Posts Tagged ‘fly fishing small streams


Fly Fishing: Small Sticks on Cricks

Several times a year, I find myself up logging roads toward upper drainages/tributaries of big rivers. I string up the 9′ to 9’6″ rod and set forth weaving my way, this way and that way, through the trees toward the waters edge. Once on the water, I scout the canopy and other over hanging growth to not only avoid hanging up the fly + tippet, but also to avoid smacking the rod tip.

The confines of a small stream quickly reveal the tangled web we weave when at first we use too big a stick on a small stream. Recently, I was privileged to review some DVD’s by Ed Herbst and in those DVD’s I noticed he was wielding short rods on narrow streams. He moved with ease, in stealth mode, and waved the little wand to delicately present his flies.

Now, this initially contradicts my impulse toward bigger waters, longer rods and more power. I have those rods and love them. But, those small streams are another enviro that beg the small stick. So, I invested in a couple Loomis rods, both 3 weights and shorter (7′ and 8′). For the last few years, I have used a 3 wt. (9′ St. Croix Legend) more and have handled some substantial trout on the 3 wt. These shorter rods have a softer, medium action and will most probably meet few fish beyond 14″….more like 6″ to 10″. If I do connect to a larger fish, it will be an epic story.

These are not rods for big rivers and big fish, which to my thinking would be potentially irresponsible if I am seeking a humane catch and release. These are sticks for little streams, the intimate confines and small flies. I am excited to use these on those private little escapes. Some of my best life time memories while fly fishing were on small streams.


Small Stream Solitude

SwittersB Found Signs of Life

SwittersB Found Signs of Life

Yes, others had been there. But, not today. Quiet for a Saturday. I took in the forest colors and sounds of the river. Then I quickly got into synch with the seams, rocks, ambush points and teased little rainbows to a Caddis Pupa pattern. Things worked. There one should be and it was. Not a lot of the tangles, hangups, snags and remarks associated with fishing interruptis. I fished well and had a pleasant day. No mosquitoes. Overcast day. A few PMD’s, Brown Drakes, Caddis fluttering about. The only slight bump was me stringing a 3wt. line onto what I thought was a 3wt. rod…nope. It was a 4/5 and it never felt quite right. Went back to p-u and put the correct rod with the reel…big improvement. Not such a bad caster after all. 


Inviting Bend~SwittersB

Inviting Bend~SwittersB

  Earlier today, I had enjoyed a post at Planet Trout, which depicted a hike up a small stream with big boulders and willing trout. It reminded me of my earlier years and primarily fly fishing small streams. Motivated, I headed out the door and was rewarded with solitude and a few tugs.  

I Met An Old Man Along The Way~SwittersB

I Met An Old Man Along The Way~SwittersB


Small Stream FFing (Never forget this centering experience)

A Treasure

A Treasure

Beautiful Brookie

Beautiful Brookie

Small stream fishing brings the kid out in me and lets my imagination run wild. My mind transports me to the early 19th century and I can see the settlers crossing the streams or the Abenaki tribes trekking through the woods and meadows with great old oaks and maple trees whispering about the history they have experienced.

It’s so easy to do when you have wild land surrounding you and no signs of civilization Very Happy

Pop on an elk hair caddis or golden stone dry and start picking pockets.

I have written before that I started my flyfishing with a Sears & Roebuck, Ted Williams rod and reel. My neighbor provided one fly, a tied down caddis. He and I fished a small Oregon stream, Silver Creek with cutt throat trout. It was a small stream, with cutts lurking beneath overhanging trees and near beaver damns. This was a wonderful lab to see the take, learn roll casting, make the side arm back casts, learn the pocket water. All this is transferable to big water. This is a great beginning for any ff’er or a respite from the intensity of big fish…big effort. 

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July 2020

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