Leader for small N. Ga streams

Thread starter #1
I have been favoring the small streams lately targeting the wild fellas and no crowds. I have been mostly using a 9' 5x leader I've trimmed down a bit to navigate the rhodo and make the needed casts. I'd like to start making my own leaders, potentially 5-7.5' to navigate these streams and have various options for varying sizes, flies and overgrowth.

Does anyone have good results making their own shorter/custom leaders for these style streams? If so do you have any formulas you use to make said leaders. Seems like I might just experiment with some Maxima Chameleon and Ultragreen but wanted to see if it was worth my time.

Thanks!
 
Even on the smallest, most rhodo-choked streams, I don't use really short leaders. One main reason, and it is the most important reason of anything you can do to catch fish: It's almost impossible to get a drag-free drift with a short leader unless you can hold it completely off the water. In normal conditions on the small streams I fish, The shortest I go is about 10'.
 
Like most topics in the fly fishing world, there are just about as many opinions as there are anglers. I personally prefer using short rods and 7 1/2' 5X leaders. Depending upon the size of the creek, I'll use anything from a 5'6" 3 wt. to a 7' 4 wt.
 
Like most topics in the fly fishing world, there are just about as many opinions as there are anglers. I personally prefer using short rods and 7 1/2' 5X leaders. Depending upon the size of the creek, I'll use anything from a 5'6" 3 wt. to a 7' 4 wt.
Yep. The key is to find what works for you, and perfect your system.
 
I have been favoring the small streams lately targeting the wild fellas and no crowds. I have been mostly using a 9' 5x leader I've trimmed down a bit to navigate the rhodo and make the needed casts. I'd like to start making my own leaders, potentially 5-7.5' to navigate these streams and have various options for varying sizes, flies and overgrowth.

Does anyone have good results making their own shorter/custom leaders for these style streams? If so do you have any formulas you use to make said leaders. Seems like I might just experiment with some Maxima Chameleon and Ultragreen but wanted to see if it was worth my time.

Thanks!
The formula isn't going to matter nearly as much with a leader that short. I would just buy the shortest knotless tapered leader you can find, then cut it back to where you want it and tie on some tippet. People obsess over getting their leader to unfurl perfectly and straight, which is actually the opposite of what you usually really want, unless you're fishing slick water with no confluicting currents. If there is no slack in that leader, your fly is going to start dragging as soon as it hits the water.
 
It depends on how small is "small" to you. On a creek like Jones or Low Gap, I used to use the shortest braided floating leader Orvis made and about a foot and a half of 6X tippet, regular mono. It matters more on a larger river or stream where you're fishing over many currents because you can't wade to exactly where you want to cast from - Little River in TN comes to mind.

I haven't flyfished much since this Fluro stuff really caught on, but plenty of little fish were caught over the years with just mono. On a related note, a proper bow and arrow casting technique and the right size leader to turn over (whatever fly you're fishing) will serve you well. I hate to see folks trying the bow and arrow from the side because you're going to end up with your fly in the bushes and trees more than is necessary.
 
on really small streams, I make a leader that's sort of really long, starting with 15-20 pound test, tapering down to about 6x tippet. The leader itself is at least twice the rod length sometimes more. I do this because, in my opinion, small stream + various currents and pools and what not, it's nearly impossible to get a drift worth anything with any type of fly line on the water.
in many of the small streams I am fishing I am simply bow and arrow casting them flies into a plunge pool or top of a riffle. Now on slightly larger small streams like in the smokies, I try my best to tightline them, but sometimes you gotta slang 'em and in that case the long leader with that heavy 15-20# test at the back can turn over at least 1 dry+dropper combo. Add a second dropper and it can get tricky, but I've done it with really small flies.
 
It depends on how small is "small" to you. On a creek like Jones or Low Gap, I used to use the shortest braided floating leader Orvis made and about a foot and a half of 6X tippet, regular mono. It matters more on a larger river or stream where you're fishing over many currents because you can't wade to exactly where you want to cast from - Little River in TN comes to mind.

I haven't flyfished much since this Fluro stuff really caught on, but plenty of little fish were caught over the years with just mono. On a related note, a proper bow and arrow casting technique and the right size leader to turn over (whatever fly you're fishing) will serve you well. I hate to see folks trying the bow and arrow from the side because you're going to end up with your fly in the bushes and trees more than is necessary.
I ran flouro for a couple years, then went back to mono. No difference at all I could see in catching fish, but the flouro costs an ungodly amount and doesn't hold knots nearly as good as mono.
 

dawgvet

Senior Member
Now you are singing my song! As a dyed-in-the-wool small stream junkie, I can tell you that leader performance is critical as most of the time that’s all you are casting!
Two things: go buy a Maxima leader-tying kit, I prefer clear but some like the chameleon for butt sections. I then use Rio or Orvis tippet material; buy the smallest tippet ring and you’ll never wear out a leader again.
Next, go to globalflyfisher.com and download the LeaderCalc program which is a program with hundreds of leader formulas searchable based on length, use, and tippet size. You should also look up Joe Humphreys, who, like everything else he’s ever written about Flyfishing, has wonderful leader formulas. His six footer is my small stream holy grail. PM me with any questions.
Regards,
Jed
 
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