Micro-Flyfishing, Part 3

The joy and satisfaction to be found in small stream fishing is dependent on the energy you put into it. There’s nothing mystical in the process. Sure, frustration is a part of the game, but what pursuit, what challenge in life, is lacking this element to some degree? Tiny streams are always a challenge to fish, but their challenge overcome is easily worth the time and energy involved.

Focus on the pay-offs here: in all likelihood you’ll have solitude and beauty for surroundings. Your labors in the angling microcosm will unveil a whole new sense of exploration and adventure. Actually, your pursuit of small native trout, or of wild fishes in general, will be looked upon as “fun.” Other people won’t be viewing you as having fun because you’ll be alone, or in enough seclusion that a fishing partner probably won’t see you land that rare, big fish, the one that puts a grin on your face and makes an indelible impression on your memory bank.

In micro-flyfishing you adapt your expectations to meet the small and beautiful. As you adapt and change your expectations from the usual, and as you catch and release six and seven-inch native trout with micro-tackle, you’ll begin to see the silken and multi-hued skins of fish as a form of living poetry. They’re like the textures and aromas of the varied plants and animals surrounding you on the stream.

As you bore deeply into the world of small stream trout, the wildness that surrounds you keeps the body tuned and balanced. When a nine or 10-inch trout rises from a plunge-pool of a five-foot waterfall, you’ve hooked a relative monster. When you hook a rare 17-inch brown in such a pool (or from another totally unexpected site) the micro-realm is suddenly massive!

You’ve discovered a little world of your own. No, you haven’t escaped from the reality of seven billion human souls, but very few others have ventured this far from the road or path, and that feels pretty damn good.

About rivertoprambles

Welcome to Rivertop Rambles. This is my blog about the headwaters country-far afield or close to home. I've been a fly-fisher, birder, and naturalist for most of my adult life. I've also written poetry and natural history books for thirty years. In Rambles I will mostly reflect on the backcountry of my Allegheny foothills in the northern tier of Pennsylvania and the southern tier of New York State. Sometimes I'll write about the wilderness in distant states, or of the wild places in the human soul. Other times I'll just reflect on the domestic life outdoors. In any case, I hope you enjoy. Let's ramble!
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10 Responses to Micro-Flyfishing, Part 3

  1. janusik4341 says:

    Nicely written. Good view points as a beginner fly fisherman I am looking for those area.

    • Thank you! Look for these streams in the headwater regions of our trout rivers and most anywhere else where little feeders enter the main flows. Fishing guidebooks and topographic maps and tackle shops can be very useful resources.

  2. Luis says:

    I would like to hear about the equipment & the flies from you!!

  3. Luis,
    Check out Part 1 of this series for a basic intro on equipment and flies for this kind of fishing. Short limber fly rods with floating line and a tapered leader no longer than the rod work best. Attractor fly patterns, terrestrial patterns, beadhead nymphs, streamers, etc. can be good at times. If you have specific questions on anything, I’d be happy to try answering them.

  4. thosnut says:

    Nice story. Small streams are often overlooked, but they do hold many treasures for those who are willing to endure its hardships. That’s my kind of fishing 🙂

  5. Thosnut,
    Small streams hold treasures for those willing to accept their challenges. They can be addicting, too, in a healthy way, of course. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  6. Mel says:

    Well, Walt, all I can say is “Bravo”. Another informative post on small stream intricacies. I am so tempted to get off the beaten path and fish “quiet” water.

    • Thank you, Mel. As you know, each season presents a rather small window of opportunity to fish this kind of water. Here, that window has been open a little longer than usual, so I’ve been jumping at the chance. I know you’ve been busy of late, but I hope those opportunities remain open out your way (a great fishing region, as I recall). Good luck!


  7. Ken G says:

    My sentiments exactly Walt while I wander small streams here in Illinois for smallies. With near drought conditions, I’ve had go back off on a couple. Fishing them now would be a form of torture for the fish. Can’t bring myself to do it.

    • Ken, Sounds as though your region is in more of a drought than we’re in here. Didn’t know that. Our streams are still looking pretty good from all the rain that started back in April. I wish that our western and southwestern states could share in some of it.


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