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You need to experience small stream angling. I know a lot of anglers that start on the ponds or lake and overlook the small streams, let me tell you this; they hold fish, and they are a blast. Some of my best angling memories involve no-shirt, swimming trunks, and old tennis shoes. The turning banks and cool holes offer more than playing in the water with a rod in your hand. They offer a completely diverse ecosystem with some major differences and challenges than seen in still-water fishing.
One of the greatest positives of fishing the small streams is the diversity available, not that lakes don't have their own diversity it's just streams play by their own set of rules. Hatches, flow rates, clarity, underwater structures, bait fish, reading water, and much more. It's a challenge to not only stalk the fish and read the stream but to understand the biology of what's happening in front of you. You have to investigate what's around you, see the unseen, note what you find clinging to the bottom of rocks and stumps, switch your lures constantly to match the specific feed on a specific portion of the stream.
Most associate small streams with small fish, that's simply not true. I hauled a 4 1/2 lbs. smallie from a stream I couldn't pay a lawyer to pass as a river. They are there, many simply don't take the time or effort to figure it out. It represents a challenge, can you crack the code of what's happening beneath the surface and hook into quality fish. It also represents another half of freshwater fishing. Just because your popper can't go wrong on your lake doesn't mean the bass of my small stream will give it two looks. Like I said it's a totally different environment. As an angler you need to check out those small blue lines on the map, walk them, scout them, bring along your assortment of flies or lures. If you love a challenge and active fishing, step off your boat for a moment, pick up your shorter rod and head into the stream.
Robbie is the creator of WF and loves to spend time in the outdoors chasing steelhead, upland birds, and the beauty of nature.
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