The Orvis Guide to Small Stream Fishing Book Review

The Orvis Guide to Small Stream Fishing Book Review

by April 18, 2013 0 comments
Orvis Guide to Small Stream Fishing

Orvis Guide to Small Stream Fishing


I received an awesome gift from a good fishing buddy of mine, Ray Rivera for my last birthday. (Age is not important!!!) Ray told me how great a book this was and after reading it through twice in the last 3 months I can say I have gleaned more than a few tidbits of information that have given me some very interesting takes on fly fishing small streams and they are very pertinent to Tenkara.

Some of the things that I picked up from the book made me feel like I should have been paying more attention in my explorations of fly fishing earlier. One of the things about site fishing that I found to make a huge amount of sense to me was the fact that understanding fluid hydraulics is one of the keys to reading water on small streams. I never thought of how important this was. And reading this has also pointed out to me that I have taken water hydraulics for granted in the past.

Mr. Rosenbauer detailed many of the specific aspects of what to look for in a small stream such as the Thalweg or the deepest part of the channel that runs through a pool that usually hosts the fastest current and carries the most debris and food. Knowing that the “Bubble Line” forms around the Thalweg truly got my attention because I never realized how much was really going on in this area of the river.

When it comes to the idea of getting a wider view of a body of water I was shocked at how little I do this in my own fishing. Something that I know I have almost never done is look at the river as a continuous habitat rather than micro habitats. A point that we can all remember or should try to remember is the fact that fish will feed in water as shallow as 6″.

Another area that is covered is what happens when conditions change seasonally along with daily weather changes. Techniques and strategies for all types of conditions are covered in a manner that allows the reader to have little or no fear when being confronted with “adverse” stream conditions.

Interestingly, Mr. Rosenbauer gives a nice selection of suggested flies that an angler would do well to have in a small stream fly box. I found it very refreshing that he kept the fly selection to a very simple mix, almost to a simplistic level. His focus on dry flies was fun and clearly showed his passion for them. His reasoning for using these patterns was well stated for the reader. But, Mr. Rosenbauer is not a dry fly only angler. He also suggests nymphs and streamer patterns that will work well in many small streams to boot.

For those new to small stream angling or even those who want to explore small streams more thoroughly Mr. Rosenbauer dedicates an entire chapter to casting techniques including a bow and arrow cast that was modified by Joe Humphreys, a true fly fishing legend in his own right. To the betterment of anglers everywhere Mr. Rosenbauer was able to photograph and describe for the first time in print the Joe Humphreys Bow-and-Arrow Cast. Thank goodness that the author had the piece of mind to do this since it has definitely added a bit more distance and accuracy to me Tenkara angling and will be a technique that I will incorporate into my angling in the future.

An additional chapter goes into how to approach a stream from either downriver or upriver. Most anglers may not consider the fact that their tactics need to change depending on which direction they are fishing on a stream but Mr. Rosenbauer clearly and concisely breaks down each direction and the considerations that the angler should consider.

Never had I considered the possibility that there might be different techniques for fishing flies on a small stream but apparently there are. I was aware of avoiding drag on your fly at all costs, but one idea that struck me as ingenious was the concept of not always dead drifting a dry fly. Mr. Rosenbauer suggests that giving a dry fly a slight twitch can potentially cause a fish to attack a fly with wild abandon. He points out that some bugs, particularly a large number of terrestrials will struggle to get to dry ground if they have been blown into the water. The fish in many small streams will key in on this movement and may respond to this more than a dead drifted fly.

The book closes out with a description of small stream care and ethics. This was in my opinion one of the most important chapters to read because many times we fish and don’t look at what the environment around the river might look like. Many of the points that Mr. Rosenbauer brings up are supremely important to the health of all bodies of water.

Having read this book cover to cover multiple times for this review and also taking notes along the way has brought many new techniques to my time on the water. For those who are Tenkara anglers, this is a very useful volume in my opinion, due to the fact that Tenkara has traditionally been a small stream form of fishing. Any of the techniques that Mr. Rosenbauer suggests throughout this wonderful book can be adopted by any Tenkara angler and will more than likely produce an increased number of landed fish at the end of the day, maybe even a fish that you might not consider being able to live in a small stream.

Would I suggest you get this book and add it to your personal library? Without a doubt I would say if you do not you would be making a mistake! Go ahead, purchase this book and read it cover to cover or scan the contents for subjects you might be interested in. You will see an increase in your fishing pleasure and maybe find some solitude even on a busy weekend away from the madding crowds.

If you decide to purchase this book you can click on the image above or on the image in My Library and you can order directly from Barnes and Noble Booksellers. If you have this book and have read it I would be curious to know your thoughts about the book.

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