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24. Get Creative With Your Casting

When you are walking up the bank — or the middle — of a small stream, and you see some bubbles floating through a riffle, or foaming behind a boulder, throw a couple casts in there. May they lead you to great success and enjoyment.

6. Fish A Dry-Dropper Rig

3. Keep Moving

I can tell you from personal experience that if you slam a take on a small stream trout, you will probably end up sending the poor little thing hurtling through the air at about Mach 4. And trust me, fish don’t like that. Join Fly Fishing Fix, Today! Between your shorter drifts, smaller pockets of water, and rapid-fire casting, there isn’t much time for your flies to sink. But whether you are exclusively nymphing, or you are fishing a dry-dropper rig, you need to get your nymphs down fast.

20. Hide

In general, you should plan to fish with 6X or even 7X if you want to maximize your success. On top of that, I recommend using fluorocarbon tippet. It is a little more expensive than regular monofilament, but it is much less visible in water. Small streams offer a lot of opportunities to cast from hidden locations. If you can crouch behind a bush on the riverside, or cast from behind a boulder in the middle of a river, you are much less likely to spook any fish.

9. Cast Behind Structure In The River

Fish use structure in a river to protect themselves from predators, and to avoid having to fight the current all day long. Then again, if you are planning to keep a couple fish — because small stream trout make for great eatin’ — then disregard this little tip. One of the best opportunities that small streams and creeks provide for anglers, is the ability to fish in solitude. And the further you are willing to hike, or drive, the smaller the crowds tend to get.

4. Make A Great First Cast

13. Pay Attention To Your Shadow

To the human eye, the difference between the varying sizes of tippet might not seem significant. But, to a small mountain stream trout, there is a stark difference. So, if you want to catch them, you need to use the smallest tippet you have. Your goal with high-sticking is to keep your drift short, get in as many casts as possible, and keep your fly line off the water. The high-stick method reduces your chances of disturbing any feeding fish with the hard slap of a sloppy cast; which is why it is so effective.

19. Blend In (Don’t Wear Bright Colors)

Casting can get a little tight when you are fly fishing a small stream. In fact, at times, you won’t even have any room for a back cast. So, you will need to figure out a different method for getting your flies into the feeding zone. The less you disturb your surroundings, the more likely you are to get into some fish. So, you might as well just take it off, and fish like our forefathers used to — indicator-less. The moment you take your eye off the ball, a fish will probably hit your fly, and you will miss the take. Ask just about any experienced angler, and they will back me up. If you want to catch fish in a small stream, you need to be as quiet as possible. And I’m not just talking about the volume of your voice, which should be no more than a whisper. You need to walk quietly as you approach the river, and wade gently through the water. If you’ve ever tried to pull a size 14 stimulator out of a 5” trout, you probably understand why you should crimp the barbs on your hooks. Small stream fish are beautiful, innocent, over-eager little rascals that like to show off and hit flies that are half their size.

21. Get Your Flies Down Quick

Long drifts increase your risk of snags and tangles, which can put a major damper on your day. So, reel in that extra line. You don’t need it. Take advantage of natural obstructions as often as you possibly can. It will result in success.

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Everything happens quickly on small streams. Your cast is quick, your drift is quick, and fish make quick-decisions. At minimum, you should get good at a roll cast, but if you want to get really advanced, you could try the bow and arrow cast. These are both great techniques for getting your fly into tight spaces, and they reduce your risk of snags and tangles. So, how do you get your flies to sink faster? Well, it’s easy. If you are fishing a single or double nymph rig, just add a couple split-shot weights to your line. And, if you are fishing a dry-dropper rig, try to use beadhead nymphs as often as possible. Don’t be lazy, or stuck in your ways. Be willing to change your rig often, and test new flies. You will catch more fish this way. On small streams, fish can be a little finicky. One moment they are gorging on prince nymphs, and the next moment they won’t even sniff it. And, as an angler, if you stay too committed to one fly, you could miss out on all sorts of fish. I’m not saying you need to go out and purchase a bunch of camo, or wear a ghillie suit while you fly fish. I’m just saying that you should opt for earth tones over bright, or white clothing.

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15. Change Your Fly Often

The better you place, and the gentler you land, your very first cast in every hole, the more likely you are to hook a fish.

14. Sein The Water

For a long time, to start a day of fishing, I would just pick up a rock off the bottom of a river, and try to match my flies to whatever I saw crawling around. The problem with this method, was that these little insects and annelids don’t give you a clear picture of what’s actually floating in the water. Just dip it in the water for a few seconds, pull it up, and you can see exactly what’s floating down the river at that moment. It’s a beautiful thing.

25. Add some Life To Your Fly

There’s something so pure and peaceful about fly fishing on a small stream. Between the soft hum and creaking of the wind through the trees, and the bubbling ripples of the water, it’s almost a sin to make too much noise. And the fish you are trying to catch feel the same way. They make fly rods in different sizes for a reason. In other words, if you are fishing an eight weight — that was designed for catching steelhead — on a river as wide as your bathtub, then you might just rip the face off the next fish you catch. Now, this may not be true for every small stream, but in my experience, most anglers don’t have the patience to walk past a beautiful stretch of river, even if it means standing shoulder-to-shoulder with other fishermen.

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Fishing a dry-dropper rig gives you the best of both worlds, and greatly increases your chance of a fish.

16. Use A Smaller Fly Rod

Fish tend to congregate in well-oxygenated water, so when you cast into any bubbles, you are probably casting into a little group of fish. Just be ready the moment your flies hit the water. Fish that are all jacked-up on oxygen are hyper, competitive, and at-the-ready. So, be quick on the hook-set.

Final Thoughts

If you don’t crimp your barbs, not only are you likely to kill the fish, but you will have a heck of a time getting your fly out of their mouth. The high-stick method is about as simple as it gets in fly fishing. You just limit the amount of line in your cast, stand fairly close to the pocket of water you are trying to fish, and keep your tip high throughout your drift. Small streams and creeks can make for some of the most fun fly fishing you can find. Between the volume of fish you can catch, the variety in landscape, and the unique fishing techniques can employ, there’s never a dull moment. If you are new to fly fishing, it’s important for you to know that fish face upstream. So, if you want to avoid spooking them, you should always — I repeat, always — approach a hole or run from down stream. And, to build on the previous section, do it as quietly as possible.

5. Use The High-Stick Method

Fly fishing small streams and creeks is all about stealth. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen a ninja walking around in a bright orange jumpsuit. Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we will receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you click through and make a purchase.

1. Be Quiet

7. Look For Bubbles

23. Fish Without An Indicator

The angle of your shadow is extremely important in fly fishing. And the smaller the stream is that you are fishing, the more important it is to keep your shadow off the water you are fishing.

22. Use Smaller Tippet

That’s where a water sein is so valuable. I grew up fly fishing small streams and creeks, so honestly, I get a little nostalgic talking about it. But more importantly, after all my experience in this particular arena of fly fishing, there are a number of tips and tricks I have either been taught, stumbled into, or learned the hard way. And that’s why I’m writing this article. So, if other fly fishermen are only willing to hike one mile, then be willing to hike two. If you need to go off-roading for an extra 30 minutes, then do it. Not only will you end up fishing in private, but you’ll be casting to fish that see significantly less pressure.

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When you are dry fly fishing a slower moving pool, and fish just don’t seem at all interested, don’t be afraid to add a little life to your fly. Sometimes, a couple little twitches is all it takes to trick a fish into thinking your fly is the real deal. Related Content: If you are lucky, you will catch 2 or 3 fish from one little run when. Unlike fishing a large river where you can cast to the same spot over and over again, fish in small creeks are a little too skittish for that. And, they don’t tend to pod-up quite as much.

10. Don’t Neglect The Shallows

8. Go The Distance

If you do decide to go with a nymph-only rig, then you might want to forego your strike indicator. When you are high-sticking, and focusing on shorter drifts, your strike indicator doesn’t serve that much of a purpose anyway. One thing I know about tuna, is that they don’t live in small streams, so don’t set the hook on a 6-inch trout, like you would on a 1,000 pound Bluefin. If you liked this article, be sure to join our community of anglers by subscribing to our email list! And remember, for the days you can’t spend on the water, this is your Fly Fishing Fix. I made mention of short drifts when I talked about high-sticking, but it’s important enough to call out on its own. When you are fishing small creeks, there is no real reason to fish long drifts. Unless you stumble upon a slow, deep pool of water, stacked with fish, then you should try to keep your drifts shorter than usual. So, pick up your fly rod, and get out there. A small stream is probably calling your name. I almost exclusively fish a dry-dropper rig when I am fly fishing on small streams or creeks. First of all, the water is usually shallow enough that a dropper will give you enough depth to get down to any feeding fish. Sure, you might not be casting to 25-inch rainbows, but who really cares when you’re catching upwards of 25 or 30 fish in a day? On small streams, your hook set should be no more than a flick of the wrist. Therefore, if you see any kind of structure in the middle of a small stream, then don’t pass it by. Every single branch, boulder, culvert, bridge, or bush deserves at least a couple casts from you.

17. Be Gentle When You Set The Hook

Fish equate moving shadows with danger, and will swim to safer areas if they feel threatened. So, pay attention to your shadow at all times.

12. Don’t Get Distracted

Second of all, you will be amazed how many little trout are willing to hit a dry fly that’s half their size. So, if you see a little section of shallow water, don’t neglect it like most other anglers would. There might be a whole slew of hungry fish in there just waiting to slam your fly.

11. Focus On Short Drifts

What follows are 25 tips for fly fishing small streams and creeks. I can’t stress this tip enough. When you are fishing a small stream or creek, you need to nail the first cast. Often times, this will be your only opportunity to catch the attention of a fish before it catches on to your trickery and decides to shun you.

“Wow, that escalated quickly… I mean, that really got out of hand!” — Ron Burgundy

If you are looking to fish more small streams and creeks, then ditch that rebar you’re using, and get yourself a 3 or 4-weight rod. The one thing I have learned throughout my years of fishing small streams and creeks, is that you shouldn’t linger in one spot for too long.

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Otherwise, your flies could be floating right over the heads of fish feeding near the bottom.

18. Crimp Your Barbs

At times, that means you will have to cross the river before approaching a hole. And when that isn’t possible, you may need to crouch down and make your shadow as small as possible. Fly fishing small streams and creeks can make for some of the most fun days you’ll ever experience as an angler. Whether you are fishing a small, cascading mountain stream, or a slow, meandering creek, there is an abundance of fly fishing opportunities to be had. Sure, a few fish might drop you off, but that’s better than using forceps to tear your fly, and the mandible off of a tender, baby fish’s mouth. Fish in small streams tend to be a little smaller than fish in big rivers; which I’m guessing doesn’t bother you, since you are reading about fly fishing small streams. And since these fish are smaller, they don’t have any problem swimming in shallow water.

2. Approach From Down Stream

We understand that it is hard to resist the temptation of not sitting in a popular fishing spot. And when it comes to creeks and small streams, most anglers will crowd in some particular sites like gold miners. If you can head away from civilization, it actually increases your angling chance. If your fishing location is within walking distance, that’s fine. You can calmly walk and reach the spot. But, if it is far away, get on your vehicle with the equipment and drive in a homely manner to head to the fishing spot.

Tip 3: Choosing The Right Bait

These ten pro tips on how to fish in a creek will help you get your desired fishing fun. When you stay in the creek, make sure you don’t ruin the environment there. If the creek runs across the wilderness, creating too much noise would disturb the animals and birds there. Also, you can enjoy the surrounding in a noise-free and isolated area. We have discussed the importance of picking the right bait for creek fishing previously. Now, it is time to illustrate the discussion. Creek fishes are mainly native and truly wild. So, they are fond of native baits that they usually find around for easy hunt and eating. Some of the excellent bait choices for creek fishing include- If you target to angle a fish that bites, you might even choose the spinnerbaits and jigs for them. Sometimes using the worms as live baits is beneficial to draw more fish around the fishing line. At first, find a proper location with ample compost heap or moisturized area with the rich ground. You can easily dig it to a few inches and get the earthworms. Most fishes live happily in a water depth where their natural food is found in abundance. Hence, fishing in different depths of the creek will increase the chance of getting more fish. Also, when you fish in different depths, you might catch various species too.

  1. Creeks water is mostly crystal clear. So, get a monofilament tackle so that the fish can’t spook it from the water.
  2. Pick the right bait or lure for the fish you want to catch. For instance, earthworms work best for panfish and trout; bass and catfish love nightcrawlers, and carp have a fascination for bread and dough balls.
  3. Pick the smallest sized hook with a long shank. It bends easily without breaking and allows you to cast the bait or lure far away.
  4. If you want to stand on the bank or water for a long time, wear waders to prevent your feet’ wetness.

Tip 9: Fish in Different Depths

We recommend you to wade close to the creek and stand on the water near the fishing spot. Suppose you have a spin reel; choose the underhand casting technique. And for cane poles, use flipping to cast your bait underneath the surface. Approach the eddy from downstream when you use a baitcasting or spinning rig. You must allow the bait to drift through downstream from the upper stream. It quickly catches the fish’s attention since their prey will mostly follow the creek’s current direction.

Tip 5: Get to The Creek

Also, collect your food wastage and fishing equipment before you head back home. It will help you preserve the wilderness near the creek and yield you more catch in the next angling session.

  • Worms
  • Grubs
  • Insect larvae
  • Small insects such as grasshoppers

Many people are confused between a creek and a stream. Nonetheless, a creek is smaller than the stream, and it also has a more sublime water flow. Our creek fishing tips can be the difference between a frustrating 10-fish day and a joyful 100-fish day. Also, fishing near the undercuts on the bank and stump holes will increase the chances of catching more fish. The surface will look motionless until your bait reaches the fish mouth. So, be patient.

Tip 10: Using The Current Direction

Sometimes you might feel so lazy that you don’t want to go far away from your home during the weekend. Or, at times, you just want to spend your leisure time right near your residence. Also, a gasoline price hike might deter you from planning to go fishing in a long distance.

Tip 8: Matching The Technique with The Water Condition

However, if you decide to catch grasshoppers and crickets, it will test your fitness and reflexes.

Tip 1: Locate The Right Location

David M. Edwards Hi, This is David. I love fishing and it’s my hobby. I have been fishing for the last 5 years. Based on my experiences with fishing, I am sharing my opinion about fishing tips and fishing equipment so that a beginner can get started right away. Find me on Twitter. Happy reading! You will see brush-cover bands near the heavy wood creeks and streams. Similarly, the creek bed will accommodate washed away trees and leaves. Thus, finding the fishing through the dene leaves is a bit challenging.

  1. Find out if the creek is public or private property. Also, know whether you need permission to fish in it or not.
  2. You should pick a creek with a clean environment. Creeks near the agricultural field and industrial area contain pollutants. So, it will have fewer fishes.
  3. Pick a creek with proper water flow and water depth. Some, if not all, creeks will become icy in winter and might not have enough water to accommodate fishes.

Similar to river fishing and kayaking, you must find the right location along the creek for fishing. You can follow these suggestions for the location selection-

Tip 7: Don’t Be Fooled by The Creek Surface

Whatever might be the reason, fishing in a creek near your home brings fun, joy, and lets you do everything in a lazy and comfy manner. But for all this excitement, you must know how to fish in a creek.

Tip 4: Digging and Catching Your Bait

A peaceful and motionless surface is most misleading in a creek. You should choose a spot with the fish pool or eddy nearby. The eddy and pools often support large and more fishes with a deeper water level.

Tip 2: Arrange Everything Essential for Creek Fishing

Tip 6: Don’t Overcrowd A Particular Spot

It is crucial because the creek might appear a peaceful place, but fishing in it isn’t as easy as most people think. You have to find the right location, lure, and baits, and even understand the creeks’ water flow and surface. You will need at least three essential fishing gear before you head towards the creek. It includes fishing bait, lure, and the hook with the fishing line. Also, having a refined tackle will help you with fishing in both creeks and small streams. Cross Country Bank Angler 610k views
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