Small streams are sweet

I never kill many fish; not because I believe the fishery won't stand
it, but more because they aren't welcome at home. My wife has a strong
aversion to the smell of fish around the house and sometimes when I
get some flathead and cook it on the BBQ out the back she can still
smell it. She is fine with it in a restaurant, but it is just any hint
of fishy smell is a big no-no.

Maybe as a consequence of that I don't particularly chase big fish. I
like to catch them of course, but often I would rather catch ten small
trout in a stream, rather than one big trout in a lake. So over the
last week I have been visiting, with some Victorian friends, many
small northern streams. Fishing these predominately with small dry
flies is such fun I can barely even begin to describe it. Most streams
still have plenty of water and the eager little trout will come up and
inspect your offerings.
There are real bonuses of this style of stream fishing and that
includes timing. You don't need to start early and probably don't need
to be on the water until midday. This allows the temperature to rise
and terrestrial insects to start moving about. If they end up on the
water the trout soon find them. And rising trout will also find your
little fly as well. Small streams usually offer some protection from
the strong sea breezes we get later in the day as well so you are not
battling with the wind all day.
I use a few different flies from beetles, to Red Tags, Royal Wulffs
and little hoppers. The best fly I have found though is called a
Sharpies Thredbo Special - brown in size 16. It is a Klinkhammer style
emerger pattern that hangs half under water supported by a parachute
hackle. It is rarely refused by a feeding trout.
My favourite rod has become a 6" 6" #3 Vision and it is a beauty. It
is not expensive, but the performance is superb. As explained earlier
the little streams are generally wind protected by bankside growth and
a little rod like this is essential to get under the trees.
The other great thing about the small stream caper is you don't need
much tackle - a box of flies, some tippet material, cutters, polaroids
and that's about it.

David Scholes once said to me "it is not how big a fish you catch that
makes you a satisfied fly fisher, but how small a fish you can catch
and give you joy." Hear hear.

A little note to end - Beware of snakes. There are a few around. I
wade wet in these little streams, but tread carefully. Best idea is to
wear some lightweight waders, or at least some gaiters for a bit of
protection and carry a couple of compression bandages.

Mike Stevens

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