Two hours on a small stream

That’s all the time I had. But there’s a certain comfort in having a time limit. It forces you to keep moving. To spend more time with your flies in the water. And if you feels the pangs of regret over pools not covered and fish not caught, there’s always next time.

It was a lovely, sunny afternoon, albeit with a slight chill in the air. The water was perfect: dropping after the weekend’s downpours, just a tinge of color, nice and cold. There were the ubiquitous midges, BWOs sz 14-16, and some caddis. I fished with a dry/dropper and a small tungsten bead jig. Although I had a few slashes (and one landed) on the dry, the natives showed a clear preference for the jig. I had great success in deeper, darker holes, and along shaded cutbanks.

When I began, it was all BWO duns. But by the end of the trip, I started to find spinners. I love finding the same mayflies on small streams that I see on bigger rivers. Now, to find some risers…
The skunk cabbage is asserting itself in the moist bottoms of the woods. I ran across these on my hike out. Anyone know what they are?
The less photos you take, the less stress you place on the fish. I encourage everyone to Take The Wild Trout One Photo Challenge when fishing small streams. You get bonus points if you keep the fish’s gills submerged.

35 comments on “Two hours on a small stream

  1. Brian Larson says:

    look like trout lilies to me.

  2. says:


  3. Jefferson Kolle says:

    Hi Steve,
    Years ago, an old timer (who was probably younger than I am now) told me the yellow flowers are called trout lilies and that there was no point fishing dry flies until they bloomed. Seems about right.
    Love your posts.
    Jefferson (the tube audio guy)

  4. wmalkauskas says:

    Beautiful pics, Steve. Trout lilies! Betch you know already!!

  5. Steve Hill says:

    Erythronium americanum

  6. Richard Redman says:

    Trout lily is the yellow flowering plant. Rich Redman

  7. David Deitz says:

    Steve I agree w the other posters- trout lilies. They’re not rare but are a good indicator of healthy undisturbed woodland – they are perennials so if you mess up the tubers, they’re gone.
    Best, DD

  8. Shawn says:

    Trout lilies are an appropriate flower to accompany this post.

  9. Thad says:

    Trout Lilly

  10. Jonathan Kolb says:

    Hi Steve, That was a lovely essay and picture. Jacob and I can’t join you this year. He graduates in a week, and this summer has work, and a trip to Europe with his girlfriend. I hope to see you with him, or maybe one of my other grandsons, soon. Keep fishing and writing. Jonathan Kolb >

  11. Bill Leino says:

    I’m thinking it’s a Trout Lily.

  12. rich rubin says:

    Yellow trout Lilly a native plant

    Good health is true wealth

  13. John Bronson says:

    Currently part of the wild trout posting and see more and more wild trout pictures . It’s a shame because their environment is being pressured more than ever

    • Steve Culton says:

      Hi John, thanks for reading and commenting. I’m not sure what you’re trying to say here — can you clarify?

      • John Bronson says:

        Steve , I was referring to the one picture challenge and how the Wild Trout Facebook page is saturated with them. It seems to be getting worse and now seeing trash where there never any before . Most of these streams are being pressured more than ever. Most wild trout streams in CT are published and with social media spot burning is now very common.

      • Steve Culton says:

        Hi John. I share your concerns about small streams. As part of the social media-fishing complex, I try my best to promote conservation and resource preservation, and tottery to educate people on small stream best practices. I’m not sure if you’re being critical of the One-Photo Challenge or not; its intent is to get more people to take less photos of wild fish, which I think we can all agree is good for the resource. I’m sorry if I’ve disappointment you on this. As far as spot burning goes, you won’t find it from me. I won’t even tell my mother where I fish. I hope all this makes sense.

  14. John Rumberger says:


    I believe those are trout lilies…. yes a good omen for sure!

    • Steve Culton says:

      You are correct….as are the 15 commenters ahead of you. :-). But I thank you!

      • John Rumberger says:

        ha, yeah sorry I’m a little late in viewing. Was in the keys last week with little success but managed a decent mangrove snapper on fly

  15. Steve Culton says:

    Nice! Too funny how many people chipped in with that ID.

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