Spring Fishing on Tributaries for Wild Trout

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Small fish are just as cool as big fish. Photos By: Louis Cahill

Several of our blog followers on numerous occasions have asked Louis and I if we ever catch small trout?

Jokingly, they mention, “All we see are trophy size fish in most of the pictures on the blog”. I assure you all, we catch plenty of small fish, and Louis and I both appreciate and photograph them on the water with the same gratitude and respect. It’s just fair to say, that a large portion of anglers out there are constantly striving to catch a trophy class fish. We tend to use our big fish photos as motivation and assurance that persistence pays off. However, it’s important to note, in most cases, there’s no distinction in our fishing technique. We pretty much fish the same way for all sizes of trout. We approach the fishing spots the same, we make the same casts and presentations, and we fish the same fly patterns. It really just boils down to whether or not it’s a numbers day or a big fish day, and we’re generally happy with either. Location does play a factor though for size of trout, but remember, a trophy fish should be defined by the water it inhabits. A 14-inch trout on a small creek has just as much right to hold the trophy status as a 20-inch fish on a big river.

Right now we’re well into the Spring fishing season. Water temperatures are warming, multiple species of bugs are hatching, and trout are really happy and aggressive with their rising metabolisms. There’s really no better time of year to fish one of your favorite small stream tributaries with dry flies for wild trout. Pack plenty of attractor patterns, but also make sure your covered with imitations for mayflies, caddisflies, and stoneflies. This time of year, there’s a good chance you could see appearances from all three family’s on the stream, and sometimes it can be very important you have a the right fly pattern, if the trout key-in on a specific bug and begin selectively feeding. You usually won’t have to pack lots of nymphs or emergers because most of the time wild trout will satisfied to take your solo adult patterns floating on the surface. They can however, increase your catch numbers by trailing one of them off the back of your dry fly. So plan your high elevation trout trip. I can assure you Louis and I will be following right behind you.

One final tip, bring a GPS handheld along with you if you have one. It can be easy to get turned around high up in the mountains if you lose track of the trail or take a wrong fork in the stream. It’s saved Louis and I multiple times having one along with us. Mark your vehicle as a waypoint before you head out, and have the GPS unit set to live-track mode. This way you’ll always be confident where you are on the stream and how to get back swiftly in the event someone gets injured or bad weather approaches.

Keep it Reel,

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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5 thoughts on “Spring Fishing on Tributaries for Wild Trout

  1. those are still respectable feesh!!! (gorgeous brookie)
    Nice Job!! Bring your A-game, san juan worms and a few scud/sow bug imitations. This years high water has been testing the ‘best of the best’ up here.
    Get out there and get wet.
    Tight Lines,

  2. Good post. Love small stream fishing as much or more than hunting for hogs. Plus getting into the bush gets me away from the spring crowds.

  3. My favorite time of year is now. The dry fly fishing is on, and its the perfect time to hit the smaller tribs for wild fish. I love hitting a particular local stream with nothing but a dry/dropper rig. Terrestrials are a favorite of the resident trout, and a slam of better-than-average size is fairly common. It makes for some extremely fun fishing.

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  5. I love fishing for wild trout, and size really doesn’t matter as long as I’m in a wild and/or pristine setting.

    Right now the upper elevation streams and rivers are just starting to flow at their optimal levels, and it’s an exciting time to be out on the waters (here in northern Utah).

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