The Stream Doctor

September 6th, 2004

Email YOUR Questions directly to the Stream Doctor. This is your opportunity to get an experts professional opinion on anything stream related.

Q. I fish a very narrow, very shallow stream called the Lilliwaup in western Washington and have only caught small fish. Is it possible for big fish to live in such shallow water?

A. This is pretty tough to answer since I don't really know what you mean by "very" shallow and narrow. In general, it really depends on if there are any pools or deeper water where large fish can find cover and holding space. Narrow, shallow streams can hold some large fish if there are pools to provide these habitat characteristics. However, if the stream is essentially all shallow, you probably won't find many larger fish present.

I used to fish the Touchet River in southeastern Washington before I moved. It could certainly be called a shallow stream in that you can cross it about anyplace. But, there is a lot of nice holding water and pools large enough to hold browns up to 16" and adult steelhead. So, it gets back to what you mean by "very" shallow and narrow.

If you have a question, please feel free to contact me.
~ C. E. (Bert) Cushing, aka Streamdoctor
105 W. Cherokee Dr.
Estes Park, CO 80517
Phone: 970-577-1584

The 'Stream Doctor' is a retired professional stream ecologist and author, now living in the West and spending way too much time fly-fishing. You are invited to submit questions relating to anything stream related directly to him for use in this Q & A Feature at

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