Streamer Fishing for Steelhead and Trout

Ard

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Here's a contradictory afterthought if ever I've offered one.

Remember that for 15 years I've been fishing in Alaska where the species are rainbow - salmon - steelhead - grayling and char. Zero brown trout and brown trout are a totally different fish not just with regard to species but in their behavior. Unlike these fish here the brows where I honed the streamer game tended to 'live' somewhere. Even when you fished a new place you could count on finding fish who had more or less a permeant camp where they stayed to a greater extent. The fish here seem to be in a constant state of transience and migration as they follow food sources and that makes things different.

In the above post I mentioned how a dead drifting streamer looked pretty much like some sort of debris floating along? When I would make a very targeted cast to a known or presumed holding spot / lair, I made it a hard landing. Call it a splat cast if you will.

I got that habit from seeing a bulge form on the surface when my flies landed. The bulge was caused by fairly large fish (large enough to push a wake onto the surface) rushing from their safe spot to go see what just fell into the water. This reaction from brown trout was very much like I had seen from Smallmouth Bass. The fly / lure hits and within seconds there is a fish scurrying to the impact site to see what caused the disturbance. Note that this happens when you have been careful in your approach and the fish is behaving in a completely normal fashion.

In the above scenario I would make the early upstream mend before the fly splatted down and then an almost instant downstream mend followed by an ever so small twitch of the rod tip. This little technique brought countless hard and fast hits on the fly. In my mind the idea was to get that fly moving quickly ignoring sink or anything else. The mission was to get the streamer slicked out and looking like prey that was already in escape mode. Remember, I said a small twitch of the rod tip. The idea is not to rip that fly out of the strike zone so rapidly as to alarm the trout. It is only to simulate an escaping prey form and to do so at such a speed that the trout can easily overtake and grab it.

The theory behind that technique was that the fish was forced to commit to either grab the escapee or shut down the pursuit and return to its safe spot. If the fish determined to return to the log, undercut, overhanging tree or whatever served as that fishes shelter area, I generally logged the location to memory and moved on. My thinking was that next time the fish might finish the job but if I persisted I may create a reason for the fish to become wary of this type situation. I'd go as far as to say that sooner or later I either hooked and lost or caught every one of them I found that way.

Streamer fishing in my own experience was not something to try. It was something to do, something to figure out and then to make my primary approach to fishing. I'm not lame with a dry fly, not at all but dry fly fishing seemed so much easier than the wet fly and I caught quite a few large fish on streamers. I only ever hit the 2 foot mark on a dry fly one time, I caught many a 16 to maybe 19 inch trout and countless smaller ones on dries but the streamer made hope spring eternal. It's a game, it's like a hunt. You can tinker, and you can catch some really exciting fish.
 

okaloosa

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Thanks for the reply. we all love dry fly fishing but nothing like streamer fishing when either the fish slams the streamer as soon as it hits the water or after a long chase even through awfully shallow water almost at the rod tip.....
 

Bigfly

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I took my protege out streamer fishing on a lake. He got the "big grab" a couple times and took it away (rod set). I shared the hardest trick I know...when you feel the tug, drop the line back to him. Let them think they stunned their quarry.
You may get the second take.
Strip-set!!!!!!
The next fish that bumped it, he fed them instead. Fish on!
Once you succeed at this technique you can replicate it more easily.
It seems the brain supports success. The last week, we took it to the river....works there too...
He went from dissing the whole streamer thing, to being a streamer junkie in a span of a few weeks.
Two days ago, he hooked a fish around 10Lbs, his biggest yet.
For about 1 min.....
I'm sure someday he will go back to throwing a dry, or a bobber, but it will be a while.
I really enjoy wrecking people......
Because, now I have a guy who can support my habit too.
When hunting Walter, it's nice to have help on the net.
Ard called it.....hunting not fishing.

Jim
 
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jzim

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There's an old jazz song with the the following line. "It don't mean a thing if you ain't got that swing".

I love swinging streamers for steelhead.
 

Uncle Stu

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Thank you Ard. I look forward to learning from your posts and videos.

I grew up in Ohio and West Virginia throwing Mepps spinners to trout and smallies. After I finally settled down on the west coast and shifted over to fly fishing (mostly) I found that swinging a streamer in a current is an awful lot like swinging a spinner. You cast your fly/spinner to the same spot and work it though the same arc in both cases. As a result, the game of swinging a streamer is my favorite way to fish a fly.
 

Ard

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Thank you Ard. I look forward to learning from your posts and videos.

I grew up in Ohio and West Virginia throwing Mepps spinners to trout and smallies. After I finally settled down on the west coast and shifted over to fly fishing (mostly) I found that swinging a streamer in a current is an awful lot like swinging a spinner. You cast your fly/spinner to the same spot and work it though the same arc in both cases. As a result, the game of swinging a streamer is my favorite way to fish a fly.
That's exactly why it has always appealed to me Stu, I went from bait to spinners to fly rod fishing. When I started tying and casting streamers it seemed just like using my home made spinners.

Thank you for posting :)
 

ddb

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Ard,

Your hard won and generously shared expertise on streamer fishing is an exceptional contribution to the sport. I've been at this game for years -- no, decades -- and stand in awe of your achievements.

Can I suggest you pull all your above posts together into one document for publication or sharing as a single link?

Thanks,
ddb
 
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