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Small Stream Satisfaction


Our great adventure of fly fishing is awesome in the fact that it is not just one great adventure. That’s the beauty and the “life-long learning” aspect of it.  Sometimes you want to chase the slabs, the hawgs that get all the Facebook likes and Instagram love.  But maybe sometimes you want a little something different.  And when I say little, I mean small – as in small stream satisfaction by fishing some of our backcountry creeks and streams.


My wife and I have fished one local small stream, about a 90-minute drive from our house and then another 45 minute walk to start fishing, probably a dozen times.  Who spends over two hours of drive-hike time to go after six- and eight-inch fish? We do.  And, since the total number of folks we have run into at this stream in those twelve times is fewer than the number of people fishing the cable hole on any Saturday, we think it’s worth the drive!


This past week, we headed up to see if the little guys would eat some Amy’s Ants.  As usual, they didn’t disappoint.  Jannetta fished with her 3 weight, and for a little change of pace, I broke out the 12’ Tenkara Iwana.  I know, I know.  I’ve heard it before.  Fad. Niche fishing.  Isn’t that cute. Etc.  Let me just say: it was a blast fishing with it. I know anglers who have their streamer rod, and a rod devoted to their nymph rig;  I may devote my Tenkara to my small stream fishing.  (And maybe not – I love my 3-weight, too.)  


The point is: why not switch things up some?   


The flows this week at our destination creek were low, so that increased the challenge from previous times out (sometimes Mother Nature switches things up for you!).  Fish were hanging out in the deeper pools and we had some good luck in riffles tailing out of those holes.  Fish were skitterish and easily spooked, so the stealth factor was even more necessary than usual.  (Let me also say – being stealthy is challenge enough when you wear a size 16 Simms boot and have knees that don’t bend like they once did.)


Fishing small streams demands that you have a stealth approach, make a precise cast, and work the water pretty fast.  Once fish are spooked or once you have caught a couple of fish in a productive hole, it’s time to move upstream.  



Although Jannetta would fish small streams every time out, I like to change up my fly fishing adventure. She likes the no crowds, the scenic beauty, and the beauty of the small brook trout we catch in some of our destination creeks. I like to hit the small streams – well, for exactly the same reason. We’ve fished some incredibly beautiful spots from May through October that feeds our soul.  Because it’s not just about the fish.  


Jannetta hits a hole in a small stream.  The reward is not in the size

but the beautiful color in this brook trout.  Oh, and that scenery!


I think of it this way – I love to go to Red Rocks for a concert, but I am not going to limit my concert-going to just Red Rocks.  I love fishing the Dream, Deckers, the Gunnison – but I am going to pursue my small stream satisfaction by hitting those smaller waters that offer something more, something bigger, than chasing bigger fish.


Want to learn more about small stream and backcountry fishing?  Join Angler’s Covey co-owner, David Leinweber, for his two-part class. Thursday, May 17 is a classroom session at the shop followed up with a trip to a small stream on Saturday, May 19. Get all the details here.  


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