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Coldwater Fly Fishing Trout, Salmon, Steelhead, etc...

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Old 07-25-2015, 11:54 PM
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Default Streamers and Leaders questions.

The more I read and see about streamers the more I want to fish with them. I'll be fishing the Boise river mainly and some trips to Cascade and McCall areas as well. This will be for Trout. My rod is a 9 foot 5 w (heavy fast action.) The line is RIO WF5F and Cutthroat leaders. I do have dry fly and nymph leaders.

Leaders, will this work or should I invest in others?

Streamers, I have a few that is weighted and no weight. What is your experience with them and different leaders?

What is the simple way to control depth of the different combination that I have or should add?

Thank you for your help!
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Old 07-26-2015, 12:22 AM
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Default Re: Streamers and Leaders questions.

For leader - Cutthroat sells a streamer leader that I like. You can also use a length of straight mono. Since you don't need a very delicate presentation with streamers (nor do you need as long a leader) you could use the leaders you have but I'd save them for their intended purpose and use something better able to turn over larger/heavier flies.

Having weighted and unweighted is great. Lets you fish different depths and water speeds. You can add a sink tip to help get the flies under the surface. That's great for unweighted flies or fishing deeper water.

Streamer fishing is an absolute blast.
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Old 07-26-2015, 06:29 AM
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Default Re: Streamers and Leaders questions.

I really like streamer fishing, I find it has more of an aspect of creativity and involvement compared to other styles of fly fishing. With a dry or nymph, there's pretty much one game - get a drag-free drift. With streamers, you can drift them, swing them, strip them fast, strip them slow, mix fast and slow strips with pauses, let them sink or keep them near the surface, or all of the above mixed together on one cast.

I end up with a variety of leaders depending on the conditions. Sometimes I will put a streamer on a dry fly or nymph leader if I'm being lazy and just want to try it out without swapping leaders. I do end up using the two-color nymph leader from cutthroat pretty often for streamers, it works fine since the bottom half is designed to sink. The only times when these specific leaders do poorly is if you're trying to cast a pretty big fly (they don't turn big flies over well) or if you need to sink the fly really fast.

For "actual" streamer fishing I will usually use a sinking polyleader with a short piece of tippet. I have 5' and 10' sinking polyleaders, in whichever the fastest sink rate is. I switch between the two lengths depending on how much sink I want. I consider these more an extension of the fly line, turning a floating line into a sink tip line, rather than a "leader" in the conventional sense. Otherwise, if I don't feel like I need to sink the fly fast, I just use two feet or so of heavy tippet tied right to the fly line.

I like to fish flies that sink well on their own. I use a lot of clouser minnows and other bucktail patterns, tied pretty sparse. They cast and sink well, and catch fish. Almost all of my streamers are weighted, I find that I need the weight in the smaller, faster creeks I fish to get the fly down. The only times I use unweighted streamers tend to be in shallower still water when I want to do a slow retrieve.
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Old 07-26-2015, 06:49 AM
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Default Re: Streamers and Leaders questions.

I'm headed out this morning to fish streamers.I use a 6wt max fast rod,sink tip line with 15-20 pound maxima chameleon 18 inches long,followed by a tippet of 6-10 pound maxima ultragreen 24 inches long.
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Old 07-26-2015, 10:09 AM
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Default Re: Streamers and Leaders questions.

One thing you might want to try is a streamer leader with a tiny swivel on the end. You tie your tippet of choice onto that swivel and fish it as you would. The swivel keeps the tippet from twisting as some are want to do with various streamers.

I am pretty sure Cutthroat sells some with the swivel built in.

As to the rest of it, I agree with all the above posters. I fish streamers on rods from 4wt and up. Itís a blast and frankly forgiving of casting mistakes unlike some dry fly presentations...... LOL

You should see some of the stuff (streamers) that folks are throwing for the big brown trout in the White River in AR. They look like musky baits. However, as the old adage says.... Big bait for big fish......

Just a thought
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Old 07-26-2015, 10:59 AM
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Default Re: Streamers and Leaders questions.

Streamers are fun. A 5WT would be regarded as a light streamer rod. You'll have to experiment to figure out how much weight you can get away with. I did so while prepping for Alaska with a 5-6 & 8WT. You'll know when it's just too much for the rod or fly line. I found a sinktip line the easiest to cast, and a floating line with a weighted leader far easier to adjust for depth on the water. Don't get overly concerned with your casting loops opening up some, especially until you get used to it.
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Old 07-26-2015, 11:04 AM
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Default Re: Streamers and Leaders questions.

I tie & use a lot of streamer flies, primarily for bass & tidalwater species, but have used them for trout as well. Last trout I caught was on a tiny Clouser Minnow with pink bead chain eyes ( Arctic Fox fur & Polar Flash on a size 8 hook) that I had actually tied with Crappies & other panfish in mind. I generally add some weight to most streamers, but not always. As has been said, both weighted & unweighted can be useful for varying depths & currents. The trick if you wish to call it that, is to cast in such a manner to allow the fly to get to the desired depth. In moving water that often means well up & across so the fly moves down stream to where you want the fly to end up, which should be close to where the fish should be.
In still water or lesser current, your cast may be near where the fish should be or even well past to allow a retrieve that will place the fly in the strike zone.

These others have given you excellent advice. It's been my experience that the species being targeted really doesn't matter when fishing streamers. Most streamers will mimic smaller fish, and big fish eat little fish. However, they can also imitate other things, such as leches or crayfish. There's really no limit to what a streamer might imitate as prey that will be found under water.

IMO, you're rod may be a bit on the lighter side, but doesn't mean can't be effective provided you stay within the limits of the rod. I've cast small streamers on a 3 & a 4 wt many times.

I can't comment of the Cutthroat leaders as I've never used them. But, I will agree that streamer leaders do not need to be extremely long such as you may use with dry flies. I generally go with about the rod length with floating lines, but will shorten as I go to more heavily weighted flies. With an 8 1/2' to 9' rod my shorter leaders will be 6 1/2' to 7' with a floating line. However, with a full sinking line, regardless of the sink rate, I may go to even shorter leader/tippet combinations , even as short as 3', which is often a single section of line serving as both leader & tippet. I have a couple of sinking lines in various sink rates, and use them in waters with depths of at least 10', or where there is strong & fast currents. (Tidal currents most often for me.) Even in waters of 5', if the current is strong, it's difficult to get a fly deep enough sometimes with the weight in the fly alone. Split shot can be added, but I hate using them & feel I get better control with the sinking lines.

The idea of short leaders with sinking lines is the line gets the fly down, and if the leader is too long, the line will be at the desired depth, but the fly will still be well above that depth, so it's necessary to shorten the leader/tippet combination.

For most trout fishing situations, you should be good with what you have as long as you stay within the limitations of the gear you're using. In other words, don't expect to be casting most 8" streamers, particularly if heavily weighted with that 5 wt.

Please keep us informed of your progress, success & failures. It's a learning process & I've said many times that our failures usually teach us much more than our successes.

Sorry for such a long post, but hope it helps.
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Old 07-26-2015, 10:50 PM
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Default Re: Streamers and Leaders questions.

Thank you for the input everyone! I'm going to try and get a few wet this week. If not I have some vacation time coming up soon I will have time to play then.
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Old 07-27-2015, 07:07 AM
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Default Re: Streamers and Leaders questions.

Has anyone tried and fish a stream rigged Carolina style?
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Old 07-27-2015, 08:36 AM
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Default Re: Streamers and Leaders questions.

Use a rod that will be used and abused for a darn god reason. Keep the rod tip in the water while workin' the streamer. Your brain should be thinkin' about what the streamer is doin,' and how it looks to the fish.

You will figure out what length of leader for the streamers your fishing, and the water your in.

The strikes will hook you as much as the fish. When slinging weighted streams know that you WILL hit yourself in the shoulders, and head sooner or later...

Down & Across is a wonderful thing.

---------- Post added at 07:36 AM ---------- Previous post was at 07:32 AM ----------

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