As I’ve developed into an fly angler it’s occurred to me that I have a preference to where I fish that keeps me coming back again and again. We all have that one spot we go where we consistently catch fish and rarely get skunked.
I’d say I have a small stream addiction because as I make plans to fish for the day I have a battle going on in my head about where I should go. Lake or stream today? Of course I’m making this decision based on the time of year and it’s a beautiful hot midsummer day, yep I’m hitting up my favourite stream!
You can spend an entire day walking and wading in the summer months but there is no cure for that “around the bend syndrome” especially when living in the east kootenays with many of these small streams connecting to well-known rivers like the Elk, St.Mary’s and the Kootenay. Not to mention you get all trout species as well like rainbow, cutthroat, bull, brooke, and cutbows. There is a great possibility of catching them all in one day!
Here are a few reasons I recommend small streams.
#1 it can be challenging the waters are shallow and crystal clear and you have to sneak up and present the fly just right, plus there is nothing like the visual you get of watching that fish inhale your fly.
#2 it can be easy and I know you’re thinking that contradicts the previous reason but some days you can do no wrong. You can’t seem to cast at all today but the fish take your fly anyways or you trip near the water’s edge and they don’t spook at all. Treasure a day like that.
#3 the water is low providing great access and plenty of places to cross and with all the walking around you are doing it’s easy to come across wildlife and some amazing scenery don’t forget to take pictures.
So now that I have listed some reasons why small streams are great to fish here are some things to bring on your next outing. The flies you need are very similar to what you would carrying around anyways when you are fishing the bigger rivers. I personally like to have adams, hoppers, mayfly, caddis, ants, and wasp/bee patterns.
So now where do we find fish in a small stream? Some places get overlooked like a fast run they are in there but hiding behind or in front of bigger rock. Seams are the obvious choice and anywhere foam gets trapped like a backeddy. A tree or log in the water and large boulders, undercut banks and lastly the “honey hole” which is a deep spot where danger from above can’t get them. From my experience the majority of larger fish seem to like deep holes the best.
As I have fished these streams I have had moments where I had to think outside the box. I have had to change the way I did things like getting out of the mentality that I was going to use dry flies all day and go with something a little unorthodox like using a small split shot on a hopper pattern so it was no longer floating on the surface and that method caught my biggest fish of the day!
Getting out to your small stream is lots of fun and creates great memories but I just want to remind you to be safe out there. It can be slippery and falling is no fun no matter how deep the water is, get the proper footwear if possible. Coming across wildlife will happen and some are not friendly so bring a friend or family member along plus it’s always more fun fishing with company.
Good luck and catch a big one on your small stream!!