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Seldomseen 07-23-2007 01:53 PM

Small Stream Tip Thread
Please add a tip here for fishing small streams. Does not matter how trite it is, I am sure someone has not heard it before.

I'll start with an often overlooked spot:


Fishing the foam line is no secret for sure. In bigger rivers and even large pools in small streams there can be a sharp contrast between open water and a foam-covered eddy.

Yet, often there are thinner foam lines even in riffles and runs. Look for them. The foam pieces may not be contiguous - even spaced a foot or more apart. If you see a consistent "line" of these chunks like aircraft on final approach on a Sunday Evening at Sky Harbor, fish it. You might be surprised how skinny of water trout will hang in, or at least watch, if there is a thin foam line.

Westy 07-23-2007 02:06 PM

The approach - walk softly and slowly, watching your shadow as well. Fish are often at the bank side, even in shallow water. Inspect the water for a couple minutes before making a cast.

Sinking line - learned this from the man above, thanks. I used to always fish small streams with a floating line, still do frequently but the sinking line is very effective especially in some of the deep canyon streams of AZ.

sanjuanshuffle 07-23-2007 02:08 PM

fish every part of the stream. a lot of people overlook not-so-obvious spots on small streams. my rule is: if it is a pocket the size of a shoe box throw your fly in it; even if you only get a second or two for the drift. also, lean how to effectively roll cast and always watch your back cast.

WMF 07-23-2007 02:15 PM

Stay low, approach slow, cast once. Spooking the fish is the biggest issue I have had on little water. Even if the cast is off, let it drift to completion, like seldom said you might be surprised... Watch for snakes!

mjl 07-23-2007 02:23 PM

Small stream fish are generally aggresive and opportunistic. Try not to overthink hatches and whatnot. Keep it simple.

Bigger is sometimes better. Especially in plunge pools and roiling water, you may just need a big flashy fly to catch a fish's attention amidst all the turmoil. I can think of a couple instances when a smaller dry just didn't cut it, but the second I put on a big attractor, the fish were competing for the fly. The same thing applies for sub-surface offerings. Try ripping a streamer past a deep cut bank instead of offering a less interesting nymph rig.

Sometimes a sunken (and retrieved) dry fly is just as effective or more effective than the same thing on the surface. If the fish are getting a bit cautious in a big pool where you've already taken one or two, try a sunken ant or better yet, twitch a hopper through the depths.

rdf1212 07-23-2007 02:33 PM

I agree with micah about the bigger sometimes is better. A size 12 or 14 copper john will do wonders compared to a 18 in some situations

dbltea 07-23-2007 02:55 PM

Don't forget the split shot! I don't know how many times I will fish stretch of water I just know holds fish and nothing ...but then add a small split shot and the fly hits the target zone on!

CHIEF 07-23-2007 03:02 PM

Look for cut banks....and have plenty of soft hackle flies......


Dub 07-23-2007 03:10 PM

Stealth, stealth, stealth....if you can see the fish before he sees have a much better chance of hooking up.


TBone 07-23-2007 03:29 PM

Gotta love ants and small hoppers on small streams during the summer....and stay really low.

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