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fishing very small streams

Joined:
2010/8/13 20:22
From Ephrata, PA
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Hello,
I was wondering if any one could give some tips on fishing very small cold streams. The fish are rainbows and bookies.
I am a beginner, and any help would be appreciated.

Thanks

Posted on: 2010/9/15 8:53


Re: fishing very small streams

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2006/9/11 13:05
From Lewistown
Posts: 3629
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I used to fish brookies exclusively and now fish in Fall, Winter and early Spring.

The biggest thing that helped me was experience.

I used to hook 5 and land 2 in about a 4 hour period (and I thought it was awesome). Now it's nothing to hook into 50+ and land 40+.

Those fish were always there, I just spooked them.

Learning where they like to hide and how to present your fly to them without being seen is key; they will hit it on the first time.

Do not fish a hole more than 3 good cast, or 5 total. The fish were either spooked or not there.

I prefer flies that I can see in the water as well. In the Winter you have to get the fly down. 1 fly is sufficient and multiple rigs will just get tangled with each other or the brush.

I can go on all day, but basically find what works for you and get a lot of practice.

Also prospect to find trout. this means spook a couple holes to see where the fish are hiding. Most of the fish will be in similar locals. This changes from day to day and from hour to hour or stretch to stretch sometimes.

Posted on: 2010/9/15 10:18
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Re: fishing very small streams
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2006/9/11 8:26
From Chester County
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Quote:


MKern wrote:
Those fish were always there, I just spooked them.




LOL.........yup.

Here an article on the basics of small stream fishing that I posted before. The author is from the UK, but trout are trout:

http://www.gwentanglingsociety.co.uk/articles/articles

Posted on: 2010/9/15 10:56


Re: fishing very small streams

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2008/10/8 0:36
From Florida
Posts: 281
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I commend you for taking on the challange of fishing small streams as a beginner . I'm still pretty new to the FF game, and not an expert by any means. I'm probably at the "5-2" stage MKern talked about. However, I'll share what I have learned about fishing small streams so far...

Fish in small streams are not (usually) selective. High floating dry fly patterns that are easy to see are usually best. Many of the standard attractor dry fly patterns work well; I like stimulators, sizes #10 - #14. However, don't be afraid to switch fly patterns and/or size if you are not getting hits.

I like the idea of spooking the 1st few pools; in doing so, you can get a feel for types of cover that the fish prefer, as well as how careful your approach will need to be. Move slowly, stay low, and be aware of where your shadow falls. Wear clothing to blend in, and hide behind bushes, large rocks, or other types of cover whenever you can. If you can't find cover to hide behind, find something to crouch in front of to break up your profile.

Learn how to roll cast well from odd angles and positions (a skill I'm still working on myself ). The bow-and-arrow cast is also good to learn, and will help in really tight cover. I have been using a 6'-7' leader (total length), with 3X tippet, as short leaders are easier to handle in tight cover. Since small stream fish tend not to be put off by dragging flies the way most trout are, longer/lighter tippets are not needed.

Pick your spots, and move often. I have found undercuts formed by tree roots at a stream's edge, the edges around submerged trees, and pool tailouts to be productive.

That all I can think of at the momment. Hope this helps; good luck

Posted on: 2010/9/15 12:16
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"When one feels the rush of cold water against his waders, and pits his skill against the natural instincts and wariness of the trout, everything else is lost in the sheer joy of the moment."

- Ray Bergman


Re: fishing very small streams

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2006/9/11 13:05
From Lewistown
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I want to add to the bow and arrow cast.

I almost never "cast" my fly. I usually hold it in my hand and roll my wrist over to have the fly land where I want it too. It's like a bow-arrow/roll cast/worm-dunk cast, but I've become pretty efficient with it and rarely miss a spot. So I can fish a pool in 2 casts and move on without wasting time.

Cover a lot of ground.


Also, I rarely rigg up my fly on the hook-keeper. I've found that it makes me lazy and I skip a lot of pools that I wouldn't have if my fly was in my hand. Obviously this could be dnagerous if you trip, but in hard terrain (scaling the sides of a mt. or jumping across the stream) I usually put the fly on hook-keeper.

Posted on: 2010/9/15 12:24
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Re: fishing very small streams

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2006/9/13 10:18
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Always fish small stream upstream, unless there is a spot you can see that can not be cast to from downstream, or if the water is colored. The rest depends on what you goal is.
If you're after numbers, you have to work a pool in a systematic manner, if you're after the biggest fish in each pool then figure out where the best lie is. The best lie always holds the biggest fish, unless it is getting into the spawning season, then the biggest fish may be at the tail-out of the pool. Now before everyone says... don't fish over spawning trout, I don't and when you see spawning activity you'll know what to look for. But quite often this time of the year the big fish re in the tails or along the sides in eddies waiting for either a mate or competitor. If the big guy spooks move on because he'll spook the whole pool.

Posted on: 2010/9/15 18:30
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Re: fishing very small streams

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2006/9/21 0:02
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Adding to the good info already given:

I wear drab colored clothing - and use canvas hip boots. Not much need for chest waders on small steams. And I don't have to worry about poking a hole in expensive breathable waders in tight brush.

As for flies - I use simple #14 crowe beetles almost exclusively. Trout gobble them everywhere I go

Posted on: 2010/9/16 0:22


Re: fishing very small streams

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2006/9/11 13:05
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I don't wear waders on streams that I can leap across or rock hop across. But water-proof boots are a must. Hiking with wet feet is no fun.

For larger stream I use old waders.

Also, carry minimal gear. I take a box of flies with about 18 in it and 4x and 5x tippet.
Occasionally I take a mini milti tool.

Some people swear by sungalsses but for me they just get in the way. Besides, once you prospect, you should have a really good idea where the fish are. Well, you should have a good idea where the fish are even without prospecting.

Posted on: 2010/9/16 8:27
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Re: fishing very small streams

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Your decision to fish small streams will pay off. I learned to cast on a big lake when I was younger; this year though I learned how to fly fish on small stream, and the decision has overall been very rewarding. It makes it much easier when you get to bigger water.

As far as waders go, I either wet wade, or use chest waders. I like chest wader incase I need to kneel. Shin deep water standing all the sudden becomes waist deep water kneeling, and your hip boots would be swamped.

Cover a lot of water. Once you do this a bunch you'll learn the 'hot spots' of your favorite streams and it will make fishing much more productive on your next trip.

Learn to side cast, and roll cast.

Be a ninja, in all aspects. Be sneaky, but also be VERY keen of your surroundings. Some wild small stream trout have the subtlest of rises.

Invest a good pair of glasses.

Pattern seems to be not as important as it might be else where, but size becomes a big deal. Sometimes I feel like anything over a size 18 is absolutely enormous on a small stream. The only exception is in early to mid spring where you can catch fish on hooks all the way down to a 10 sometimes.

Posted on: 2010/9/16 9:01


Re: fishing very small streams

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Also, watch your drift/drag. It might seem strange on a small stream, but the current is generally a lot less uniform then on something say Spring Creek or Salmon River. The un-uniformity makes drag a much bigger issue here. I switched from a 9ft to 12 ft leader and it seems to help some.

Posted on: 2010/9/16 9:05


Re: fishing very small streams

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From Bozeman
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Quote:

wsender wrote:
Also, watch your drift/drag. It might seem strange on a small stream, but the current is generally a lot less uniform then on something say Spring Creek or Salmon River. The un-uniformity makes drag a much bigger issue here. I switched from a 9ft to 12 ft leader and it seems to help some.


I'll disagree here, assuming we are talking about brook trout fishing in freestone streams, which is generally what people mean by "small stream" fly fishing.

Drag is inconsequential in most situations on these streams. In fact, I have often found drag helpful in getting strikes. The fish aren't going to be selective. They are in small, infertile streams, and are basically obligated to attack anything that resembles food. 2x tippet and short, stout leaders are the way to go IMO. 2x tippet because they are not line shy, and short leaders for the ability to punch casts through cover easily.

A small spring creek is a different story, but that's kind of a rarity around here, at least when compared to small freestoners.

Posted on: 2010/9/16 9:47


Re: fishing very small streams

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I've read this site a hundred times.

http://www.wildtroutstreams.com/

Posted on: 2010/9/16 12:25
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Re: fishing very small streams

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2006/9/9 11:22
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Quote:

jayL wrote:
Quote:

wsender wrote:
Also, watch your drift/drag. It might seem strange on a small stream, but the current is generally a lot less uniform then on something say Spring Creek or Salmon River. The un-uniformity makes drag a much bigger issue here. I switched from a 9ft to 12 ft leader and it seems to help some.


I'll disagree here, assuming we are talking about brook trout fishing in freestone streams, which is generally what people mean by "small stream" fly fishing.

Drag is inconsequential in most situations on these streams. In fact, I have often found drag helpful in getting strikes. The fish aren't going to be selective. They are in small, infertile streams, and are basically obligated to attack anything that resembles food. 2x tippet and short, stout leaders are the way to go IMO. 2x tippet because they are not line shy, and short leaders for the ability to punch casts through cover easily.

A small spring creek is a different story, but that's kind of a rarity around here, at least when compared to small freestoners.



I agree, the amount of fly line out beyond the tip guide is often at a premium on small streams. Adding a longer leader further reduces the length of fly line you are casting and can make for really frustrating casts.

12ft leaders are ridiculous for small streams. I rarely fish that long of a leader with midges or tricos on medium sized streams!

Kev

Posted on: 2010/9/17 7:04


Re: fishing very small streams

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I just don't switch my leader length, ever. I know how a 12ft leader with a 6x tippet feels and I know how to cast it. Changing it to make it shorter when fishing smaller streams to me is like putting the the baseball back on the tee. If you can handle a 12ft leader in a tight situation, it makes it that much easier when you need to open up in a larger situation.

Posted on: 2010/9/17 11:59


Re: fishing very small streams

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2007/1/2 11:55
From Bozeman
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Whatever works for you.

But my biggest concern is handicapping myself. A 12 foot leader is completely impractical on small, tight streams. When I say small streams, I picture areas where it's often difficult to stand up straight for long stretches. I can't imagine using a long leader there. Furthermore, it makes a bow and arrow cast impossible. I see very little similarity between small, tight stream fishing and fishing on bigger streams.

Posted on: 2010/9/17 12:09



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