Beginners often find that when they fish streams populated by wild trout that it's significantly more difficult to catch fish (truth is - this never changes regardless of one's skill level). However, the question of how to fish for wild trout is really too broad for basic answers. Your expectation that one needs a more careful approach is usually true. As for flies, this will vary from stream to stream but the flies I use on small wild trout streams doesn't vary much from what I'd use elsewhere. I will suggest, when folks discuss fishing small wild trout streams here in PA, they're usually imagining a freestone stream in a mountainous area populated by brook or brown trout. This is, in fact, what most of our wild streams resemble. As a general rule, I find catching small wild brown trout in mountain streams considerably more difficult than brook trout. Brooks tend to be less selective. Both require a stealthy approach to the water. Use trees and cover to your advantage. I'd also suggest that beginners will likely have more success fishing small streams in an upstream direction.

Posted on: 2010/3/20 10:01

Real or memorex?

2007/4/25 10:02
Posts: 837
That's cool I guess.

More power to'em but when I was a new fly fisher I probably did'nt know nor care for wild vs. stocked. But maybe their old spin dudes evolving and already know the dealio. Me, I just wanted something on the end of the line.

Times have changed, hah. Now I really only care to fish for wild trout. I won't quibble too much since I live in a wild trout wasteland.

Posted on: 2010/3/20 10:32
I flyfish because I enjoy it.

Re: Fly-fishing for Wild Trout

2009/7/29 10:25
Posts: 256
Wild brookies are often in food-poor streams, and therefore much less finicky about flies, so easier to catch. The trick is to find and reach the good stream sections for the brookies, so Landis' Trout Streams of PA, which list many small wild trout streams, is a great help.

Posted on: 2010/3/20 10:34

Re: Fly-fishing for Wild Trout

2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
Posts: 2370
Yeah, it is a broad question.

Small, freestone mountain streams: Mostly small brookies but some have some browns as well. They aren't picky. For dries, parachute adams, humpies, stimulators, wulffs. Doesn't matter really, the important things are that they float high, don't waterlog, and you can see them. You are not looking for naturally rising fish here, you rarely see that. But if the water is warmer, just prospecting with dries over fishy looking water can be very effective, perhaps moreso than any other method IMO. A flashy nymph will be effective but more difficult to fish at distance, but certainly useful for early season when they won't rise to a dry real well, but typically higher water allows you to get a bit closer. Small streamers are also effective, and I tend to tie one on in those big, deep pools. I don't go for light line weights and tippets, these fish aren't line shy, or even all that drag shy. They are people shy, so the name of the game is distance. Keep low, and cast from as far away as possible. Casting in often brushy areas, and snagging plenty of trees, to me this screams a heavier, faster action fly lines and relatively short, stout 3x or 4x tippets. The longer the tippet, the better, but you have to balance it against castability in thick areas. Cover water quickly, most of these fish will hit in the first cast or two unless you spook them first. Screwing up a hole and spooking it is very common even for the best fishermen, but not to worry, there's another hole just upstream. As far as locating fish, cover is the #1 priority, which could be depth, a root system, big boulders, etc.

Larger, more fertile trout streams: Mostly brown trout, but a few have some brookies or even rainbows. The equation changes considerably. Often these fish are fairly heavily pressured. They are less people shy, but much more drag shy, so they call for longer, finer tippets and a more delicate approach. They also have their choice of many bugs and "matching the hatch" can become much more important, subsurface, surface, or "in the film." Stick with more natural looking patterns, less flash. Perhaps the most important thing is timing, in the richer streams the fish are not as opportunistic and more creatures of routine, you want to try and meet them on their schedule and match that routine. Fish the water more slowly and deliberately, they won't move as far for a fly, and they will demand that perfect drift. When the water is cold, or if it browns up a bit, streamers to the banks can be mighty effective. You can typically expect to catch fewer fish on these streams, even though more are present. But the ones you do catch will average much larger, and there's a certain satisfaction to having "figured them out." Locating fish, cover is still important, but feeding lanes go way up in importance. Eddy's where bugs collect, current breaks, near bug factory riffles, etc.

Those are the extremes, and there exists everything in between as well. In my experience, the differences between streams are larger than the differences between species. A brookie in a fertile stream will act more like any trout in a fertile stream, and a brown in an infertile freestoner will act like a fish in an infertile stream.

Posted on: 2010/3/22 15:54

Re: Fly-fishing for Wild Trout

2009/1/10 22:48
Posts: 13
I go with dry flies. I have no problem catching browns even on dries. Attractor patterns work well. Browns are not really any more difficult than brookies. If anything I find brookies are harder to approach. Rainbows are a different story, they seem to be really dumb and you can get about three feet away from them without spooking them. They seem to blend in better though. I guess it varies from person to person and stream to stream.
tight lines!

Posted on: 2010/3/22 20:29

Re: Fly-fishing for Wild Trout

2006/12/13 9:28
From Other side of the tracks
Posts: 4118

PSUFishMenace wrote:
This is a topic that comes up frequently, so figured some of you guys could probably repost here.

On small streams with wild trout, what are the best patterns?

Not important. At least not in the small freestone streams I used to visit. you can catch trout on a piece of cigarette butt. i prefer dries, but will also use various nymphs and small streamers.

How do you approach the fish?

Very carefully. This is really the key to success. Be stealthy. Try to blend in with the surroundings.

Do you use lighter lines?

If you mean do I switch to a lighter line because they are wild trout, then the answer is no. I use the same gear as I do with the larger stocked streams. However, i do plan to use a 2 weight for the first time this year.

Anything else that is important to remember on wild trout streams?

Wade as little as possible on the small streams.

Use trees and rocks as cover. I mean, keep a tree between you and the spot where you think a trout is holding when approaching.

Don't be afraid to aproach a spot on your knees.

Watch out for those hemlock limbs?

Posted on: 2010/3/23 7:30
Hank Patterson for President.

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