Tackle Talk on Small Summertime Streams

August 13, 2018

Now is the time to hit what I like to call "summer streams".  You know the ones that are so cold in June they will permanently cripple your legs by standing in them for more than 15 minutes. Or they have so many mosquitoes your kids are scarred physically for days, emotionally for years.  Yes, those streams.  The water is warm enough to wet wade and swim on a hot afternoon and the hummingbird sized mosquitoes are dead.  One of our favorite summer streams is the Upper Cle Elum River where Red's is the exclusive fly fishing outfitter in the USFS portion of this stream WAY up in the mountains on a dirt road.  It's a wonderful place to fish.  It's my "special place" for small stream fishing and I never miss an opp to teach the Fly Fishing 301 class up there.
On Saturday I took a rambunxious group of anglers out for a day of learning some basic fly f fishing skills and showing them a place where they can return and fish without the aid of a guide/instructor.  We got some great stuff done!  We had everyone from their mid 20's to mid 80's in tow. Everyone caught a fish or two and learned a ton about having fun on these small streams.

Being Comfortable Means Having Fun

I have seen many good days of "catching" ruined by anglers that are ill prepared or uncomfortable.  With some basic skills and a few decent flies everyone will get some action on our Fly Fishing 301 trips.  If our students are truyl outfitted correctly they will have a ton of fun. If they aren't, even if they do catch fish often they don't have a good time.  Without the right gear, they might stumble and get wet, stub a toe, get scratched up by some bushes, or worse yet take a spill and get banged up.
I want everyone pursuing fish in the mountains over big rocks to be ready for some adventure.  These trips combine a bit of mountaineering skill, hunting skills, navigation, and fly fishing.  All combined.  

Footwear for Wading Rugged Mountain Streams

This is critical. Anglers without boots are slooooooowwwwww.  Drives me nuts.  If you don't have traction, ankle support, and protected toes a hike up and down a big boulder stream is no fun.  Here are a few options in order of preference.
  1.  Simms Intruder Wet Wading Boot - I like the felt sole. 
  2.  Traditional Wading Boot and Neoprene Sock - These will be a bit bulky (not like the Intruder boot) because they are designed for thick socks and waders.
  3. Close Toe Felt Soled Wading Shoe - The Simms RipRap Felt Wading Shoe The downside is no ankle support.
  4. Felt Sole Wading Sandal - Simms RipRap Wading Sandal - Again, no ankle support.

Why a Wading Staff?

My opportunity to rant. It's not a crutch!  Its a tool that allows you to move faster all day long.  People without staffs on big rocks are slow, slow slooooooooowwwwWWWW.  They don't keep up when moving from spot to spot.  Also, the proof is that everyone ends up grabbing some crappy stick that is flexible, ill fitting, and probably wouldn't support their weight if they really did stumble haha.  Staffs allow to move quick, power up steep banks in and out of the river, and make some burley crossings that would otherwise be impossible. Do you ever see mountain climbers not using treking poles? They too walk on precarious footing.  Same as us on these boulder based streams.
I bring a wading staff on every one of these classes and always offer it up for loan to anyone that needs it. Here is a pic from Saturday. Me now using a wooden stick and George with my sweet wading staff haha. He normally has one but forgot it at home. 85 years young and still roaming these rivers.

Video on Gear for Small Summer Stream Fishing - Essential Gear


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