Don’t ignore the small feeder streams that vacant into better-known waters.
Photograph by Buzz Cox
A couple of summers in the past, I spent two days at Orvis-endorsed Madison Valley Ranch in Ennis, Montana. Supervisor Chris Eaton took me on an incredible brief float by means of the Channels part of the decrease Madison and confirmed me simply how a lot I’ve to study fly fishing this river, even after fishing it for 25 years. I believe I caught one fish for each ten he hooked. After we received again to the lodge, I requested him a few tiny feeder stream of the Madison that runs by means of the ranch property. “Plenty of fish in there,” he stated, “and it solely will get fished a couple of occasions a yr.”
Music to my ears.
For the reason that creek was slender sufficient to leap throughout, I introduced alongside a 7-foot Four-weight Superfine rod to make brief casts with ease. I walked the financial institution downstream till the stream received fairly brushy, however saved going. After I received to an space that appeared like it will intimidate most fly fishers, I started fly fishing again upstream to the lodge with an enormous Parachute Hare’s Ear dry fly. I finished counting at 30 fish, and this was in solely a brief hour of fishing. The browns and rainbows ranged from 16 inches to six inches, and so they eagerly inhaled each the dry fly and a Tunghead Pheasant Tail nymph. It was among the finest fly fishing I’ve had in years—inside spitting distance of a lodge that hosts scores of excellent fishermen in a weekend even the tiny fish put bend within the Superfine rod. I by no means would have been in a position to fish that little creek with the highly effective 9-foot, 5-weight rod I used on the Madison an hour earlier. I’d have been hanging up within the streamside brush.
Feeder streams to well-known trout rivers often get ignored. They give the impression of being too small to carry first rate fish, or they appear too tight for an overhead forged. However these tiny streams typically host giant trout that depart the larger waters due to excessive water temperatures or heavy boat visitors. Feeder streams at all times supply cooler water than major rivers, and meals isn’t as plentiful as on the large riffles of bigger rivers. So that you get trout that haven’t been educated, that eat all day lengthy, and are desirous to smash any fly that appears edible.
Listed here are some suggestions for fly fishing feeder streams the following time a well-known trout stream helps you to down:
Ignore the junction of a feeder with the primary river for a couple of hundred ft. Everyone fishes there.
Stroll upstream from the primary river till the casting begins to look tough. Or in case you are on a street nicely upstream from the primary river, stroll up or down till you get out of sight of any bridges
Don’t stroll the banks. Keep nicely away from the water—get to some extent the place you’ll be able to’t see the water—and them transfer upstream or down earlier than fishing. Trout in feeder streams will not be the sharpest instruments within the shed, however they’re spooky!
Fishing upstream is nearly at all times higher, as a result of you’ll be able to strategy the fish with out spooking them. If you wish to fish a stretch downstream of your place, stroll downstream (keep away from the financial institution!) after which work up.
Go away your tiny flies and light-weight tippets on the primary river. These fish are on the lookout for an enormous mouthful, and so they feed on terrestrials extra usually than mayflies and caddisflies. A heavier tippet means that you can rip your fly out of a tree with out disturbing the water, and fish on feeder streams are seldom chief shy except they’re in flat, nonetheless swimming pools.
A giant dry fly with wings you’ll be able to see is often one of the best fly. Parachute Adams, Parachute Hare’s Ear, Royal Wulffs, Stimulators, or grasshopper patterns are among the finest flies, from Maine to California.
For a fair higher guess, tie 10 inches of 4X or 5X tippet to the bend of your dry fly hook and add a measurement 12 Hare’s Ear Nymph. The dry fly then turns into your strike indicator and also you’ll most likely double your strikes.
Be stealthy however transfer shortly. If a trout in a feeder stream doesn’t tackle the primary or second forged, it’s most likely spooked and no quantity of repeated fly casting will get it to rise.
Preserve your profile low. Crouch when transferring and kneel when casting your flies.
Your fly rod must load shortly. Superfine fly rods are your most suitable option, but when it’s a must to you’ll be able to overline a stiffer, quicker fly rod by one or two line sizes to get the fly rod to work with solely 10 ft of line out. It’s not as efficient as a Superfine fly rod, nor almost as pleasurable, however it can get the job achieved.
A shorter chief generates greater fly line pace to fireplace your fly into brushy areas. Use a 6-foot or 7 ½-foot chief for feeder stream fly fishing.