Top 5 Tips For Small Stream Fly Fishing Success

Fly fishing a small stream or brook can be a daunting prospect if your have never fished one before. It can be a difficult challenge at times, but by keeping things simple you can catch lots of fish and really enjoy yourself! Take a read of these top tips for getting the most out of fly fishing a diminutive river.

A delightfull little trout brook

A delightful little trout brook only a few yards wide.

1. Scale down – there is no point heading down to a small stream 15 feet wide with a 10 foot 8 weight reservoir rod. I have seen this done many a time. Lets face it you need to scale down to suit your water. I would say a perfect all-round length for a smaller brook would be a 7’6 3/4 weight fly rod. Short enough to get under dense overhead tree cover, but with enough power to stop a bigger trout and push a fly into a breeze.

Scale your tackle right down - 7'6 3/4 weight Airflo streamtec rod

Scale your tackle right down – a 7’6 3/4 weight Airflo streamtec rod is ideal.

2. Watch your back cast – with small stream fishing the back cast is just as important as the front. Get into position and plan the path of both your forward and back casts. Consider your position in the river and anything that may get in the way, overhanging foliage, brambles etc. We all know what it is like when your fly goes into a tree branch just out of reach!

3. Move with stealth – Small stream trout get to a catchable size by being cautious. These fish are ultra sensitive. A clumsy footfall or bow wave from entering the water clumsily is sure to put all the fish down in each pool. So enter the water as quietly and softly as the terrain allows. Also don’t walk up to a pool along a high bank – plan your entry spot with the knowledge that trout face upstream.

Fishing a small trout stream

Fishing a small trout stream – move as quietly as you can!

4. Make your first cast count – OK the pressure is on, but it will be worth it! If you get your first cast right, if there is a fish in there the chances are it will nail the fly first chuck. So be ready for action. By the same measure don’t spend too much time in one pool – if nothing happens within 3/4 well presented casts then move on.

5. Keep fly choice simple – There is no need to make things complicated. Small stream trout are not picky when it comes to fishing flies. Changing the fly countless time will not get you more fish, its about presentation. So take general searching patterns. Dry flies such as parachute adams, klinkhammers, foam beetles and daddy long legs will do the job. For nymphs, simple flies such as copper johns, GRHE and pheasant tails will come in handy. My usual starting approach is a duo – a big dry fly acting as an indicator with a small nymph underneath tied directly to the bend of the hook. If fish keep slashing at the dry and miss it, take the nymph off.

The end result - a fine wild trout

The end result – a fine wild trout which took a nymph fished duo style.

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Ceri Thomas

About Ceri Thomas

Ceri Thomas is the online marketing manager at Airflo and Fishtec. An accomplished fly-fisher and predator angler with over two decades of experience, he can be found casting fly lines across Wales and beyond. Ceri also lends his expertise to several publications including Fly Fishing & Fly Tying magazine, Fulling Mill blog, Today’s Flyfisher, Eat Sleep Fish and more. A member of Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association, he is active in the public discourse surrounding environmental conservation. You can keep up with his fishing adventures on his Fly Fishing Wales blog and twitter account.