After fishing some of the bigger rivers and catching some “easy” trout there comes a time when it is fun to try something different or a more challenging endeavor. Spring creeks can also make a better angler by focusing on smaller intricacies that might not be noticed on larger rivers, like small characteristics of the holding water. Intricacies such as these can make a huge difference on large rivers as well as spring creeks. Many people believe that spring creeks are only for the dry fly purist. That is the furthest from the truth. If you enjoy being up close and personal with the trout that you are chasing a spring creek is the way to go. The fishing styles can range from casting large streamers to aggressive browns to technical nymphing or something completely foreign such as fishing with a mouse and the most well-known technique which is fishing dries. The biggest difference that you will experience will be a more intimate way of fishing that is much more visual than on our larger rivers.
The PMD hatch is what spring creeks are known for, especially the spring creeks in paradise valley such as Armstrong and Depuy. These hatches are the match the hatch dry fly fisherman’s dream. These insects offer slight variations in color size and stage of emergence that can make a huge difference in success and failure. On top of that the slower water of spring creeks make it a challenge to trick trout that get such a long look at a dry fly that is presented.
This is the style of fishing that some trout fisherman dream of, but might never get the chance to experience or even try. It may be just a daydream for most rivers, but some spring creeks offer the right conditions where mice might attempt to cross a skinny section of the river. Trout eat a variety of flies and there is a time and place to try this if you are not too much of a purist. After trying to get large trout to eat small dries, it could be fun to pull a 360 and try something off the wall. We all have had days when the trout seem to have the upper hand. Dragging a mouse through some fishy runs can relieve some aggression pent up from failing all day and it offers some variety.
Nymphing by far is the most consistent and efficient way to catch trout and nymphing on spring creeks is no exception. Finding fish on a new spring creek can be a challenge if they are not rising. A good way to find areas that hold trout would be running nymphs through likely runs. Drop offs, riffles seam lines, or anything that looks fishy would be a good place to start. Good nymphs to try vary with seasons. Eggs and worms are best late in the fall, winter and early spring, try using eggs and worms that are smaller than the patterns used in bigger rivers. If you are aware of a hatch that is about to happen or a hatch that is currently underway you can figure out what nymphs to tie on. Emerger or soft hackle type flies work well during hatches, with less weight or no weight and a shorter length of line between indicator and flies. If there is no hatch dragging the bottom with scuds or wire worms will be successful.