For me having fished many great rivers all over the USA including Alaska for big fish, I still retreat to the tiny streams. They are relaxing, scenic and no one is ever on them. Everyone heads to the big crowded rivers.
There is nothing like seeking out a small remote stream and planning a trip there. Sometimes I'll plan to backpack up creek and spent the night somewhere upstream and other times leave early in the morning, planning to be on it all day. I love these remote quite and lonely places. I know... it's weird.
Small streams mean small fish. If I'm with a friend we play a game. It's opposite of what we normally do such as, who can catch the biggest fish! In this game its all about...
"Who can catch the smallest fish"!
We may bet a coffee from the local coffee joint or maybe a dollar just to make it fun. We measure each potential winner carefully.
For small streams I use a TFO 1 weight fly rod rigged with a 2 weight fly line that I cut in half. A one weight rod lets these little guys put up a fight. As for the line, distance is not needed on tiny streams. Often, I'll use a small dry fly with a dropper but the dry is almost always all it takes. Sometimes rules dictate what we must use.
Instead of a vest I'll use a day or backpack. A vest is worthless to me for all day hiking upstream trips. Many times I'm alone so I carry extra stuff in the pack in case I need to spend the night.
A small box of flies is all that's needed, extra tippett and a couple of tools. Keeps things simple and light.
There is just something unique about tiny stream fishing. Give it a try and see if you can catch the smallest fish!
Mark at Trout Bumming.com