Home Fishing Tips Wyoming Small Stream Fly Fishing in Gorges

Wyoming Small Stream Fly Fishing in Gorges

Wyoming Small Stream Fly Fishing in Gorges

welcome everybody to the new fly fisher i’m your host colin mcewen and today’s show it’s a very special place i’m going to be fly fishing we’re here at willow creek in wyoming where we fly fishing for brown trout on the small creek this is real exciting fishing the fish are in the size from eight inches right up to 18 inches rich swanson who’s from new york is here at the ranch with me we’re going to be doing a little bit of technique we’ll talk about some of the patterns we’re using such as the med amx and the tarantula to catch these big brown trout on small flies it’s going to be a great show stay with us today is one of those special days we all cherish in our lives i get to not only fly fish on a small stream which is one of my favorite activities but i also get to do it in an incredible setting we are fly fishing on buffalo creek which is in a deep and majestic gorge this system is part of willow creek ranch which is located a few hours away from casper wyoming joining me today in the gorge is richard swanson a native of new york state who frequently comes to willow creek ranch just so he can partake of the wonderful fly fishing that is available like me he’s a small stream fanatic and loves spending a day stalking and casting to trout it’s a beautiful day and the conditions are favorable for some great fly fishing sure take them down here now right in the undercut bank you got tied up tap a bit that’s a nice fish get my hands wet look at this that’s nice it’s a good 10 incher just pop fly out like that that’s look at that we haven’t even seen the big ones today yet beautiful okay rich ready go down below the average size of the brown trout in this system is approximately eight inches but there are many 12 to 16 inch specimens caught as well like many seemingly innocuous looking small streams this system can yield some really big browns some up to 22 inches in size most of the truly large fish are usually caught near dark okay we’ve come to a small pool and an elbow here this is a classic place to fish on a small stream now it’s not the best way to cast to it right now because it’s downstream but with the way the sun is and our shadows and i think also because i’m wearing a light shirt i should really be wearing something dark and trying to camouflage myself what i’m going to do is i’m going to cast and let the fly go into the pool i’ve got a tarantula on right now and i’m going to put it just at the top of where the grass is here and let it drift out i can see some trout right now just on the sides and just fooling around picking up things as they come into the stream now hopefully get it in the first pass so i don’t spook him the best thing is usually to make your cast your false cast over to the left or to the right but not over the pool you got to kind of try and avoid giving any type of shadow or flash so i’m going to do it over to the side here get the length right okay well you didn’t see it so we’re gonna get it up for a spookum make another cast oh you guys okay he’s gone right into it now now the unfortunate part is you’re gonna spook the pool when you do one of these there’s so many trout in here i can see at least eight or ten brown trout this guy’s got himself right into the weeds okay see if we can get this guy he’s dug himself right into the weed i don’t know how deep it is here we’re going to find out this is what will happen a lot of times these small creeks was a lot of weeding phil’s head shaking so i know he’s still on you’re gonna go real gentle this is tip it he’s very very dope there he is no i had him he just got off he’s in those weeds somewhere yeah that’ll happen a lot you’re going to lose a lot of fish in small stream fishing that’s part of the thrill because it’s just not easy to do the casts are difficult presentations are difficult but when you do well and you do put it all together and you don’t spook the fish we’re not even talking about big fish it’s just so much fun and then of course the beauty of where we are i mean this is phenomenal ready to go downstream some more rich okay nice adam awesome oh big fish that sounded big oh well done yeah he’s he’s oh that’s a nice one actually uh i i had him on for about a minute and a half two minutes and then he went right into the undercut undercut stone ledge and somehow got off he was one of the largest trout that uh that we’ve seen in the last hour too i would estimate 22 inches very big trout and uh you could tell by the take that that was a big fish oh it was an aggressive take it uh at a real now i notice you went right underneath there and this is where you’d expect them to be either underneath here into this undercut on the inside of the beginning of the pool yeah or where those rocks are because it’s dug underneath there from the current during the high water he came right out from underneath that bush that was great you could tell just by the take it was that big sloppy whack okay well let’s go downstream see we get some more the term terrestrials refers to any food source for trout that normally lives on the land but which has now fallen into their window of opportunity small stream ecosystems usually provide trout with an abundance of terrestrials such as moths ants and grasshoppers it is grasshoppers which are particular favorite of small stream trout here in the west hoppers are quite abundant in a substantive meal for opportunistic trout the frequent high winds and the sheer number of grasshoppers ensures the trout get to eat lots of these insects as this slow motion sequence aptly demonstrates any hapless grasshopper who falls or gets blown into the water will normally be quickly attacked by the ravenous trout there’s a lot of competition for food in these systems and as such they usually strike anything that looks like a meal the two favorite patterns rich and i like to use are the madame x and the tarantula both patterns are well known as great surface flies you can learn more about these patterns and other hopper imitations at our website at wwe when small stream fly fishing it is imperative to keep a low profile and carefully work your way into position often the combination of sunlight tall grass and even wind can help mask your movements i pulled it away yeah you go ahead and do that and what i’m going to do before the whole pool spooks yeah i’m gonna put one over there because i can see a real good fish yeah there’s two spots up here there’s uh the undercut corner here which is a real popular ambush point and also there’s a big boulder over on the left as you can see the wind’s just come up and as everybody tells me the wind here can be pretty incredible i’m using a 40 you get a 3 weight don’t you rich you missed it i got him that’s a nice shaking one here i’ll go get it for you where’s you lift your uh leader there’s there’s covered in weed okay okay oh mine’s off and i’ll get this guy off for you let me just get my hand wet before i touch him weed out of his mouth enough problems i have weed in it huh there we go it’s a nice six inch one there’s much bigger ones and as you can see by the undercut i mean i’m quite confident there’s an 18 or 20 inch there’s so many trout in this pool it’s beyond words but we’re looking for the big ones and we’re actually using fairly large oh there you go there’s another one now you know what i had happened to me once rich is uh i caught one of these small trout it was a small brook trout and this was on a meadow creek and i was fighting them like this and a big one came out and nailed big brown about a 20 incher took them right off my uh took them right off did you get the big one no he got off got the trout too happened so fast there we go look at that beautiful just a little guy this is a sign of a real healthy system and they’re very opportunistic in here which is why you know usually they’re a lot spookier but we’ve been doing really well today i think we’ve got a few things in our favor like the wind just let him go off there we go like all fish a small stream trout requires certain elements to ensure a long life their primary needs are ready access to food minimum energy exerted to hold in one position and of course security from predators based on these needs there are certain types of structure you need to focus on when fly fishing on small streams large weed growths at the head and edges of small pools will usually hold trout because they provide quick access to cover back eddies and spring washouts can create some of the best cover for trout undercut banks are ideal for trout because they provide great security from overhead predators such as raptors plus they give a trout easy access to food lanes normally the largest fish in any pool or system will occupy these prime lies bend pools are wonderful locations for trout because they provide depth for security good current flow for oxygen and usually a steady flow of food they also often offer good undercut banks because the spring runoffs will dig away at the bank and provide excellent cover obvious structures such as logs tree branches or bushes are also a great bet to find trout another good spot is shadows created by the direction of the sun at certain times of the day these are often overlooked by anglers and this is a shame as they often produce some of the biggest fish in any system oftentimes you can spot trout in the locations you expect them but you have to be very inventive and versatile in presentation methodology keep getting blown over a bit okay so i got it oh he broke me off he broke me up son of a gun was that him that took us yes it was him and i barely lift it up and he turned and ran so hard because he felt that hook he broke it oh look at that well let’s uh let’s let you get in there and i’ll retie gene vay who is the owner and operator of willow creek ranch talked to me a bit about what this area has to offer and why so many people come from around the world to experience both the fishing and western lifestyle the willow creek ranch at the hole in the wall is definitely not a dude ranch we have no pools no spas no hot tubs we offered no no such amenities we are a real working ranch and most people honestly have never been to a real working ranch we also have an abundance of outlaw history here butch cassidy and the sundance kid lived in and around the hole in the wall and of course as you know their gang was named the hole in the wall gang from here they rode in many directions to mostly rob trains and and banks they were they were not in any way molesting the local people here or people in general it was mostly trains and banks that they molested we have a sizable amount of the remnants of their cabins their corral systems there the places they lived and hung out coming to the willow creek ranch would enable you to enjoy the all the ranch activities branding roping riding gathering roundups you’d have an excellent kitchen good food really good food we do a lot of fishing in the fall we do some hunting could have if you spot a trout feeding or you want to cast to a sweet looking spot then you need to take a logical approach to getting into casting position here are some important considerations to take when tactically approaching a small stream first off try to approach from downstream fish normally face upstream which means this lessens a chance they’ll visually detect you if you cast from behind additionally downstream presentations often result in poor hook sets and lost fish upstream is definitely the best if at all possible next try to keep low and move slowly the higher you are the more likely you will be spotted crouch or even go down on your knees to move into casting position ensure you move slowly and deliberately heavy footsteps send vibrations through the ground which are picked up by the trout’s lateral lines this will immediately alert them to your presence try to use available cover if there’s tall grass shrubs or trees use them to hide your silhouette going hand in hand with this is the need to dress such that you blend in with the landscape do not wear bright shirts or anything will make you stand out you have to dress like a hunter and often olive drab colors and any other earth tones will help you hide from being spotted you want to blend in with the local topography also try to use existing shadows cast by the sun if they’re available trout will use shadows to hide and so should we of course you should never throw a shadow across a small stream it immediately alerts the fish of your presence so beware of where the sun is and where your shadows cast this is particularly important in the early morning and late day when your shadows are at their longest length this also pertains to your fly rod do not make false casts in such a way that the shadow from the rod crosses over the stream waiting there’s quite a bit of debate about this and i’m of the opinion that if you can avoid it then do so even if you make the slowest movements in the water your body is still vibrating sound throughout the pool or whatever part of the stream you’re in trout are very sensitive to changes including vibration so if you don’t have to do it then don’t of course there are times when the casting situation dictates that you must get in the water just move slowly and deliberately and try to mask your presence by using shallow water locations such as where there’s faster water or riffles if you spook a pool and who hasn’t done that a few times then the best thing to do is either sit down and have a nap or go away for an hour or so the key is to totally rest the pool don’t sit on the bank with your friend and spend the next 30 minutes having a loud discussion about hatches and stock prices that won’t help truly give the trout time to forget your transgression after some time passes then there’s an excellent chance you can come back after an hour or so and make that one great cast and presentation that will lure that trophy 16-inch brown from the concealment of an undercut bank for leaders the rule of thumb i like to use is that my leader and tippet should be the same length as my rod thus if i’m using a seven and a half foot fly rod then my leader typic combination should be roughly the same the longer the leader the more difficult it is control with a short rod and also keep it out of bushes and branches now that being said there are times and conditions where i will greatly lengthen the tippet to present a dry fly to trout that are particularly spooky just be prepared to snag up a lot on trees and branches and shrubs in terms of tippet size i try to always use the strongest i feel i can get away with for most of my small stream fly fishing that are usually 4x or 5x especially with a good sized flies such as hopper patterns there are times when 6x or 7x is required for delicate dry fly presentations but normally small stream trout are very aggressive and they will strike as soon as the fly lands in the water therefore you don’t need to use light tippets i’m a bit of a minimalist in my approach to small stream fly fishing i rarely use a vest as i find they get quickly hot and bothersome today’s modern chess packs small stream bags and other accessories are incredibly handy and will conveniently hold everything you need for a day in the water the chest bag i’m using today which is a william joseph design even features a hydration system fit into the backpack this is incredibly handy for quenching your thirst after a long day of walking the key is that there’s a lot of great choices in small stream bags they’ll help you carry everything you need with comfort and convenience oh first cast i got a very first cast i really enjoyed my day in the gorge with rich it is a truly wonderful experience to share such a magical time with someone who appreciates it as much as i do thanks for watching and we’ll see you next week hi i’m tom rosenbauer hope you enjoyed this video if you 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