Small streams usually produce small trout. It just so happens that streams in the Bay Area are really small and so are their fish. Not only are the fish delicate, so is their habitat.
As a kid, I grew up fishing a few small streams here in the Bay Area. I'd usually fish with my uncle when we weren't in the Sierras. We'd throw little hopper patterns to eager wild rainbows covered in parr marks. Over the course of a day we'd usually land 30-40 trout and I always left with a huge smile on my face. These small streams taught me how to cast in tight quarters, although, I still spent just about as much time casting to rising trout as I did getting my fly out of the Bay Laurel and Oak surrounding the creeks.
This weekend I revisited one of those small streams with a friend (Joshua) and the experience was no different. The trout were eager and my fly spent a good deal of time in the trees! Actually, there was one difference. The water was pretty low for this time of year. The drought has been having a huge impact on the little streams around the Bay. Last summer I saw one those childhood streams blink out. The water was low, warm, and cloudy. There was silt covering every inch of the river bottom and there were zero signs of trout. With that fresh in my memory, the sight of these small healthy wild trout were a welcome relief. In all, Joshua and I caught a good deal of trout, shared some old fishing stories, and sat on the bank of the creek sipping good beer and thinking about the future of this small local drainage.
These small streams tend to be delicate. Fishing pressure, trash, drought, rising water temperatures, and pesticides can all quickly take a toll on these small watersheds. It's up to us, the ones that enjoy this resource so much, to take care of what we have left. If you know of any little gems like this, keep them a secret and take good care of them. In a blink of an eye, they may be gone.
Where'd we find this little stream? Sorry, this one's a secret.