Small streams seeped into my soul years ago and never left. I still find them captivating and wonderful. Especially so when they hold trout.
Perhaps it’s because I started exploring vernal pools as a child, and the fascination I felt then for these transient ecosystems has never ebbed. Pollywogs, newts, fairy shrimp, daphnia, and mosquito larva appeared suddenly, for me mysteriously, from oversized puddles that might have been dry land the week before.
As a teenager, wandering further afield, I started exploring local Connecticut small creeks and seasonal flows where I found minnows, frogs, and bullheads. Then, one magical day I discovered a rocky rivulet, grabbed my Zebco outfit, and drifted a tiny piece of worm downstream. I felt a quick tug, and lifted my first brook trout to a mossy bank; an impossibly delicate and colorful creature compared to the usual aquatic fauna I found. It was a piscatory Oz to a Dorothy familiar only with black and white. I had only seen brook trout in outdoor magazine photos, along with other exotic creatures and locales I never expected to see when my horizon stretched only as far as I could ride my bike. My fishing travels now span the globe but I still prioritize small stream fishing and my days never disappoint.
If you enjoy fishing small streams as much as I do, a rod designed for just this kind of fishing will enhance your experience. A small-stream rod is more delicate, designed for lighter-weight line – a .three weight is ideal but can vary from two to four. It can be shorter – under 9 feet.
Small-stream fish are generally of modest size and they put up more of a tussle on a lighter rod and you can feel every tug. Lighter line makes for a more subtle presentation that is less likely to spook wary fish in tight quarters. And a rod that is six to twelve inches shorter than you are used to will allow you to fish in smaller spaces and closer in. The casting distance you give up is not particularly relevant. Not to be discounted is the fact that smaller rods and their accompanying reels are a little lighter. This may not seem like it matters, but if you are out stomping around a river all day, your casting arm will be less fatigued.
Carry an appropriate rod for your small water fishing. And never stop exploring around that next bend.