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Fly Fishing Small Streams by John Gierach

Fly Fishing Small Streams by John Gierach
Fly Fishing Small Streams by John Gierach

If you’re a fly fisherman, John Gierach’s name will be a familiar one. The author of many fly fishing books including:

Gierach’s amusing and witty narratives are full of hard-won fishing knowledge that is relevant for beginners and experts, alike.

In Fly Fishing Small Streams, Gierach provides excellent advice on how to stalk and catch the smaller fish that live in smaller streams. Equally relevant for traditional fly fisherman and budding Tenkara anglers like myself, Gierach explains how small streams differ from larger ones in an engaging manner that anyone can understand without a lot of technical jargon.

He argues that fly fishing small streams, beaver ponds, and feeder creaks to small lakes, is nearly a different sport than traditional fly fishing where the object is to catch the biggest fish possible. That won’t happen if you fish a small stream where there’s less food to “make” big trout and where the waters are so clear, that they’re easily spooked.

Stealth, he explains, is the key to catching trout on small streams. Don’t wade. Crouch down low along the bank and hide behind boulders when making your cast. Upstream or down stream casts, drifts and dapping are fine. Dark day, dark fly. Whatever works. Trout behave like trout, no matter what gear you use to catch them.

I’ve taken Gierach’s advice to heart in my struggle to become a Tenkara angler, or more precisely an angler who doesn’t use a reel, since I do whatever works. Stealth really does work and my success on the water has risen dramatically since I took this to heart.

Fly Fishing on Small Streams is an enjoyable read packed with a ton of technical knowledge and experience. The writing style is light and casual, but don’t let the fool you. Gierach knows how to catch little fish and you will to if you put his experience to use.

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    • Indeed. I realize you’ve been telling me this all along. But Gierach’s books also appeal to me as an outdoor writer. They’re very enjoyable reading in addition to providing excellent fishing advice.

  1. “Stealth…is the key to catching trout on small streams. Don’t wade. Crouch down low along the bank and hide behind boulders when making your cast.” Best advice ever. Also, don’t wear a red shirt.

  2. I’m a big fan of the books and illustrations of James Prosek, particularly “Joe and Me…” and “Fishing the 41st…” (parallel, that is), if you haven’t discovered him yet. Fishing is the background but it is the breadth of personal experience and the good writing that are so compelling.

    I see on his website that there are a couple of other titles I want to read as well.

  3. I’m looking to get into fishing in small creeks on trips, would this provide some carry over to those not fly fishing?

  4. Many very small streams hold very sizable fish indeed. Large, mature fish will move upstream to spawn in many river systems and some linger in those small streams for long periods.

    This is the rule rather than the exception in New Zealand stream systems where 5-12 pound fish are routinely found in head-water streams. As usual, stealth is most important when fishing over older, well educated fish. You usually only get one or two casts at best before the fish notes your presence and makes itself scarce ;D

    BTW, fishing for landlocked salmon in the NH in Connecticut R between the lakes can be a blast.

  5. Forgot to mention you should bring some spare mono & leaders if you fish for Landlocks. They will show you the very real limitations of a Tenkara rig in about 3 seconds hehe.

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