Basic Skills to be Learned on Small Creeks

July 9, 2016

Its been a fun week, even after the water bumped up on the Yakima.  Big flows are a challenge and great job to all the anglers and guides that found success over the past 48 hours after the water spiked.  It appears that the water purveyors are flushing Salmon Smolt out of the river and trying to spur their migration toward the ocean.  Let's just hope this disruption pays off with a bumper crop of mature Salmon to nourish our trout in a few years. For anyone that wants to monitor conditions on the Yakima more closely, please Like or bookmark our Facebook Page and I'll continue making updates from the river.  

Skills to be Learned on Small Creeks

Well this past week was a great mix of wade fishing small creeks and rowing the Yakima River for me.  I got to take my son out scouting some creek water and we had a great time. 
It also reminded me how critical it is for beginner's to fish small creeks as they learn all the 
basic skills involved in becoming a proficient angler.  He is 9 years old and finally come to the age where I think he is ready to learn how to become a fly fisherman.  The young Padawan's training has begun.  Up to this point I have pretty much only let him fish spinners and bait, which is very intentional. 
 Now he has the bug and can't get enough.  He is memorizing the names of patterns, reading, studying, even tying pretty decent Chernobyl Ants!  Give him a year and some of the flies at Red's will be his handy work.  Anyway, we rode horses into do our annual creek fishing trip one day, and truck fished a creek another day. Both were productive outings and we both learned so much. I "re-learned" what it takes for a beginner to become a vet, and he learned how to handled both his body and fly in moving water.  

There are so many skills that I reviewed as I begin to watch and teach him to fish.  Here are a few that jumped out at me, and a video blog to add to this.

Basic Skills to be Learned on Small Creeks

  • Basic roll casting, fly stays IN the water during the cast.
  • Look up and behind you, monitor your back cast space constantly.
  • Make a plan, its either  roll cast or overhead.  There is no such thing as "both" at the same time haha.  I see this all the time.
  • Upstream dry fly fishing. 
  • Setting the hook without spazzing out. 
  • Roll Cast Recovery for upstream dry fly fishing.  As the fly floats back towards you don't strip all the way into your guides, just poise the rod into a roll cast position to take up the slack. After the drift roll cast into the air to begin your casting process.
  • How to wade in fast water.  Seriously here, how many beginners go wade until they almost fall down. Get in the water and see what its like on a small creek!
  • How to cross the river.  Learn to read the tailouts, cross here, and learn to pick up a good stick for wading across.
  • Insects.  Small creeks are a great place to take a break and hunt bugs.  In the wade fishing class I taught on Sunday, I was around the corner and one of my students saw a Golden Stonefly, changed her fly, and caught a fish because of this audible.  I was a proud coach!
  • Downstream dry fly fishing. Well, you fished your way up 1 mile, time to fish back down.  Skating dry flies and dropping them in is a great tip.
  • Swinging a nymph or wet fly.  Yes, swinging a nymph. Why not?  You get to feel them tackle the fly and it works great.  Especially when fishing downstream.
  • Getting your fly out of the sticks.  
  • Walking through trees and bushes with a fly.
  • Not stepping on your fly line.
  • Learning to control your fly, line, and rod.  You have to scrimmage out there!  The time you spend struggling will pay off huge.
  • Learning how to play, unhook, and release trout. 

Here is a shot of the small class that I took out on Sunday.  They learned a ton and would all agree there is much to be learned on small water!  If you or someone you know wants to hone these skills with the help of a coach, please schedule a Final Step Adventure Class and start catching fish and doing things right.  It is affordable, easy to schedule, and you'll get lots of time friendly mentor-ship in the process.  
  1. Hi ! I live inCarmichael , ca. I fish the American River upper and lower, can u give me flys that u recommend for. I also fish a lake called Burnside, Ca. 8,300 Elevation, Small and lots of plants and hold overs. David Just bought some gear from u, great on line service !