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Old 10-04-2014, 08:38 PM
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Default Clear small stream tips and advice

Hello,

I have recently moved to UT from OR and have hung up my 8 & 9 weight rods (for a time) for 3-5 wt rods as I transition from steelhead and salmon to trout.

I live close to the Provo River and have found some great success on this renowned river. However, my issue and request for tips are for a gorgeous creek with light pressure that is 10 minutes from my front door.

This creek has loads fish and my success at catching these seemingly brilliant fish has eluded me on my last four endeavors. There is not much pressure on the few miles of water that I have committed to learn.
Allow me to elucidate a few pertinent details.
-The water is gin clear.
-Diversity of water types is great (deep pools, riffles, runs, & a few beaver dams).
-Bank access is very limited so wading & stalking is imperative. Much of the brush is often covering up a few feet of water on one side or the other. (I see many take cover in these areas as I move to different holes.)
-Much of the casting to pools and holes requires bow & arrow or tight precice casts. I will often try euro nymphing techniques as well to place my offerings.
-I typically fish this water with my 3wt 7'6" rod.
-I can spot many and typically stalk these fish quite efficiently.
-Thursday I threw everything (nearly) @ these lockjawed beauties for +6 hours.
-This included matching hatches in the evening (zero top feeding), emergers, terrestrial, midges, sows, san juans, streamers, & buggers. Multiple colors and sizes were used. (The one pattern I didn't have and thought might be helpful were egg patterns. Too early?)
-I was able to get these flies above, next to, and directly in front of many of the fish I targeted.
-I have tried casting both up and downstream, used brush, weeds, & trees as cover.
-The success I have had has primarily been due to relatively far, blind casting.
-Much of the time I had my leader and tippet shorter for effective bow and arrow casts, but did extend tippet (6x & 7x) for tight casts to minimize spooking for dries.

So here are a few questions. Given what I have shared, what are your observations? When fishing tight and small water, what are your methods? Line length, size? Do you prefer up or downstream casting? When trout are tight lipped, what techniques do you employ to stimulate takes? Best methods for sight casting and close quarter stalking of fish?

Hoping for some insight. Thanks in advance for your time and tips.

Disclaimers:
-1st topic post on forum.
-Relatively new to trout fishing on the fly, but not new to fishing.

-Mike
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Old 10-04-2014, 08:45 PM
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Default Re: Clear small stream tips and advice

Welcome to the forum, and great questions. I am by no means an expert but first thought that came to mind for me is I would make sure I am using a fly line designed for delicate presentation such as RIO Trout LT, SA Textured trout. I do fish some smallish streams with gin clear water. The fish aren't as picky as what you describe but I still use a 11' leader.

I also find my self casting upstream and across at a 45(ish) degree angle with a fair amount of slack line to avoid unnatural drift, while avoiding casting right over the top of the fish.

There are many more accomplished casters on this forum that might have advice on presentation tactics. But yes delicate presentation fly line and a long light leader like 6X and possibly fluorocarbon to minimize the obviousness of the leader to the fish.
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Old 10-04-2014, 08:49 PM
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Default Re: Clear small stream tips and advice

First, welcome!
I hope you like it here as much as I do. Great group of folks.
Since you seem to be doing all the traditional things right, but without results, maybe try something outside of the box . . . Tenkara!
Might just be the presentation that will work. Having no tippet on the water might be the solution in your gin clear water.
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Old 10-05-2014, 12:44 AM
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Default Re: Clear small stream tips and advice

@comeonavs, when you have an 11' leader, how long is your rod? How can you cast effectively (other than bow and arrow) & accurately with such a light long leader (especially with dries)? Don't get me wrong, I'm totally going to try it, just what do you suggest? I like the idea of flouro. I will also give that a whirl?

@james w 3 3, I will definitely try out tenkara. Thanks.
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Old 10-05-2014, 03:57 AM
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Default Re: Clear small stream tips and advice

Small streams and gin clear water is my thing.

I would agree with cab as far as upstream and 45ish. 6 and 7x is what i carry. Depending on flows and wind...I fish anything from a 7-8'6 1wt-4wt. Even though I personally prefer my smaller wt sticks.

Keep in mind....I am a dry fly snob. Just what I like. If your not getting any looks......I would first downsize my fly offerings.

If your spotting fish regularly....being newer...I am thinking they are seeing or sensing you before hand. That will put them down fast. Wade slow and low. On lower flows...keep ripples to a minimum. Watch where your shadow is casting....Also keep in mind.....even the lightest drag on a fly...well, is a drag. NEVER false cast over fish. Keep all false casting to a minimum if at all. Sometimes, on a small stream...a simple waterload is all that is needed.

Sometimes...just taking a day...leaving the rod behind...and just observe, will do wonders.
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Old 10-05-2014, 04:52 AM
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Default Re: Clear small stream tips and advice

Good post with lots of good questions. I fish smaller streams and rivers. If the fish are really wild they may be super sensitive to disturbances is the water. I usually avoid traveling downstream in the water. I move to the shore and inland to make my way up or down. Have you seen the fish raising and feeding on their own?
How did you determine there were fish in the pools and such? Did you see them darting past you or have you seen them lying in pools quietly? A good sign they will take your fly is if they are naturally feeding. If everything is quiet on the water then they may be spooked. Small grown in areas usually mean super stealth and slower movements.
Any pics of the water course you are fishing?
Sounds like quite a challenge.
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Old 10-05-2014, 05:02 AM
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Default Re: Clear small stream tips and advice

All great advice above.

If I were forced to sling only one fly on a small stream, it would be a 16 tan EHC. I've yet to get skunked with that offering.

I use 2 and 3wts, both with Rio Trout LT line and 9ft Rio leaders. I might not catch a lot of fish, but I catch enough to keep things interesting.
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Old 10-05-2014, 05:40 AM
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Default Re: Clear small stream tips and advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by wichaka View Post
All great advice above.

If I were forced to sling only one fly on a small stream, it would be a 16 tan EHC. I've yet to get skunked with that offering.
I agree. The elk hair casts a shadow that mimicks very well the wing membrane of many insects. The hollow floating aspect of the elk hair combined with the sharp pointy tips really strikes a nerve chord with the troutskies. I'll be experimenting more with it.

Man this thread is chalk full of good intel so far. Great forum, great people.
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Old 10-05-2014, 08:52 AM
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Default Re: Clear small stream tips and advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlob1one View Post
@comeonavs, when you have an 11' leader, how long is your rod? How can you cast effectively (other than bow and arrow) & accurately with such a light long leader (especially with dries)? Don't get me wrong, I'm totally going to try it, just what do you suggest? I like the idea of flouro. I will also give that a whirl?

@james w 3 3, I will definitely try out tenkara. Thanks.
I fish a lot of these small streams with either a TXL 7'10" 3wt or a 8'9" 3wt.I do a lot of roll cast and quite frankly just reaching out and flipping it around to where I am seeing fish vs a traditional cast . A lot of time I will have maybe 10' of floating line out. I do a lot of basically let the fly drift to completion, raise the rod tip and using that bit of tension then do a quick snap type of roll cast and it usuall works well enough.


As I thought about your question more and more I realized I forgot to mention do you watch the fish activity to see what they are doing. Are they just laying on the bottom motionless, or are they darting side to side to feed ? are they looking up and almost surfacing to feed aka eating just under the surface maybe dorsal fins breaking the surface? Sometimes if they are just laying on the bottom they just aren't eating.


PS I am jealous, I would love to fish that area, I live in Denver but go to SLC a lot for work and I think Utah is one of the prettiest spots I've seen.
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Old 10-05-2014, 10:21 AM
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Default Re: Clear small stream tips and advice

Mike: Welcome to the forum! It sounds like you have an awesome piece of water nearby to enjoy fly fishing once you figure out what you are doing wrong. I'm thinking that maybe the fish are spotting you first and just shutting down any eating activity. As the others have suggested, move much slower, try a longer leader and you didn't mention the size of flies you are using, but I would suggest you down size and maybe try a dry/dropper combo (EHC with a small nymph or emerger as a dropper, size 18 or 20). Best of luck and post some photos of the stream we would love to see this little gem.
Here is a link describing how to post a photo on a thread (realize that the forum doesn't allow you to directly upload a photo from your computer to a post, due to virus issues).
A Few Tips For Posting Pictures To The Forums;
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