Monday, 1 June 2015

Finally, a True Small Stream - USA 2015

With all the high water about I've been hunting around for a small stream to fish. It hasn't been easy because Americans don't seem to share my idea of what a small stream is. I've been pointed to so many 'creeks' and 'upper' rivers on the premise that they are small only to arrive and find them the size of the middle sections of the River Usk back home (a big river in my books). And high, turbulent and mostly dirty. But someone finally got it and sent me along a back road to what is quite simply one of the prettiest little meadow streams I have fished. At times I was compelled to pause and marvel at the white-capped mountains in the distance and the lush yellow flowering meadows. It's hard not to be happy and carefree in a place like this.


Being a meadow stream in a flat basin the river snakes its way through many tight 's' bends where the concave portion of each meander cuts under the bank, offering ideal habitat for the stream's resident brown trout population. Brown trout just love undercuts don't they? A stonefly nymph cast right up against the bank had a good chance of being swallowed. Any more than 10 cm too far from the bank and it would be ignored. It called for precision casting and more than a handful of occasions of snagged grass and willow.




I found the browns generally hugged the margins or concealed themselves in undercuts while whitefish preferred the faster water and would also be taken from the head of the deeper pools where the current tumbled in. The fishing has been tough in Montana so far - I have drifted nymphs through perfect looking water with not so much as a nibble but today was one of those days where I just knew that if I presented the stonefly nymph in a likely looking spot more often than not my heart would be set racing by the disappearing act of my indicator. My final tally was something like eight brown trout and eleven whitefish and I lost many more.


I even caught a little brook trout. When I first caught sight of it I grew excited, thinking it may have been my first bull trout, but the vermiculated patterning on its back and tail soon dispelled that.



To satisfy my craving for truly small stream fishing I spent the first afternoon right up in the headwaters where I could unleash my 7'6 3wt for the first time this trip. Here the stream flowed crystal clear through a primeval looking forest where the trees were covered in moss and the place had a general feeling of perpetual dampness. This forest felt very different to the typical Ponderosa pine forests of Montana. I managed to tempt only one brown trout to take a nymph but it happened to be my first brown trout in America so it will be remembered forever.


My first American brown trout

The fishing is improving and with weeks to go yet in America that thought fills me with excitement.

[With apologies for some of the poor photo quality in this post]

6 comments:

  1. Justin
    Beautiful stream, with some awesome trout as a bonus. Thanks for sharing

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    1. It was a good place to cast a fly, Bill. Thanks for stopping by to leave a comment.

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  2. I'm glad the advice paid off Justin. Now I have to find time to get over there...

    -Dean

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    1. Thanks again John. I would have otherwise passed this little gem by. I hope you find the creek in a similar mood if you find some time.

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  3. A great looking stream and just the sort of place I hope to fish when I visit the USA in a couple of years . As for the Usk I am fishing it in July. Great Blog..

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    1. Hi Andy. Thanks for leaving a comment. I would be more than happy to help out with info in advance of your trip. Good luck on the Usk!

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