Small Stream, Big Fish

Big flies for big fish isn’t an unusual concept.

The logic behind using big flies is to get larger fish to bite, while simultaneously weeding out smaller ones. At the same time, big flies imitate high-energy meals, which is enough to draw large fish looking to expend little energy.

This technique works in big rivers such as the Deerfield and Saco (both known to produce big browns) and even small streams. It is a low-volume technique.

I tried this technique recently during a brief evening trip to a small stream. I started the day throwing dry-droppers and picked up a few brookies. However, the dry-fly bite didn’t materialize like I thought, even with the warm weather.

With only a half-hour of day light, I tied on a white crystal Woolly Bugger. Over the next few minutes I went one-for-four, all six- to 10-inch brookies. They struck and fought hard.

I’ve heard rumors of even larger fish in this stream. Unfortunately, I got no other takes, and I had to leave, as it got dark. I may return in the near future with a few more streamers in hand.

A wild streamer eater from the Upper Connecticut
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3 thoughts on “Small Stream, Big Fish

  1. Nice looking brookies! I’m looking to get another rod for some smaller streams. Would you mind sharing what size rod you’re using?

    1. Of course! I use a 7 ft 3 wt TFO fiberglass rod. I like the versatility of this rod; you can throw dries, nymphs, and small streamers. Also, the fiberglass build helps greatly with bite detection. The only downside is that it is a little stiff so you don’t get the supple action of a shorter rod.

  2. Brian, I fish a small wooded meadow stream near my house almost everyday. From experience I would suggest a medium, medium fast rod that roll casts well. In tight quarters not having to find backcast room I find invaluable. I have used several rods, starting with a 8.5 ft 4 wt a bit long and too heavy. I have found a 7 ft 3wt fenwick aeros decent though a little short for roll casting and and line control. I have settled on an old Sage 7′ 10″ 2 wt, great small dry fly anbd soft hackle rod, but a little light for streamers and nymphing and a Winston 7′ 6″ 3 wt just great all around. They both roll cast well and are dead accurate. Handle the occasional 18+” surprisingly well. With all the lighter weights 7x seems like a steel cable.
    I don’t mean to name drop. I got both rods discounted when the lines were discontinued. At the shows I have cast several of the medium and lower priced rods. I found they throw a line as well as the high end rods, roll cast as well or better and feel more like a fishing rod than a casting rod. Good luck.

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