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6. How to choose a fly rod for small stream fishing. (6 of 15)

How to choose a fly rod for small stream fishing. WE show you why you don’t always need a super-short fly rod for fishing small streams. The rod you already have may be good enough.

Video Transcript:

♪ [music] ♪ - [Man] The good news is that you probably already have the tackle you need to fish most small streams. There's a tendency to want a short, tiny rod for small streams, but a longer rod is often desirable, something between 8 and 9-feet long.
- [Tom] So a lot of people think you need a super-short rod to fish small streams but that's usually not the case. In a mountain stream like this, you want it to hold lots of line off the water, you want, basically, just part of your leader and the fly on the water. And with a super-short rod, you just can't hold that much line off the water, so a longer rod sometimes helps.
- There's nothing wrong with scaling down your tackle, though. And some people just like the idea of using a smaller rod for these mostly smaller fish. If you really get down into the weeds in tiny, brushy streams, a rod from 6 to 7 1/2 feet might give you a bit more room to cast. But think about it, you're only getting about a foot of extra room for casting with a shorter rod.
- If you're going to do this kind of stuff, you need to modify your tackle a little bit. Most modern fly rods are optimized to cast about 35 feet of line. The problem is, in small streams, you're often casting just a few feet of line. So one of the ways you can do this is you can get a rod that has more of a full flex action that's optimized to cast shorter lengths of line like this super fine.
The other thing you can do is you can use a fiberglass rod. Fiberglass by nature, or bamboo fly rods, are slower action, they'll bend more at short casts, and they'll be able to throw those short lines plus they roll cast better. And a third option if you don't want to get another rod, just for small streams, is to overline your normal fly rod by one or two line sizes.
So if you have a 4-weight rod and you want to fish really small streams, then put a 5 or 6-weight line on it, that'll make the rod bend more, it'll roll cast easier, and it'll be much better in small streams.
- The rod size you choose, knowing that you might have to overline it, should reflect the flies you use. Typically on small streams, we use flies that are surprisingly large because the fish are hungry and often not selective, plus it's nice to fish a fly you can see. Dry flies in sizes 10 through 14 are pretty standard with nymphs in the same sizes.
So 4 and 5-weight lines are perfect. You can go lighter if you want to use a smaller rod or as heavy as the 6-weight if that's all you have, but I would not go any heavier than a 6.