Driftless Trout Anglers

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Life of Riley  
#1 Posted : Tuesday, June 18, 2019 4:15:28 AM(UTC)
Life of Riley
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Korea, D.P.R.O.

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I think I'm going to try a new trout stream tomorrow. I've seen it driving by to other spots in the past. I wouldn't call it a sidewalk stream or a piss trickle, but it's probably one size up from that. I generally tend to fish large to medium size trout water, just wondering for you spin fishermen if there's any drastic changes in lures/presentation or whatever. I think I'm going to break out the really short ultralight, just because casting with a long rod might be difficult in close quarters. Whether I catch a bunch or get skunked, I'll post a report.

Thanks in advance,

#2 Posted : Tuesday, June 18, 2019 4:51:07 AM(UTC)
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While it's certainly not the case for all small streams, I would first say don't underestimate them. Many of my favorite big fish streams would fall into the "sidewalk" category. Look for undercuts especially. If there are tons of dinks, there is probably a big one here and there that likes to eat them, so don't be afraid to throw bigger lures.
A bad day of fishing is better than a good day of work. ~Author Unknown
Modern Translation, with respect for the Notorious B.I.G. : "Fuck Money, Get Fishes"
Mark Dahlquist  
#3 Posted : Tuesday, June 18, 2019 12:25:17 PM(UTC)
Mark Dahlquist
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Riley are you really in Korea? That's what your profile says. If so, far out!
Board Owner
#4 Posted : Tuesday, June 18, 2019 1:17:53 PM(UTC)
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Location: Madison, Wisconsin during the week and Lincolnshire, Illinois on weekends.

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Hopefully not North Korea! That's the flag on your moniker. But yeah, I really enjoyed Korea when I was there - I spent 6 weeks there many years ago; great people, awesome food. Don't drink the Makkali! For those who don't know, Makkali is low alcohol beverage brewed from rice. When I was in Korea, you couldn't even get it in a bottle; our host would lug out a big pot that it was brewed in, with chunks of rice at the bottom. After my first gulp, the guy next to me leaned over and said, "Now you know what chilled elephant sperm tastes like."

My advice for the small streams, and it's a corollary to Shebs, is toss the lure as close to the edge as you can. The big trout won't go far out from those underhangs he talks about. 6 inches to the middle, they won't go out. 6 inches the other way, you're stuck in the grass. If it lands an inch or two from the edge of the undercut, hold on tight.

Edited by user Tuesday, June 18, 2019 1:20:54 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Bob Williams, "Weiliwen"
#5 Posted : Tuesday, June 18, 2019 2:37:11 PM(UTC)
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learn the "thurston toss"

William Schlafer  
#6 Posted : Tuesday, June 18, 2019 5:39:37 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
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This is right in my wheel house, so to speak. I fish lots of small streams (8' or less in width) probably 75% of the time. There's just something magical about catching Trout in a small stream.

Uh oh... does that make me a small stream elitist? Wink

I'm not an expert of anything, but I can tell you my experiences fishing small creeks.

Approach is critical on any Trout stream, but probably more so on small water. There's a limited number of places for a Trout to hide, or run around in a small stream. As a result, it's sometimes difficult to get close enough to cast without alerting them to your presence. Take advantage of any cover you can find; tall grass, a large rock or bush. Learn how to cast around these obstacles. Avoid walking tall banks and profiling your self against a bright sky. Dark moving objects and shadows on the water will send Trout fleeing every time, no matter what size the stream is.

Because the stream is so small, you won't be making many casts of any great length. Learn how to make short, very accurate casts in tight quarters. No need for big back casts here. Practice roll and flick casts and it will pay benefits. Casts to within 3 feet on a bigger stream might be just fine. But on a small stream you need to hit a much smaller target. I've found that on small water ambush strikes are common. There isn't a lot of water for a Trout to trail and stalk your fly. Be prepared for quick strikes and combat in tight spaces.

I like 4W 8' fly rods for almost any stream you might encounter in the Driftless. Enough beef to cast in the wind, but delicate enough for small dry flies, and short enough to get under overgrowth. I've caught plenty of 18-19" Trout with my 4W, and they do just fine. A longer fly rod can sometimes help you reach over obstacles to drop a fly right into a tight spot. I call this "dapping" - dangling your fly down to a likely spot. Sometimes it can pay off nicely when traditional casts are not possible.

I try to stay out of the water as much as possible unless it's impossible to get into position standing on the bank. Although, this time of year when the tall grass closes in around the stream, getting in is about your only choice. Fishing hoppers like this on partially canopied streams can be deadly.

It helps to know the stream well, where the fish lay, and what obstacles are ahead. This way you can plan your approach before you get into casting position. This is critical as you often may only get one good cast before a holding spot is blown.

Because the stream is so small, there's big competition with the Trout for the best feeding spots. As always, the alpha fish will hold the highest holding spot next to the feeding lane. There is always a hiding place nearby that Trout will flee to for cover: an undercut bank, a big underwater rock, or a tangle of branches. The first moment they feel the hook, that's where they'll be heading for. Be prepared to apply pressure and move them away from those spots. And have a plan for how get the Trout to the best place to on the bank net your catch.

I suppose most of these ideas apply to almost any size river or stream. But I think the most important thing is to scale down your movements and approaches to match the smaller water.

Like Shebs said, don't underestimate small creeks. They're often overlooked by fishermen looking for a different experience. If there's food, cover and cool moving water, the Trout will be in there. This is especially true for small tributaries to bigger Trout streams. The big Trout move up these creeks to chase the bait fish, or to find cooler water, and then migrate back to bigger water when conditions change.


Edited by user Tuesday, June 18, 2019 11:23:13 PM(UTC)  | Reason: damned typos!

“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
Life of Riley  
#7 Posted : Wednesday, June 19, 2019 4:26:23 AM(UTC)
Life of Riley
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Korea, D.P.R.O.

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When I made my profile on DTA, DPRO Korea(North Korea) came up as an option to select for national identity. This struck me as funny and sad at the same time. Whoever developed the software for the forum, stuck as a national origin option, a country that doesn't allow its citizens access to the internet. I've never been to Korea, but would love to go(to the south)! Thanks for the small stream tips. I caught around 10 browns tonight, 14" and smaller by my estimate. I had a great time being able to observe trout behavior in the clear water, and I think I learned a bunch today. Bright sun, low current, and minimal wind were not the best conditions for a spinner, but once I put on a F7 original floating rap in blk/silver the fish started chomping. Can't wait to get back out after 'em!!!
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