One of the great things about living where we do is that you don’t have to look too far in order to find decent stream or river fishing. Unlike lake or reservoir fishing, stream fishing usually does not require a lengthy drive or waiting in line at the boat ramp. In fact, all that is required for a successful fishing outing on a local creek is a rod, reel, line and lure — and of course permission in most areas. A sense of adventure doesn’t hurt either.
We are also fortunate that our local streams offer plenty of exciting fishing action, with everything from suckers to trophy smallmouths and walleyes waiting to bend our rods.
The serenity of the time spent in the stream is another plus. How much closer to nature can you get than fighting a scrappy smallmouth in his living room? The first time that an acrobatic smallie jumps at eye level or makes a run between your legs, you’re hooked.
One of the great things about stream fishing is that it is easy to do. I enjoy getting off from work and heading to one of our local creeks for a couple hours of wade fishing. It is something that can be enjoyed on short notice, and does not cost an arm and a leg to get into. With a handful of inexpensive spinners and crank baits, anyone can enjoy this pleasurable activity.
If you plan to be in the water when the temperature is still cool you will need a pair of waders, but in the heat of the summer many people enjoy the rush of the cool water against their legs. If you are like me, a pair of waders generally does not do you much good, as I tend to get wet anyway. Which brings up another useful item when wade fishing — a wading staff. A staff is always a good bet because it enables you to feel a hazardous object before you step into it. A staff is useful for discovering rocks, logs, or holes before you step into them, thus reducing the risk of injury. When selecting a staff, it is a good idea to choose one with a soft tip. By doing so, you will greatly reduce the amount of noise and vibration that is created as the tip of the staff comes into contact with rocks, gravel, etc. This, in turn, will result in fewer spooked fish.
Whether you are fishing for smallmouth, walleye, or any other fish, nothing beats fighting them in a current. I often hear other river fisherman say, “I would rather catch fish in a creek or river any day.” This is because landing fish in a current adds a whole new degree of difficulty to the sport. Once a lunker bronze back makes a run and gets downstream from you for instance, you better have a lot of faith in your line.
Another advantage to stream and river fishing is that it can really improve your fishing abilities. While conditions in lakes and reservoirs do change regularly, the conditions are never going to be the same twice in a creek or river. The water level will never be the same as it was the last time you were there. Holes may be washed out, or new ones created. Logs may have drifted off or drifted in. The water may be clear, or it may be stained.
There are numerous changes that take place constantly in a moving body of water. This demands that a fisherman be adaptive to any given situation. You are not afforded the opportunity to become complacent with an area. I personally believe that if a person can consistently catch fish under these circumstances that they can catch fish anywhere.
Probably the most exciting thing about wade fishing is that you never know what you are going to catch. You may catch a mixed bag of fish containing everything from rock bass to northern pike. Wade fishing also enables one to relax and enjoy nature at its finest. Wading in a small stream creates the chance for you to get away from it all and enjoy some quiet time in peaceful surroundings — that is until your reel’s drag screeches in agony after a hefty smallmouth hits your lure like a freight train.