Sunday, August 6, 2017

Small Flies for Small Stream Native Fish

I'm not much into fishing really tiny stuff, but sometimes I have to. If the trout are feeding on needhamis or tricos, or small caddis, I'll fish small flies on 6x or 7x, and if I'm targeting micro species I'll go as far down as sz. 30, but other than that I'm usually a big fly guy. Yesterday, however, I decided to experiment with some small stuff on some small streams. I fished nothing but 20's and 22's, and the results were fairly interesting.

I started out on a stream that was pretty much a mildly wet ditch last year. I wasn't expecting to catch any brook trout there. In fact I hadn't in nearly four years, and even when I did I caught nothing over 3 inches.

I started out catching pretty much what I expected, a bunch of dace.

After a bunch of those beautiful little guys, a tiny little brookie jumped on my fly! What a surprise! So glad to see you, little fella, swim fast.

Then I caught this guy:

WOW! That must be the oldest fish in this stream. I had never even seen a fish like that in this stream before, even back in the "good old days" before the drought when it was just loaded with little brook trout. And he at a #20 olive brassie... who would have thought?

I left that stretch of stream content with the fact that I had caught the biggest fish there and went down to a place with some beaver dams. There, I encountered some more CT natives. 

On my way to the next stream, I passed a little ditch that I had spooked some fish in a couple times before. I had to try....

The next two streams produced a couple thousand common shiners, at least that's what it felt like. That's all I could catch, aside from one lone brookie and a pair of pumpkinseeds. Sometimes fishing tiny flies really is a disadvantage.

It's toadlet time! The american toad tadpoles have meta-morphed into toadlets and are all over the banks of the rivers. These guys are so tiny they are at the mercy of insects and arachnids they could end up eating in two years. Keep in mind while you are walking streamside, you are probably crushing tons of these cute little dudes. Keep your eyes open.


  1. RM
    Beautiful stream and outstanding brook trout landed---just curious what length and weight fly rod were you using? Thanks for sharing

    1. For these "sidewalk size" or smaller streams I'm always fishing my 6'6" St. Croix Avid 3wt.

  2. Beautiful Brook from a ditch. Those little toads are amazing. The wet weather is keeping them happy.
    Tie, fish, write and photo on...

    1. Of all the amphibians out there, toads are the ones that could really give or take the extra water. I've found them dead in the side pools before, presumably trapped and drowned by the rising river.

  3. Those are some nice little fish and cute little toads. I've walked gingerly through areas where I've seen them before. With them hopping around it's like the ground is moving.

    1. They are prolific breeders, probably because those tiny juveniles are so fragile most won't even survive.