Tips from a Little Birdie

I recently got some great tips regarding small stream/mountain trout fishing. As this is all new to me, I gladly welcome all advice I can get!  We’ll get back to that in a minute. 

First off, business: 
1. Fly Fishing Journal is hosting a their “Smolt of the Month” contest. Send in your pics of your tiniest trophies, and be entered to win a sweet water bottle, t-shirt, subscription to FFJ, and a sticker of some sort. I’ve entered a little guy I hauled in on my recent SNP trip
2. Mr. Owl Jones is holding a neat give-a-way. The premise is to draw a fellow blogger from a list provided. This could get interesting. I know we have some creative people out there. 
3. Mr. O.J. (no, not that “OJ.” Owl Jones), is also getting things ready for his big “Angling Across America” trip coordinated with Trout Unlimited and Outdoor Blogger Network’s Montana Giveaway. I think there is still time to get over there and see if you are on the route. If so, you can contact him and try to hook a brotha’ up by showing him some of your local fishing spots. 
Okay… Now to the tips.  Obviously, with most things fishing, personal preference plays a big role. That being said, I thought these were pretty great.  What do you think? Any invaluable tips you’ve learned that are worth sharing?

1. No bright colors, including white. CAMO is best. It seems like overkill, but why chance it. 

2. Use trees, rocks, whatever to hide behind when you can. 

3. Keep dry flies soaked in floatant. Too much is better than too little in these creeks. you want that fly to float high. ( I recommend Dave’s Bug Float.) ( D. Nash – keep false casts to a minimum!!)

4. Move slowly. Plan each attack with care. 

5. Fish the water you don’t think is deep enough to hold trout – esp. the water just in front of a tail-out. Browns love to hold there, just before the water spills over into the next pool or run. 

6. Fish in front of rocks in the stream, not just behind them. Trout will hold in front where there is a cushion of water to give them a break. 

7. Wear a watch. Know when the sun goes down. Always take extra water – NEVER, EVER drink from any stream, even if it looks crystal clear. (D. Nash – can you say Giardia? how about Beaver Fever?)

8. Use a small #16 Stimulator or tan/brown EHC 80% of the time. ( Sorry, that’s just me! haha )

9. Learn to bow-and-arrow cast and roll cast. It will keep you out of the trees and fishing more.

10. Don’t overlook “back eddies” where the water spins around and (sometimes) foam forms. 

11. Keep your casts short. Learn to high-stick. 

12. If dead drifting doesn’t work, dance the fly on the water. Move it. Skate it. Sometimes movement will trigger them to hit.

13. Cast OVER rocks when approaching a new pool if the current is going to give you “instant drag.” Casting over a rock will give you a few extra inches of drift if you do it right, and sometimes that’s all it takes. 
14. Don’t “mulligan” a cast. If you make a bad cast, and the fly drags….just let it fish out and drift down to you before picking up for a roll cast back into the run or pool. If you snatch the line back up and it sprays water, you might as well move on to the next run. 

15. 5 or 6 casts and move, move, move. No need to flog a small pool for 10 minutes. If they’re going to bite – 5 or 6 good casts will be enough. 

16. Fish near the roads. I think so much emphasis now is put on “getting away from the roads” that the sections of creek in the most obvious places are fished less than the stuff that’s a mile or less from the roads. 

As a fun game, why don’t you go back and watch the brookie video I previously posted and see how many of those rules I broke keeping in mind I edited out the bad stuff… You know what, I’ll save you the trouble. I thing I disregarded about all of them. Anything I did well was completely unintentional.

Thanks for the tips, Owl. What about you? Any advice you’ve learned the hard way?

Author: D Nash

Family. Fly fishing. Music.

7 thoughts on “Tips from a Little Birdie”

  1. Good advice…wish you would have posted this on Friday 🙂

    …i think that little brookie will give you a good shot at winning that contest…ha! good luck!


  2. Your tiny trout is smaller than any I've ever caught for sure. I won't even waste my time entering.
    I think I've learned a lot of stuff the hard way (the wrong way), but that's been part of the adventure for me.
    I think the only other piece of small stream advice that I will offer (that seems pretty obvious, but lots of first timer don't realize) is that a 9' 5 wt is entirely inappropriate… a 7' 3 wt is more like it… and a 6' 2 wt might be perfect.


  3. I remember looking at that pic and just thinking how pretty and magnificent such a tiny little creature can be. good luck and thanks for all the tips.
    My tip or advice would be to actually cast crouched down or kneeling whenever possible. Start fishing at the bottom of the hole first working your way up to the sweet spot last.

    Tight LInes.


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