Originally Posted by bear 007
Try them from the side if you can, you'll have to be even sneakier, use a reach or slack line cast and make them count, you'll only get a couple of shots before they scatter.
That's pretty much how I dealt with tail fish for many years Tim. Small stream = get low, crawl if needed along shore to cut distance. Fish morning or evening to avoid being in direct sunlight or for your cast to be illuminated by direct sunlight.
Once in position relax, observe. Try to spot out every fish in the area so you don't end up spooking one before you ever get a fly on the water. If you spook one in low clear water in a tail you usually have nixed the whole pool except the very head current. So move into position slow, look carefully before making the next 2 or 3 feet. Actually this is a larger part of the game for me, not the catching. If I move in correctly and watch patiently my chances of catching the trout are in the high 90's.
When you are fishing a small stream there is no such thing as going too slow or not covering enough water. The game is to target and catch the fish as you find them. Short casts from close range cause little disturbance. Often when you are close enough you can drift the fly with a high rod tip and have only leader on the water. That will greatly reduce drag.
Pay close attention to the sides of the stream before you commit to the approach. If one side offers more brush or boulders that will break up your profile and allow you to blend in, then take that side. Do that even if it is your weak side for casting, soon you will have no weak side. I could go on but then I'd need to save it into blog huh? Honest, I spent more time doing what I was just saying than I could ever guess at. I've never been one of those guys to lead off with how many years I've been fishing or "I fish 300 days a year", because I have no real idea how many days I've spent doing this
Never even close to 300 days a year though, did you ever do the math on those kind of claims? Lets just say I did it enough that I'm no longer in a hurry.
Hope those thoughts and memories help,