In the second part of the “ORVIS – Fishing Follow Up Behind Another Angler” video by The Orvis Company, Dave Jensen reveals the techniques for finding trout in small streams that have already been fished by others. This informative video provides valuable insight into the secret spots where trout can be found, using both dry flies and nymphs. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced fly angler, this video is a must-watch for those looking to improve their skills. To further enhance your fly fishing knowledge, be sure to explore the other online learning resources offered by ORVIS.
Part one of the fishing follow up on small streams focused on the setup, approach, casting, and line control. Now, in part two, the attention shifts to the specific areas that should be targeted to catch the trout that other anglers may have missed upstream. From the tail out of the first pool to the back eddy on the opposite side of the stream, Jensen provides valuable tips and techniques for maximizing your chances of success. Additionally, he emphasizes the importance of working the narrowest structures and in-stream habitats, as well as seeking out hidden spots with fast water and subtle undercuts. No matter how busy it may get on these small streams, with the right approach and a focus on details, you’ll still have the opportunity to catch a few trout.
Finding Trout in Small Streams
When it comes to trout fishing in small streams, there are several key locations where you are likely to find these elusive fish. By understanding the specific habitat preferences of trout, you can increase your chances of success. Here are some important locations to keep in mind:
Tail out of the first pool
Trout often seek refuge in the tail out of the first pool, especially in small streams with limited food sources. This area offers them a safe haven from predators while still providing access to food carried downstream. Look for areas where the current slows down and transitions from the pool to the stream. These tail out areas can be productive fishing spots, especially during feeding times.
Back caddy on the opposite side of the stream
Trout in small streams are known to position themselves on the opposite side of the stream, away from where most anglers would naturally fish. This back caddy area provides them with cover and protection, making it a prime location to target. By casting across the stream and bringing your fly back towards you, you can entice trout that are hiding in this often overlooked area.
Main incoming drop off
Trout are attracted to areas where the main current meets a drop off or change in depth. These areas provide them with easy access to food that gets swept downstream. Look for sections of the stream where the water depth suddenly decreases, creating a drop-off. Cast your fly near this transition zone and let it drift naturally with the current to entice trout that are waiting for an easy meal.
Undercuts are another favored hiding spot for trout in small streams. These are areas where the bank of the stream has eroded, creating a recessed area underneath. Trout seek refuge in these undercuts, as they offer protection from both predators and the elements. When fishing in small streams, it’s important to cast your fly close to the banks and work it in and around undercuts to maximize your chances of catching trout.
Subtle undercut pockets and troughs
In addition to larger undercuts, trout also utilize smaller, more subtle undercut pockets and troughs. These can be found along the banks of the stream and offer trout a place to ambush passing prey. Look for areas where the bank forms a small pocket or trough, and target these spots with accurate casts. Trout tend to be more cautious in these areas, so presenting your fly naturally and with precision is crucial.
Shallow troughs and hidden depth changes
Trout are often found in shallow troughs in small streams, especially during periods of low water flow. These troughs provide them with cover and protection, making them a strategic location to target. Pay close attention to subtle changes in water depth, as they can indicate the presence of a shallow trough. Cast your fly to these areas and allow it to drift naturally, imitating the movement of aquatic insects that trout feed on.
In-stream wood, such as fallen logs and branches, creates additional cover and structure for trout in small streams. These woody areas provide a safe haven for trout to hide and ambush prey. Look for sections of the stream where there is visible wood in the water. Cast your fly near or under these woody structures, as trout often position themselves in these areas to take advantage of the food supply and shelter they offer.
By understanding and targeting these key locations in small streams, you can greatly improve your chances of finding trout and having a successful fishing outing.
Fly Selection and Techniques
Once you have located the trout in a small stream, choosing the right fly and using the appropriate techniques are essential for enticing them to strike. Here are some effective fly selections and techniques to consider:
Dry flies imitate insects that float on the surface of the water, and they can be highly effective in small streams. Look for hatches of mayflies, caddisflies, or stoneflies and choose a dry fly pattern that closely matches the size and color of the insects present. Cast the dry fly upstream and allow it to drift naturally with the current, presenting it as a tempting meal for the trout.
Nymph fishing is a popular technique in small streams, as it imitates the sub-surface stage of aquatic insects when they are most vulnerable to trout. Use a weighted nymph pattern and fish it near the bottom of the stream, where trout are likely to be feeding. Cast upstream and allow the nymph to drift naturally, keeping an eye on your line for any subtle twitches or pauses that may indicate a strike.
Streamers are large, often brightly colored flies that imitate small fish or other prey that trout feed on. They are effective for targeting larger, more aggressive trout in small streams. Cast the streamer across the current and retrieve it with short, quick strips to mimic the movement of a fleeing baitfish. Vary your retrieve speed and depth to determine what triggers a strike from the trout.
Terrestrial insects, such as ants, grasshoppers, and beetles, can be abundant along the banks of small streams. Trout are opportunistic feeders and will often target these terrestrial insects when they fall into the water. Use a dry fly pattern that imitates the specific terrestrial insect present and cast it near the banks or overhanging vegetation. Allow the fly to float downstream naturally, mimicking the movement of a struggling terrestrial insect.
Squall, stone, and terrestrial moth
Specific fly patterns that have proven successful in small streams include the squall, stone, and terrestrial moth patterns. The squall pattern imitates small baitfish, the stone pattern imitates stoneflies, and the terrestrial moth pattern imitates various terrestrial insects. These patterns are versatile and can be used in a variety of situations, so be sure to have them in your fly box when trout fishing in small streams.
The dry dropper technique involves attaching a small nymph or emerger pattern to the hook bend of a buoyant dry fly. The dry fly acts as an indicator, allowing you to detect strikes while also presenting a second food source to the trout. Cast the dry dropper rig upstream and let it drift downstream naturally. This technique is effective in small streams with varying depths and currents.
Small tungsten nymph
Using small tungsten nymphs can be highly effective when targeting trout in small streams. Tungsten nymphs are heavier than traditional nymphs, allowing them to sink quickly to the desired depth. Choose nymph patterns that imitate the aquatic insects present in the stream and use a light tippet to present the fly naturally. Cast upstream and let the nymph drift with the current, keeping your line tight to detect any strikes.
Dry streamer dropper
The dry streamer dropper technique combines the attraction of a streamer with the effectiveness of a nymph or emerger pattern. Start by attaching a buoyant dry fly to your tippet, followed by a short section of tippet and then a weighted streamer or nymph. Cast the rig upstream and allow it to drift downstream, keeping an eye on the dry fly for any signs of a strike. This technique can entice aggressive trout in small streams.
Different and subtle flies
Trout in small streams can be highly selective, so it’s important to have a variety of fly patterns in your arsenal. Different and subtle flies that closely match the local insect population can make a significant difference in catching trout. Experiment with different fly patterns, sizes, colors, and presentations to determine what the trout are feeding on. Be observant of the natural surroundings and adapt your fly selection accordingly to increase your chances of success.
By selecting the appropriate fly patterns and using the right techniques, you can effectively target trout in small streams and increase your chances of a successful fishing outing.
Casting and Presentation
Casting accurately and presenting your fly in a natural and enticing manner are crucial for success when targeting trout in small streams. Here are some casting and presentation tips to consider:
Trout in small streams are often wary and can be easily spooked. To avoid alarming the fish, it’s important to achieve a drag-free drift, where the fly drifts naturally with the current without any unnatural movement. Avoid casting too far upstream, as this can result in excessive drag as the fly drifts downstream. Instead, cast three feet upstream of your target and focus on mending your line to ensure a drag-free presentation.
When fishing in small streams, be mindful of the structure and obstacles in the water. Adjust your casting technique and presentation to avoid getting snagged on rocks, branches, or other underwater structures. This may require casting from different angles or using a sidearm casting technique to navigate tight spaces. By being aware of the structure in the stream and adjusting your approach accordingly, you can minimize the risk of losing your fly and maximize your chances of catching trout.
Color and depth changes
Trout in small streams are attuned to changes in color and depth as potential indicators of food sources. Take advantage of these natural cues by casting your fly to areas where there are distinct color or depth changes in the water. These changes can attract trout and make them more likely to strike. Be observant of the surroundings and target areas where the water transitions from light to dark or where there are sudden drops in depth.
Casting three feet upstream
When casting in small streams, it’s generally best to cast three feet upstream of your target. This allows the fly to drift naturally with the current and gives the trout an opportunity to see and strike the fly. Casting directly at the target can result in drag and spook the fish. By casting slightly upstream, you can create a more natural presentation and increase your chances of enticing a strike.
Leading the fish out
Trout in small streams often hold close to structure or cover, making it difficult to entice them to move and strike. To overcome this challenge, try leading the fish out by casting your fly upstream and slightly to the side of their hiding spot. As the fly drifts downstream, it will come into the trout’s line of sight, increasing the likelihood of a strike. This technique can be particularly effective when targeting trout in undercut banks or areas with overhanging vegetation.
By using these casting and presentation techniques, you can increase your chances of presenting your fly in a natural and enticing manner, ultimately improving your chances of catching trout in small streams.
Working the Undisturbed Areas
Trout in small streams are often found in undisturbed areas where they can find both food and protection from predators. Here are some key locations to target when working the undisturbed areas:
Slack eddies along shore
Slack eddies, or areas of calm water, along the shore of a small stream can be hotspots for trout activity. These eddies provide a break from the main current and often accumulate food, making them attractive feeding areas for trout. Look for areas where the current slows down along the shore and target these slack eddies with accurate casts. Allow your fly to drift naturally in the eddy, imitating the movement of food being carried by the current.
Top side of stumps or root balls
Stumps or root balls submerged in the water create additional structure and cover for trout in small streams. These areas provide trout with a place to hide and ambush prey, making them ideal locations to target. Cast your fly near the top side of stumps or root balls, as trout often position themselves in these areas. Working your fly around the structure and allowing it to drift naturally can entice a strike from these hidden trout.
Woody troughs, created by fallen logs or branches in the water, offer trout in small streams both cover and potential food sources. These troughs act as natural streambed features, attracting insects and other prey that trout feed on. Look for areas where logs or branches create a trough-like structure in the water, and target these spots with accurate casts. Allow your fly to drift naturally through the trough, imitating the movement of food being carried by the current.
Drifting flies near structure
Trout in small streams are often found near structure, such as rocks or fallen logs. These structures create eddies and breaks in the current where trout can rest and feed. When working the undisturbed areas, cast your fly near the structure and let it drift naturally. Pay close attention to any subtle movements or twitches in your line, as these may indicate a strike from a trout hiding near the structure. Take time to analyze the stream’s features and adapt your presentation to maximize your chances of success.
Drifting flies near shore
Trout in small streams often feed close to the shore, especially during periods of low water flow. This makes the areas near the shore prime locations to target. When working the undisturbed areas, focus on casting your fly near the shore and allowing it to drift naturally. Trout near the shore are often more cautious, so make sure to present your fly in a subtle and natural manner. Work on your casting accuracy and take advantage of any breaks or slack water near the shore to increase your chances of catching these wary trout.
By focusing on the undisturbed areas in small streams and targeting locations that provide both cover and potential food sources, you can increase your chances of finding and catching trout.
Challenges of Fishing Follow Up
Fishing in small streams can present a unique set of challenges that require adaptability and skill. Here are some common challenges you may encounter when fishing follow up, along with strategies for overcoming them:
Short or soft strikes
Trout in small streams can exhibit short or soft strikes, making it difficult to detect when a fish has taken your fly. To overcome this challenge, be attentive to any subtle movements or changes in your line while presenting the fly. Keep your line tight to feel even the slightest bite and be ready to set the hook when you suspect a strike. Practice proper hook-setting technique and be patient, as trout in small streams can often be finicky.
Struggle to connect
Connecting with trout in small streams can be a challenge, as these fish are often more cautious and easily spooked. To increase your chances of connecting with a trout, ensure that your gear is appropriately sized for the stream you are fishing. Use lighter tackle and smaller flies to present a more natural and less intimidating appearance to the trout. Additionally, focus on maintaining a low profile and moving slowly and stealthily along the stream, minimizing your chances of alerting the fish to your presence.
Busy streams and repeated fishing
Small streams can become popular fishing spots, especially during peak fishing seasons. As a result, these streams may experience repeated fishing pressure, making the trout more cautious and difficult to catch. To maximize your odds in busy streams, consider fishing during off-peak hours or on weekdays when there are fewer anglers. Explore less crowded sections of the stream and target undisturbed areas where trout may be more willing to strike. Vary your fly selection and techniques to imitate something different from what other anglers are using, increasing your chances of enticing a strike.
To maximize your odds of success when fishing follow up, it’s important to constantly adapt and experiment with different strategies. Small streams can change quickly due to factors such as weather, water flow, and insect activity, which can have a direct impact on trout behavior. Keep a close eye on your surroundings and adjust your approach accordingly. This may involve changing your fly pattern, adjusting your presentation, or exploring different sections of the stream. By being adaptable and willing to try new techniques, you can improve your chances of catching trout.
Working out-of-the-way pockets
Trout in small streams often seek out hidden pockets and undisturbed areas away from the main current. These out-of-the-way pockets can be particularly challenging to fish, as they require precise casting and presentation. When targeting these areas, focus on accurate casts and presenting your fly as naturally as possible. Take the time to observe the pockets and analyze the current and structure to determine the best approach. Be patient and persistent, as working these out-of-the-way pockets can yield rewarding results.
Drifting flies close to structure
Trout in small streams are often found near structure, such as rocks, logs, or vegetation. Working your flies close to these structures can be particularly productive, but it also carries the risk of getting snagged. To minimize the risk of losing your fly, focus on reading the water and identifying potential snag hazards before casting. Adjust your casting technique and presentation to avoid getting tangled in structure, and be prepared to make quick adjustments if you feel resistance or your fly gets caught. With practice and experience, you can learn to effectively work your flies close to structure without losing them.
By being aware of the challenges that come with fishing follow up in small streams and employing appropriate strategies, you can increase your odds of success and have a more productive and rewarding fishing experience.
Fishing for trout in small streams can be a rewarding and exciting experience for any angler. By understanding the specific locations where trout are likely to be found, selecting the right flies and techniques, and employing effective casting and presentation strategies, you can increase your chances of success. Additionally, by targeting undisturbed areas, adapting to challenges, and maximizing your odds, you can overcome common obstacles and have a more productive fishing outing. Remember to always practice catch-and-release and respect the delicate ecosystem of small streams. With dedication, skill, and a little bit of luck, you can find and catch trout in small streams, creating memories that will last a lifetime.