by Marshall Cutchin
photo by Michael Stack, Fish Tales Outfitting
Question: I’ve heard that pre-runoff streamer fishing can be some of the best of the year, but I’ve only fished dries and wets before. Can you give some advice for getting started in fishing with streamers?
Zeke T., Longmont, CO
Answer: Streamers certainly fit the bill when it comes to fishing early and late season trout, and when the water is off-color or no bugs are visible. They’re also usually the best choice for warmwater predators. Some anglers love it so much they fish streamers exclusively, even in the peak warmer months when there are lots of bugs in the air and on the water. The lure is often this: throwing and retrieving streamers is a very active way of fly fishing. You’re always doing something, trying a different retrieve or pattern or both. And there’s a good chance that a fish caught on a streamer is going to be larger than the average.
We asked a few experts to give their top tips on getting started with streamers:
Kelly Galloup, Galloup’s Slide Inn and Fly Shop: One of the most common question I am asked is how do I get started streamer fishing, and the answer is simply just go out and do it, but let me give you a couple tips that will shorten the learning curve.
First remember that line control is everything in all fly fishing and especially with streamers. Start close, streamer fishing is not hucking a fly as far as you can and hoping for a fish. You have to learn to control your fly and move the fly with your rod. So start close, say thirty feet max and then watch your fly. You should be moving your fly in small 6 inch movements with slight pauses between each six inch pulse. Cast across stream and always have a tight line. Don’t worry about getting the fly deep, most fish are less than 3 feet of water, if the fly is moving properly the fish will come and get it. Cast across stream and always keep the fly moving back across stream, do not allow the fly to swing tail first down stream. In other words this is not a wet fly swing with a bigger fly, you look for likely hold areas and then stalk and cast that area keeping the moving across the current. Make the fish come and get the fly by its erratic movements.
Start with a bright un-weighted fly to learn to move the fly, I prefer flies like the woolly sculpin or Zoo Cougar. Bright flies that the angler can see, and are not hard to cast will make the learning much faster and more enjoyable. Again you need to…
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