Trout Fishing in Small Streams

There are unique problems to fishing in small streams. These tips will also work in larger streams.

Fish Senses


A Large Trout in a Small Stream

A Large Trout in a Small Stream


In Fish Senses & How They Use Them – Part 2,” I mentioned that fish can hear an angler’s heavy tread. Fish can also see anglers. It is important to stay back from the bank and use short casts and generally — be sneaky!

Noise, talking, heavy walking, the sound of a boat motor — all of these spook fish. However, how much fish are spooked – lies in direct relationship to the fish’s experience with anglers.  Fish experienced with anglers know they should stay gone, and usually do.

Fish in out-of-the-way places may be momentarily spooked, but generally will return.   There’s less for them to eat in a small stream.

Facing Into the Current

As a general rule, anglers should do their fishing in an upstream direction. Why?  Facing into the current is the way trout breathe easiest.

Another tip: In small streams, it is difficult to catch multiple fish in quick succession.  It usually requires a wait between castings.

Learning to Read Water

Anglers with experience seem to have no problem understanding what the “water is telling them.”  They know that trout prefer the shade of overhanging branches, tree stumps in the water, rocks or weedy banks.

If you are near a waterfall or rapids, cast your line into the deep water pockets below these natural features. Also, look for water that appears darker than the rest of the water. They often signify a deep pool.

What if a stream offers none of these conditions? Look for places where there is a natural “V” in the water. Trout often lie directly behind these places.


Learning and using these tips are all a part of experience. By fishing a stream multiple times, you learn to understand what the water is telling you.

Remember, the trout in “small streams do not have as much food available as in large areas. If you are quiet, stay out of direct site and offer an interesting morsel, you are likely to see some action!


This blog is a companion to my website:

Published in: on July 8, 2009 at 9:21 am  Comments Off on Trout Fishing in Small Streams