BACK COUNTRY FLYFISHING — Getting purposefully lost
By Peter Brigg

I DON’T mean to take anything away from the rich diversity in flyfishing these days and I don’t want to get into a debate about it here, but for my money small stream fishing is probably just about as pure as flyfishing is going to get because most of what you do on a stream is traditional.

By small streams I’m talking about those that are the tributaries of the larger rivers — generally the headwaters in mountain wilderness areas. They’re invariably in pretty places and you can cast across them easily just about anywhere, the trout are wild and seldom run in at more than 12 inches. Most small streams range from common knowledge to whispered speculation.

Then there are the few hidden gems that are seldom, if ever, visited by flyfishers; the thin blue lines on the topographical map where the gradient is steep and the folds in the earth are deep. There the water is clear, cold and quick, the bottom is almost always visible, riffles, plunges, pools, pocket water and the odd deeper slot mysteriously indistinct and fishy looking. These are pristine freestone streams, the timeless silver ribbons home to wild rainbow and brown trout, decedents of those introduced into these waters 125 or more years ago.

Fishing most of these headwater streams will involve a hike and a few nights under canvas. It is not everyone’s cup of tea, but for those that see themselves as the contemplative backwoodsmen type, the solitary flyfishers, men of few words, the passion is unbridled, like converts to some new religion. I put it down to wanderlust and the tantalising prospects of new discoveries where there is little or no information; you have to string up a rod and go and find out for yourself.

Read the full story in the October 2017 issue of FLYFISHING magazine.
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