Fly Fishing Small Streams For Trout

May 18, 2020 Fishing Guides Views: 3019

Fly Fishing Small Streams For Trout

Most people prefer to fly fish in open waters but trust me fly fishing in small streams is even more enjoyable. For one reason, trout in small streams are often larger and importantly its easier to cast in these streams. The question therefore remains, how does fly fishing small streams become successful? Well, fly fishing small streams for trout calls for three major things: the ability to read the water, stealth, and proper casting. Let’s discuss each one individually.

Studying the waters

Before you think of getting into the waters, from a distance, study the stream. It will be easy to see trout because they are well camouflaged. To enhance your eyesight, a pair of Polaroid glasses would do you good.

The spots that you should be on the look-out are those that provide the fish with shelter from predators or flowing currents and those that will be easy for fish to access food.

Usually, small stream trout will rest at the edge of a current anticipating for their food to come by. This spot is commonly known as the pocket water area because its where the fish will be hiding from the main current. Bounce your lure along the edges of a fast-flowing current because for one reason the fish will not see you due to water turbulence and for another reason, the trout will be very eager to grab any prey that comes by.


Unlike many other types of fish, the trout is very alert. Not only does the trout see you approaching, but also, they feel your footsteps even before you appear on their eyes. You must, therefore, determine how you’ll strategically cast while staying out of sight and importantly remaining low. In this case, it's recommended that you fish upstream. From another perspective, fishing upstream helps you to use the available open space for back-casting.


A cast of 20 feet would put your fly right above the fish. Make your cast back from the small stream’s waters’ edge. In cases where there is a little cover around the stream, consider using a long leader the place the fly fishing line on the bank of the stream. Allow the leader to get water that is close to the river bank as much as possible. This will ensure that any fish lying close to the bank will see your fly and probably get attracted to it.

Choosing trout fly for small streams

Choosing a fly for fly fishing in small streams easy because the small river trout tend to be very opportunistic than the open water trout. This is probably because there is less food in small streams and so the competition for it is so high.

The most popular variety of fly for small streams is the Caddis and the small streamers. To begin with, the variation of Edson Tiger streamer works best for small stream trout.

As of the flies, your fly fishing box should carry Caddis of 10 to 22 size. Mix the colors of the Caddis so that you’ll have brown, black, yellow, orange, green Caddis.

In a stream with fast-moving water, be sure to use a bright colored fly that will be easily visible to the trout. It’s of less importance to match the fly to the season because the season’s fly could be less visible and so you miss the chance to catch trout.

You might need some floatant to keep your dry fly afloat. Be sure to use a floatant that will keep your fly afloat for a longer time.

The rod and line for trout in small streams

You need a rod that is equal to or short than 7 feet. A shorter rod is preferred because small streams often have a cover around them that might not work well with long rods.

In determining the weight of the fly line, consider the weight of the rod used. The fly line should be one unit heavier than the fly rod, that is, if the rod is 5 weight, the line should be 6 weight. This combination enables you to make shorter casts.


With a more sensitive approach, fly fishing in a small stream shouldn’t be a daunting task. A good ability to read the water and proper stealth coupled with pinpoint casting should make your fishing day successful.

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