It’s late July…daytime temperatures are in the mid-90s and the larger rivers are starting to warm up and are still a bit crowded, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed with the thought of having to contend with other anglers on the more heavily trafficked waters and concerned about the rising water temperatures.
By exploring the smaller, cooler tributaries of these larger rivers, you can still find great fishing opportunities, and with a little bit of effort, uncover some hidden gems. In this blog post, we‘ll explore the benefits of fly fishing in smaller, cooler spring creeks, and explain why it can be a great way to escape the sometimes–crowded waters of the larger rivers.
Benefit #1: Reduced Angler Pressure
This is an obvious one but one of the main benefits of venturing away from the more heavily trafficked rivers and seeking out smaller spring creeks is the potential to find much less angler pressure. This can be a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the more crowded waters and avoid the potential competition of other fly fishers competing for the same spot. We’ve all been there at some point where fly fishing feels like combat fishing or the boat hatch is more insane than the actual hatch on the river.
There are many different reasons people choose to take up fly fishing, however, I do believe that most anglers took up the hobby in search of a bit of quietness, stillness, and the desire to step away from their much too busy lives to just be. Don’t get me wrong, you will find me first in line at the boat ramp going elbow to elbow when I hear the green drakes start to go on the lower Henry’s Fork BUT there is a lot to be said about those quiet moments where you find yourself immersed in an intimate environment filled with nothing but the sounds of nature.
Benefit #2: Learning New Water
Fly fishing smaller, cooler spring creeks can also be a great way to fish uncharted territory. Most of these creeks likely haven’t been fished much, if at all, which means you’ll be able to get away from the well–known holes and explore new areas. The potential to uncover some hidden gems and find fish that haven’t been exposed to much can be exciting and very rewarding.
If you have been wanting to try out a pattern you recently tied up or if there is a new technique you’ve been wanting to try, these quieter spring creeks provide the opportunity to try new things. Fishing smaller creeks is not for everyone, most likely you are not going to find that monster 24″ trout but rather be willing to fail before you hit the fish jackpot. The reward may come in the form of catching a 7″ brookie after weeks of researching on a map where to go and the 6-mile mosquito filled hike into the spot. Or maybe the reward is cracking a cold one with your buddy after you just got skunked. Whatever it looks like for you, I guarantee you won’t regret heading off to quieter spots.
Benefit #3: Cooler Temperatures
Smaller spring creeks are usually very shallow and well–oxygenated, which means they can typically remain cooler than their deeper, larger counterparts. This can be great for the fish, as the cooler temperatures can help them to remain active and lively throughout the heat of the summer. But it can also be great for you, as it can provide for a much more pleasant fishing experience, as you don’t have to deal with the oppressive heat that can come with fishing the larger rivers.
How do I find these quieter spots?
Well, it is going to take a bit of research or you can grab a 12-pack, head to your local fly shop, and chat with your good buddies there for some intel. Yes, I say 12-pack, a 6-pack is just insulting. Look, I am not saying you need to find a spot that requires 10 miles of bushwhacking in order to have a quieter fly fishing experience. There are plenty of spots that you can drive right up to where you will find no one else.
Maybe it is the world I am in now, but everyone seems to think hopping in a boat and going down the river provides the best experience and it ABSOLUTELY can but if I think back to when I first started fly fishing, my best memories are me venturing off on my own to a new spot I hadn’t been to before and figuring it out.
Fly fishing smaller, cooler spring creeks can be a great way to escape the sometimes–crowded waters of the larger rivers and enjoy a more peaceful, solitary fishing experience. With less angler pressure, the potential to uncover some hidden gems, and cooler water temperatures, fly fishing small spring creeks can provide an incredibly rewarding and unique fishing opportunity. So the next time you’re looking for some great fly fishing, consider taking a detour from the larger rivers and explore some smaller, cooler spring creeks to uncover the hidden gems they have to offer.