Small Stream Fishing 2017

June 12, 2017

I love this time of year!  The "common man" can head out and roam our wonderful public lands and fish endless miles of streams without a guide!  We are so lucky to own and have access to the amazing federal lands in the US.  Red's is here to help support your adventures. While we do have some guided options and mentor-ship classes, this is a trip that you don't need a guide or rower to have a great outing.  I made some updates to an older article and have some advice for all anglers, but some specific recommendations for fisherman on our local waters.

Small Stream Adventures and Tips

Big trout are both fun to look at and catch.  For many of us though, especially DIY anglers, there is no greater opportunity than small stream walk 'n wade fishing on public water.  The fish are typically ample and favor dry flies.  They are usually small, but not always, and as long as you don't let your ego get in the way of a good time you will find great reward in these little fisheries.  Especially if you are still mastering the art of fly casting.  It is fly fishing in its purest form and beyond your initial introduction, you won't always need a guide.  Plus there are likely some streams in your own backyard that are viable fishing options.  String up and get your feet wet close to home.  Contrary to what popular fishing magazines might imply, you don't need to travel to Chile, Alaska, Montana, Bolivia, Russia, or Christmas Island to have a rewarding fly fishing experience.  There is likely a small stream near you that will produce fond memories and new discoveries in fly fishing and casting.
We are fortunate to get to fish some neat places with Red's, but don't think we haven't forgotten how much fun it is to go Creekin'.  Not long ago I was using nothing but an old ball cap for a fly box, and worn out sneakers for wading boots.  In fact, almost all of our fishing roots here can be traced right back to some little some little creek somewhere with dinky trout.  Hopefully we can get you motivated to do the same.

The Best Fishing of the Year is Still Ahead!

This last Saturday marked the official opener for most small streams here in Washington State, and likely the opener for many other states across the country.  Small streams typically open later than the big streams to protect spawning trout because they are much more vulnerable in their natal streams.  Regarding the official rules, be sure to check the official regulations in your state.  Here is a direct link to the Washington State Fishing Regulations.  

Local Streams in Central Washington

The creeks and small streams will still be high and cold, so don't feel bad if you made plans to mow the lawn and clean the garage.  Earn your domestic allowance up front and cash it in later this month.  Some of the streams in our state that we like are the Teanaway River, Manastash Creek, Cooper River, Taneum Creek, Tieton River, Rattlesnake Creek, Little Naches River, Icicle Creek, Naneum Creek, and more.  We even offer something called a Destination Class on some of these waters.  

This is a $99 class that makes sure your fishing day is organized, educational, you park in the right spot, and your precious day off results in time well spent instead of on a wild goose chase.   If you really want to learn a destination in depth, get a guided creek trip and we'll teach you how to return without us and fish it effectively on your own.  

A Few Tips for Creek Fishing This Season

  • Choose a "known" location for your first few trips.  Don't waste a tank of gas trying to find some off the beaten path no name creek and DO NOT BRING YOUR WIFE on exploratory trips haha.  Even the popular destinations don't get much fishing pressure, don't ruin a potentially great experience by trying to be a hero.
  • Be prepared, a good fishing pack with water, protein bars, a small first aid kit, Benadryl, Advil, etc. is nice to have.  Don't let a bee sting or a stiff knee get in the way of being successful.
  • Wear long pants, fishing guide pants.  We like lightweight, but tough pants that dry fast. Pants eliminate scratches, bug bites, and you will have more fun!
  • Wear neoprene wading socks under your wading boots, no sandals.  The water is cold, the terrain often rough, and the neoprene sock/wading boot combo is the best. 
  • Get a small creek rod.  Seriously people.  Some of these streams are 9' wide, you don't need a 9' rod.  My personal favorite is the 7' 3 Weight Redington Butterstick for the smallest streams.  If you are spring creek fishing, think about graphite in the  A 2-3 weight is about right, it will enhance your casting, catching, and overall fishing experience.  We have a variety of small creek and small stream fly rods. 
  • Get a USFS map.  Most of these streams will show up on a USFS map even if they are on state owned or WDFW owned lands.  
  • Look for bridge crossings.  You can use your map to identify bridge crossings or access points, this is a great way to access the stream or get a feel for the size or clarity before you hike in.
  • Break down your rod, use the sock to transport.  In the amount of time it takes to untangle one hang up as a result of dragging your rod through the brush you can setup/string up a rod.  It is a fine casting instrument, carry it in the sock down to the creek, string up, fish, then put it back in the sock and carry it back to your car.  You will protect your investment and save time.
  • Fish dry flies.  You don't fish small mountainous creeks to nymph.  Come on man!
  • Bring bug spray, with DEET preferred.  I have been "bugged" out on several fishing trips.
  • Get a Buff, keeps the mosquitoes out of your ears.  Simply helps you have a better time.
  • Stash a 6 pack of beer in the creek near your car.

Flies for Mountain Creek Fishing

Dry flies should make up about 90% of your fly selection strategy on small streams. This is the heart and soul of the sport!  We have a pre-built selection of dry flies.