What Makes(1)

Blue Line Native Brook Trout: How to fly fish for native brook trout.

It isn’t often that we get to experience something “like it was in the old days”, but something about
fishing for brook trout brings back that euphoric feeling. A lot of trout fishermen are obsessed with
catching stocked trout and we have written about that in the past. Don’t get me wrong, fishing stocked
fish is super fun since you can target willing fish that grow to size. However, that doesn’t compare to
hiking down or up to a stream that few have traveled to catch fish that have been there for years in a
naturally occurring manor. They might be small, but the experience is immense.

How to Find a Blue Line Stream

A blue line stream is a wild stream as it appears on a map. It is not stocked and typically hard to get to.
So, how to you find these little gems? Search interactive trout map and your state on Google and you
should find a good resource. Another great resource is your local fly shop. Stop in there, buy some flies,
and chat about brook trout. Once you found a stream you want to check out, preparation is key.

Approaching the Stream

Brook trout can hide in riffles, deep pools, or pocket water. Fish everything! Our guidance would be to
find where a tributary flow into the main stream or find a deep bend. Brook trout tend to sit at the back
end of the pool…so approach a pool with stealth. Once you found the part of the river to fish, cover as
much water as possible. I have found that fish within different stretches behave differently. Some like
streamers, some like dry flies, some feed in the morning, some feed at night. Covering water will put
your fly in front of more fish. By covering ground, you are also exploring water that others don’t touch!
Lastly, wear the proper attire: earth tone shirt and good footwear.


A lot of people fish a 7’6” 3 weight, but I prefer a slower action 5 weight with a long leader. You can
high stick some of the small runs while having enough rod to keep the fly line off the water. This point is
made because a lot of people thing you need to get a new setup to fish these beautiful fish. For a
leader, I like a 12-foot leader stepping down to 5X. You could use a heavier leader if you don’t have 5X.
flies are super simple: a few dry flies, a few nymphs, and some small buggers. You really don’t need
much as these fish don’t see a lot of variations of fly patterns. With that said, having a good drift is key.


I tend to stick to two tactics with brook trout fishing: dry dropper or streamer with a dropper. They love
flashy flies like a rainbow warrior behind a small streamer, especially when swung in the current. Try
tying on a woolly bugger with a nymph 18 inches behind it…If they aren’t hitting that, try a dry and add a
dropper after a few casts.

Handling Brook Trout

As mentioned, there aren’t too many naturally occurring things in this world that are this special. It is
our duty as anglers to take care of the resources provided, especially ones so susceptible to change. So,
use barb-less hooks, don’t fish for spawning fish (look for circular gravel spots), use a net to keep the fish
wet, limit pressure to certain streams, and pack out your trash and others trash.

Stay Smooth!

If you have any questions on brook trout or want to book a trip, click on the “Contact Us” tab.

Share this post

Recent Posts

Smooth Angler Newsletter

Stay in Touch!