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Summer Stream Fun

I noticed something funny the other day. When I lived in Sacramento, where the mercury continually reaches above 100 fahrenheit in the summer and the winter is really only a couple months long, we spent a lot of time inside air conditioned rooms trying to stay cool! Here when there is even a hint of sun, even if the temperature is only in the upper fifties every person in the city is out walking around in a t-shirt and sandals enjoying the sunshine! So far we are experiencing our third straight day of sunshine and my homepage on Google has informed me the warmest day of the year so far is in the works. This brings to mind images of small streams I have yet to explore. Wading with nothing but shorts and sandals with a 2wt in my hand casting to greedy cutthroats with whatever fly I feel like catching fish on! Small streams to me are a chance to get back to my fishing roots and let the kid inside me out for a long overdue recess. One of the things that fascinated me about fishing streams when I was young, and still does to this day is the process of exploration and the sense of the unknown. A good stream stretches on for what seems like infinity, and you never know what could be around the next bend. There is never a shortage of challenge in fishing small streams. Some are quiet and clear, white spooky fish that will dart into the shadows at the slightest hint of your predatory presence. Some are fast and boulder strewn, loaded with pockets of roily water where keeping your fly on the surface and getting a good drift are difficult but highly rewarding when you see that nose come through the bubbles to gulp down your stimulator or elk hair caddis. Many streams are lined with impossibly dense alders, willows, cedars or any number of other thick bristly bushes (including poison oak) making just getting there an exercise in itself, let alone making a presentation. They challenge us to use creative casting angles and try new techniques that just cant be exercised when fishing a thingamabobber from a drift boat on the Yakima. While some might argue that the fish come easy, there is no better, or more fun proving ground to test and hone your skills then a good small stream fishery. And contrary to what many believe, not all small streams harbor only small fish. I have been surprised more than once by the size of fish I have hooked in some of the little gems I keep under my hat. It is always a joy to catch fish, but the thought that just around the corner might be another one of those rare stream beauties keeps me moving forward and exploring new water each and every trip. We are not there yet, but this warm weather has me chomping at the bit to let my stream flag fly. It will be here sooner than you think, and you will find me exploring one of the thousands of beautiful and technical small streams that Washington has to offer.
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