10 Common Mistakes for Spring Creeks

By Mike Lawson


The vast flats of the Harriman Park of the Henry’s Fork, the deeps runs of the Fall River in Northern California, the quiet shallows of Crane Creek in Missouri and similar spring creeks offer the ultimate challenge in trout fishing. Montana’s Missouri River, the Owyhee River in Oregon, the South Holston in East Tennessee and other tailwater streams provide a similar experience. This kind of fishing isn’t for everybody. If you don’t understand what you are doing you’ll likely end up frustrated and discouraged. I’ve spent most of my years fishing one of the world’s most demanding rivers, the Henry’s Fork of the Snake. I’ve seen lots of mistakes and I’ve talked to a lot of frustrated anglers in my shop. I’d like to share ten common mistakes many anglers make with the hope that you can avoid them and be better prepared to meet the challenge of spring creeks and tailwaters.

I. Too much false casting. False casting is useful to extend line, to change the direction of the cast and to dry your fly. In most fishing circumstances, false casting is useless and unnecessary. False casting provides a strong chance the fish will sense your presence, even if you are using a dull colored line. It also has a tendency to spray water over the surface to alert the fish. Keep your false casts to a minimum unless you want to put more odds in the trout’s favor.

II. Casting too far. Your odds will increase if you get into a comfortable position to cast accurately. Even if you are an expert caster you will be more accurate if you get close. It is also easier to get a drag-free drift if you have less line on the water.