A FEW GOOD THINGS
The saying, ‘good things come in small packages’ may or not apply when it comes to small creeks and small creek fly rods. For me they do, because the two, along with a few essentials such as dry flies, (leave the nymphs and bigger stuff back at the truck) clippers, lots of tippet material and a sense of adventure never fail to reward me with a sense of adventure and fun that I experienced as a young pre-teen fishing grommet exploring local creeks and soaks with a sense of excitement as to what I might discover.
These days I know there will be trout where I explore, that’s because I explore where trout live, mostly cold headwater streams or tributaries that flow into them. Finding fish in these overgrown and constricted waters isn’t hard, in fact, often the hardest part of the equation, once you’ve reached or discovered the creek that is, is locating areas where there are enough deeper pockets and runs for the trout to maintain residence. In these creeks, the water IS always cold enough, the riparian cover IS always thick enough, and the trout ARE always hungry, so just as long as you can find water deeper than six inches at the height of summer or into Autumn, you will find fish. Note I said find fish and not catch fish? Well that’s because getting into and along these usually overgrown creeks is the biggest challenge, and getting a fly into what may be an area no bigger than a dinner plate amongst a maze of obstacles is where the skill and fun comes in.
Many of the places like these that I fish don’t offer long days of many casts, in fact most require more scrambling than casting, with a few offering no more than a 100 metres or so in total length that is even possible to navigate and get off a cast. Sometimes these areas are simply sections of slightly larger creeks that would themselves be called ‘twigwaters’ in modern flyfishing jargon, or the first few metres of a tributary where it flows into what is already a diminutive creek that few anglers even bother with except in the more open sections.
A few of my favourite ‘hidden gems’ simply get overlooked because where they might be visible at roadsides or bridges they look too overgrown or un-inspiring to warrant even a second glance, yet on a special few I’ve discovered that if I push up or downstream through the protective and shrouding vegetation it is possible to find areas that seem almost ‘cathedral and reverent’ in nature. You may see what I’m getting at here, after all, I realise this is a fishing magazine, but in many of these places, the fish ARE simply the excuse to go in the first place. Many are the times that’s all these diminutive waters offer, bush bashing, tight short casts, small trout and lots of them, and at times that’s all I want, seclusion and plenty of trout eating my dry fly, but it’s the sense of calm reverence and seclusion in a few favourite small waters that draws me back season after season, and has me continually exploring in search of others.
The favourites that come to mind often as not find me catching a few trout to justify carrying in the fly rod, and then spending an hour or more sometimes, just sitting quietly under an old beech tree, or upon a moss covered boulder or fallen log and listening and watching what is happening for that brief time I’m there, and realizing that this is continual whether I’m there to see and hear what’s happening or not, and understanding that these good things are available for us if we protect them for future generations.