Upon this mountain side in a picturesque setting where only a few sunbeams filter through the branches, the tiny watercourse sings its lyrical song.
It is a primitive area amid silent solitude, out of sight and sound of neon and cable channels.
It is a hungry little stream wherein the ravenous natives take a fly boldly, for the trout is a wary animal, extremely suspicious of the human shadow, and when autumn arrives, he is well fed.
There is no creature of the wild more difficult to approach or more ready to take alarm.
Along your way to fishing in big mountain reservoirs and wide-angled, rocky watercourses you probably passed over some mighty good fishing water.
Now is the time to head back and recheck these little streams.
You won’t find game fish in all of them, but you are in for a big surprise in what they do hold.
Even if we don’t get into trout water, the little streams look promising for a starter. So, let’s stop here. Too small? Too much brush?
Well, it’s a modest stream, true, and not easy to get to, and that’s why it isn’t fished much.
On the grassy banks of the far side may be a bronze-colored rock bass or eager redeye. Around that brush near the bend, slipping through the fast water beyond the sandbar there could be an 11-inch smallmouth—waiting for someone to take time to stop and give it a try.
One thing about fishing the small-scale and pocket-sized streamsis that you should try all possible spots—never miss a section just because it might not look “fishy.”
A cast or two into every part of stream will pay off before long.
On the other hand, don’t waste time on the flat, shallow bars—say less than four inches deep. The smaller the stream the more careful you must be.
You practically must stalk your quarry, making sure of every step.
Of course, it helps to know the streams so that you are ready for the hot spots rather than walk upon a good-size fish unexpectedly.
Check the places of shelter—big rocks, brush, fallen trees, undercut banks—fish those thoughtfully and carefully.
An incoming tributary stream—even a tiny one—may produce a scrubbed or windswept hole that holds a good quality fish.
Under bridges seem to be favored spots of little streams. Shade and cover of any kind usually hide a fish or two.
Ready to hit them? Your 9-foot fly rod is a little out of place here, and if you can rustle up a rod of 6 or 7 feet you’re ahead of the game.
Believe it or not, a light spinning rod with a fly reel set at the end of a long handle works well.
Match this rod, or any light 7–footer, with a C or D level line(HDH taper is fine if you want to spend the extra few dollars)and the terminal tackle is ready.
By the way, a light rod is best balanced with a small, single-action fly reel, rather than a heavy automatic.
Since we don’t expect a four pounder to rush out and gobble up our lure, a light leader is much preferred. This means something in the 2- or 3-pound test tippet tied to a short section of 5- or 6-pound test which is in turn fastened to a length of an 8 to 10 test material, making a good, tapered leader some 6 feet long.
Remember our casts will be relatively short, hence no 8-to-10-foot leaders.
Looking over the lure selection we find the field wide open.
Since we’re on foothill creeks, and fast water is at hand, a small streamer may be ideal.
A tiny wobbling spoon also may get a response if you can hold it off the snaggy bottom and yet fish it slowly.
Always good is a nymph of some sort on a number 10 hook. Almost all stream fish feed heavily on insect larvae hence the successful little nymph.
Many times, little streams need live bait treatment, though, and you’d be amazed by the abundance of bait items just waiting to be picked up from the stream bottom, along the bank and even up in the surrounding fields and woods.
Earthworms are mighty hard to beat and usually a good supply can be found in the damp earth of the stream banks.
Tiny crayfish scurrying around the rocks and stream floor are top baits for all stream fishes. And don’t overlook grubs, crickets, grasshoppers, and beetles. Float the bait as naturally as possible.
The secret of bait fishing is a small hook (and a sharp one) combined with one tiny split-shot (or none).
The thrill of battling a four pounder is replaced by the satisfaction of outwitting a 6 ouncer in small waters.
The little streams are our “forgotten” waters and lots of fun is being passed up when we whiz by these backyard fishing holes. Perhaps it’s time to give them another try.
Top o’ the morning!