The Perfect Small Stream Fly Rod

Fly fishing for native trout on a small stream in the back county can lead to one of the most rewarding experiences of a lifetime. Getting off the beaten path to find finicky fish in untouched waters is what the pioneers of the sport truly intended. On the other hand, some small streams info are just off the roadway but are just as willing, or unwilling, to give up their inhabitants to the skilled angler. The proper clothing, flies and equipment can help you make the absolute most of your adventure. The fly rod may be the most important aspect of your small stream set up.

One question that I often hear is, “what is the perfect small stream fly rod”. Well, allow me to clear this up right now… there is no perfect small stream fly rod. There, now you have it. I should stop here and leave it at that, but you know that I won’t.

Be careful, there are many self proclaimed fly fishing experts that are all too eager to give their opinion on the ideal rod for the smaller streams. Don’t be too hasty to accept their remarks as gospel and run out and buy a rod simply base on their opinions. I wish I could give you a cut and dried, etched in stone, answer and identify the specific rod that would be perfect for any small stream you may encounter in your fly fishing lifetime… but I can’t do that. Neither can anyone else.

Most folks simply do not realize the factors involved in making a small stream rod selection. There are several things to carefully ponder before dropping the bucks for a new rod. That’s exactly what we’re going to do here. We’ll discuss several important rod and stream factors that govern a small stream rod selection. After arming yourself with the proper information, it is you who will end up making the ultimate decision as to which rod is best for you.

What’s a Small Stream?

First things first… we probably need to identify exactly what constitutes a small stream. So, what type of water will you be fishing? Is it a small stream, a spring creek or a narrow river? Are all three of these really the same thing? All fly fishers are not on the same page here.

OK, look up “small stream” in the dictionary. What do you find? Nothing, right? There is no formal definition of this term. I know what I mean when I say “small stream”. But do you see in your mind the same thing that I see? Maybe, maybe not.

The Cimarron River in, New Mexico is no doubt a narrow river but don’t let the word “river” fool you. It consists mostly of small stream attributes. Most of the public water is lined with willows, cottonwoods and alders and provides anglers with undercut banks, riffles, runs, bend pools and pocket water. I fish this river as a small stream. The St. Vrain River in Colorado is another great example. There is no place on its banks where you can’t comfortably roll cast to the other side. When the water is clear, there is no place where you can’t see the bottom. On the other hand, Young’s Creek in Montana is about the same size and in some areas it is much wider than many stretches of the Cimarron and St. Vrain Rivers. I fish all three basically the same way.

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