Five tips for fly fishermen/women

Posted on Mon May 17, 2021.

Five Tips for Trout Fly Fishermen/women who decides to challenge small rivers and streams

The pinnacle of excitement for trout fisherman is to fish approachable rivers and streams
When you visit Valley of the Rainbow Fly Fishing Estate and Wilderness Retreat ask management to explain the accessible rocky pools in the river running through the valley
This is the Witpoort river, a subsidiary to the Steelpoort river
There are many tricks that can make fishing small rivers for trout fairly easy.
Small rivers and streams are however can result in frustrations for most fly fisherman, but that doesn’t have to be a reason to leave all of that good fishing to someone else.

Tip One: Choose the Proper Rod Weight and Length
If you only own a 9′ 6 weight you might want to do some rod shopping, because you will have a difficult time casting with dense trees.
Another factor to consider is rod weight; using a stiff 6 weight you will not be able to load line on the short accurate casts needed for effective small stream fishing for trout.
This is one occasion where your best weapon for easy casting will be a 6-7 foot long 2-4 weight rod.
Most anglers don’t already own a rod this size, but everyone should.
Try casting a 6 weight all day and suddenly picking up a 2 weight, it feels really good!

Tip Two: Fish your way Upstream Not Down
If you try to walk down stream and fish for trout you will stir up the water and greatly effect your catch rate.
One step into a batch of mud or mucky sediment and you could all but ruin your chances of catching a fish for a while.
Walking upstream to the trout you will not need to be concerned with stepping in the mud, because any trout that see it will have already been casted to.
Also remember that trout swim upstream to catch food flowing downstream

Tip Three: Use a Short Leader
You can save your 12 foot leaders on small river trips, they will only cause you pain and anguish.
Suggest you tie up a small 6′ leader down to 4-5x tippet and call it good.
The longer your leader is the more problems it can cause on backcasts, not to mention it will give you less control and accuracy when casting around objects and hitting a very tight little spot.

Tip Four: Learn to Roll-cast
Roll casting is pretty basic and you can get good at it with very little practice.
Once you master this cast you will find that 90% of the time it will be your best option while fishing for trout in small rivers or streams.

Tip Five: Make the right Fly Choices
It’s impossible for me to predict what will be hatching or what will be the best flies for your small river or stream.
Will however recommend a bigger fly to the fly you use for dam fishing
It could be that since most small rivers or streams don’t get a lot of fishing pressure, the trout are only mildly educated, so bigger flies are that get their attention.

Final Small river and Stream tips:
Fly fishing in small rivers and streams can take a while to get used to, but you can easily get away from the crowds.
Chances are there won’t be anyone in earshot to hear your frustations every time you hook a tree branch on your back cast.
Don’t forget to practice catch and release on these little rivers, because they can be over fished very easily.
You should also keep your little streams that you do find close to your chest, because you just never know when someone will tell their brother in law, who will tell their sister in law, who will tell etc.

Jamie van Zijl

Owner Valley of the Rainbow Fly Fishing Estate and Wilderness Retreat