Great thread, great information. I have just been tying some little size 16 streamers and looking at a lot of traditional patterns for some that I could adapt to that size. I also tied a couple of little Micky Finns with some polar bear fur that I got from an old tyer who had kept it for years. Lovely stuff, translucent and shiny.
I liked the post about reading water as well. I have several books on the subject but the river never looks like the drawings in those books. I went out with a topographic map and walked my favorite portion of the local trout river (the Gunpowder, in Maryland) and mapped all the snags, runs, pools and riffles as I walked along the bank. The main problem I have reading water is that it is much harder to recognize the underwater topography when you are standing in it then when you are standing 10 feet above it on the bank. Depths are deceptive, a deep hole with a sandy bottom can look shallower than a run with a dark rock bottom. Seams and currents are subtle. I seem to keep finding myself standing in a hole thinking that this is where the fish were before I walked into their hole...
Anyway, I appreciate your sharing your thinking on all of this, Ard. Great stuff.
Hardy- it looks like you used drops of paint on that Brook trout.. for the dots..
I have never used winged streamers like that. how do you work them?
Hi Rod, better late than never;
The brook trout streamer is used for that species so usually you are fishing on a rather small stream in the mountains. I liked them on all my brookie streams and did it as follows. Leave the car / truck and hike up as far as I intended to fish then come downstream with the fly.
Stay low and out of the water if it is possible so you don't stir up debris which may alert a wary fish you are just around the bend. I like a 6'6" rod for this and generally would use my bamboo flea rod. You just make very short roll casts across and allow the current to sweep the fly across the channels. Sometimes you need the old 'bow & arrow' cast because of limbs and bushes.
Study the stream as you move down slowly and carefully so that your fly swims through all the seams and close to any undercuts or other structure because the larger Brook Trout will like to be near to cover, they don't get large by hanging in the middle of the tails of the runs & pools ya know. In the fall there very well may be fish in the tails as the breeding season gets under way but generally look to the head of the run or pool where the current feeds in for the largest specimens.
I don't strip, I let the fly swing and swim freely and the results are very good. Here in Alaska I use this same approach for wild rainbows but use a 6'3" or 7'9" graphite in 5 weight because I sometimes catch a salmon even in small streams. I've caught them on the bamboo flea but not on purpose.
I fish any of my streamers and salmon / steelhead trout flies in much the same way regardless of the size of the stream or river. Identifying where the fish will likely be and then swinging through the area. On a small creek it is a good plan to allow the fly to come to the end of the swing and dangle near a likely holding spot. With practice you will learn how to sight these in advance and plan the cast - swing - and dangle so that you are constantly having the fly passing through or hanging in fish holding water.
---------- Post added at 10:07 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:03 PM ----------
Originally Posted by jor fly
So which do you experienced streamer fishermen prefer for a stream that averages about 2 feet deep with pools up to 6 feet deep, average width about 15 ft: floating or sinking line?
I fish them all, if the water is fairly deep I use one of my braided lead heads in the mid section of my leader to keep my fly down. If you want details on the lead heads just send a PM and I'll hook you up
Yep, a great winter time thread to get the juices flowing.
I too am not much of a streamer fisherman. For years I've told myself that I am going to dedicate time to it. I have more the past few years but I still reach for the nymph box when prospecting...but the thing is I really don't like nymph fishing anymore. Back quite a few years ago I decided that I was going to learn how to nymph fish well, and I got decent at it but I also got bored with it. I still enjoy high sticking in pocket water and through heavy runs, but long drift indicator nymphing bores me. So I really need to once again try to commit to learning how to be a better streamer fisherman. It's really sad that I've been fly fishing for nearly two decades and don't have confidence in my ability to fish streamers! Help me...
I think that one thing I will do is learn to tie some feather wing streamers this winter. For me, tying flies gets me excited about the fishing that will come with the creation. Ard, et al, can you recommend a good read or two on feather wings - tying and fishing?
So I really need to once again try to commit to learning how to be a better streamer fisherman. It's really sad that I've been fly fishing for nearly two decades and don't have confidence in my ability to fish streamers! Help me...
There is a way Maybe not easy one but one day just go to river with only streamers in your fly box.Leave all small flies at home.Something like going hunting and thinking should I take my shotgun to shot some birds or my good old 30-06 and hunt for something big and meaty
So 'judge' your self for day or days with streamer fishing and ignoring rising trout ,heavy hatches or beautiful long rifles perfect for nymphing....
Maybe you will like it...
I have certainly contemplated this strategy Mladen, but have never convinced myself to try it. Fishing days became very precious when we had a baby, too precious to risk doing something crazy like only taking a box of streamers on a rare shot to go fishing. But that urgency has eased off as my daughter is growing up plus we just moved very close to the river. Not on it, but easy access within minutes of home. So I should have a lot more opportunities this year.
Do you streamer fish in winter rivers? I've always felt fish less aggressive and chasing a streamer would be rare.
It's actually better in the winter. With brown trout after they have spawned there are almost always fish still hanging down stream of any nesting sites. They eventually go back to their spots but they take their time doing this.
The post I made a little way back describes a basic strategy for late fall / winter fishing. I was replying to Rod from S. Holston fly shop.