25 Things to Make You a Better Angler: No. 3 "Love Small"

How often do you see a trout this size on the cover of a magazine?  I don't remember if I ever have.

I guess small fish don't sell magazines.  I'm as guilty as any magazine editor of sticking with the tried and true formula.  Maybe I'll break the mold here at TROUT soon, and feature a sub-10-incher on a cover.

After all, this little greenback cutthroat trout is a trophy, is it not? Personally, I'd trade 20 big stocked rainbows for a shot to catch just one of these wild fish.  But that's not to say I'm a fish snob... I'll borrow from Will Rogers and say "I never met a trout I didn't like."

Still, I wish more of us media types would appreciate the smaller, wild fish for what they truly represent.  I really do believe that in a quest of become a "complete angler," chasing smaller, wild trout is important on two levels.  First, I've often said, "wild fish don't live in ugly places."  Chasing wild brookies, or cutthroats, whatever, inevitably will put you in wonderful places where you can appreciate fishing for trout more.  Part two of the equation is that those wild fish often eat dry flies.  The wilder you fish, the better dry fly angler you become.  And that's an important part of the learning curve.

Of course, it's angler instinct to want to go bigger and bigger.  There's nothing wrong with that (in fact, you'll be seeing another post that's the reverse side of this coin in the near future).  But as you fish with others, especially younger anglers and newbies, don't be afraid to admit that bigger isn't always better.  Sometimes the "what," "where" and "how" matter far more than "how much."

-Kirk Deeter



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