Gearing up for Wild Trout on Streams

Written by: Paul Procter

One of the obvious attractions of pursuing wild trout is the spectacular and untamed countryside such creatures take you. Naturally though this does play second fiddle to the actual thrill of a bent rod and singing reel. It’s as well to remember that native river trout tend to be smaller than those we tangle with on lowland reservoirs when generally speaking, a wild brown trout of a pound in weight is considered quite a catch. I say this as those making the transition from stillwaters to flowing water are sometimes left dumbfounded at modest stream trout.


A wild brown trout of one pound in weight is something to be cherished on UK rivers.
Photo by Paul Procter

Making matters worse is these fish are often sought using heavy, inappropriate tackle that almost shackles them, leaving those new to fly fishing wondering what all the fuss is about. Yet, tangle with stream trout on light, sensitive outfit and suddenly they punch well above their weight.

Venturing onto small streams armed with something like a 6/7-weight outfit is not only going to spoil the whole enjoyment of playing a fish, but it will hamper presentation to a point of not even being able to tempt your quarry in the first place. There’s no question a 7 weight line alighting on the surface makes considerably more disturbance than a 4-weight, especially in the confines of an intimate stream. Given this a 3-weight line touches down like thistledown, making for impressive, if not stealthy presentation.

For overgrown streams and burns an 8 footer rod for a 3-weight line would be make the ideal companion. This should be a more through action too, so it flexes readily on short casts and will hoop over when battling trout at close quarters. Don’t fret about any breeze affecting your delivery either as densely wooded areas provide all the protection you need during blustery weather.

Frequently claiming that floppy rods aren’t much use, beginners are bound to agonise over whether a No3 rod has the capabilities to deal with more substantial specimens. Whether it’s a steely, tip action blank, or one with a more progressive bend, all rods possess strength in the butt section.

Playing trout is all to do with rod angles and planes. Angler’s leaning back on a vertical rod are only relying on the tip section that has little in the way of power. Yet the same rod positioned in a more horizontal attitude assumes a gentle curve that brings the backbone of a butt section into play. Furthermore, by canting the rod over to one side, you exert more pressure on a fish as you’re now pulling on a level plane with it.


Side strain is extremely effective when battling defiant trout.
Photo by Paul Procter


About Paul: Life long Orvis supporter, AAPGAI Master Instructor, Orvis Endorsed Guide and Wild Trout Trust vice president, Paul Procter is a dedicated flyfisher with over 40 years experience under his belt. Aside from being a regular on the Orvis Blog, Paul is a leading contributor to Trout & Salmon, Trout Fishermen and the Fieldsports Magazine. Travelling extensively throughout the UK, Europe and Southern Hemisphere, Paul has gained extensive knowledge in both fresh and saltwater disciplines. His abiding love though is to target large wild brown trout using dry fly techniques.

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