There are many issues that occur when taking on a small stream. I know what you are thinking; "issues to fishing a tiny mountain stream?" Yes, these streams are small, clear and the fish are very educated and very wary. They aren't large fish by any means. The average fish in these mountains is around 8 inches long, at best, but they are a joy to catch on a good 2-4 weight rod, at least in my opinion (and the opinion of hundreds, if not thousands of others). We started off well enough. The very first run I was into a nice little 8 inch fish that fought my 4 weight like he was an Alaskan steelhead (Ok, a bit of an exaggeration). He was soon off and I thought that it was going to be a good, if not epic day for us. After watching Mark fish several runs and not catching any fish, I started observing his tactics. Knowing that Mark was not very familiar with small stream tactics I thought that perhaps I could help him with a few choice words of wisdom; "Be quiet, go slow, don't wade into the water unless you have to, hide behind a tree or bush if you can." He seemed to be able to employee most of the tactics, but not all of them at once. We spent several hours in frustration with only a few small fish to hand. Many people assume that small streams are easier to catch fish in that large rivers and I think that idea couldn't be further from the truth. Small streams, especially well fished small streams where the fish are educated via heavy pressure, are some of the most difficult waters to catch fish in.
We ended up catching one decent mountain brown and a few smaller trout. Even though we struggled a bit, it was still a good day on the water with a good friend. Maybe one day we can get to some salt water and Mark can educate me on the tactics that I'll need to catch a few permit, or bonefish or perhaps a tarpon or two. I think Mark came away with a better understanding of fishing small streams and will improve greatly with a little practice. Either way, it was a good time with a good friend.