High water in the big rivers forces anglers to be resourceful. When our options are limited, you have to be willing to do a little digging to find fishable water. Even though rivers like the Madison are fishing well right now, there are still lots of folks looking for something more.
One of the best options is small water: creeks and streams. These clear up faster and often offer some great fishing opportunities. The fish may not be very big, but there are generally lots of them and they will greedily eat a fly. This is the type of water you fish when you just want to get away from people and lose yourself in the scenery and the enjoyment of a fish on the line.
Most fishermen jealously guard their small stream secrets. And rightly so. Finding a productive “secret” creek takes hard work. Sure, there are those that everyone knows about and fishing, like Hyalite Creek. But then there are those that no one seems to fish and people tend to overlook.
The best way to get some small stream spots? Don’t just ask for someone’s favorite small water. They likely won’t say. Invest in a good gazetteer map and spend some time researching and looking. Put your hiking boots on and throw your rod in the pack and spend a weekend just hiking around. Go to one area one weekend and another the next. There are so, so many creeks and streams within an hour drive of town here that it would take many years to explore and fish them all. Put your time in and you will be rewarded.
And then, once you have found your small water, you will be the one with the secret. There is something special about having your “own” water…