The fall season is an exciting time in the world of fly fishing, and many fishermen are eagerly waiting this time of the year, especially to fish with streamer flys. But how to fly fish streamers in a lake is a question many new fly fishers may ask? Fall is also a time when fish, especially bigger lake fish ramp up to increase their eating more before the cold winters. In addition, for fish like brown trout, this is a time when spawning occurs, which leads to very aggressive fish.
One of the best ways to target these fish is to actively feed them with streamers. So, in this article, we will deal with how to fly fish streamers in a lake. Although streamer fishing is not the most successful method of catching fish, with streamers, you can catch big fish in a lake.
Once fishermen are successful with streamers, they usually focus on catching large flies. The reason is simple: large flies catch large fish. There is a rush that also comes with streamer fishing which does not come with other fly fishing methods. Streamer fishing is uniquely different from nymphing and dry fly fishing, and in many ways, the terrain is more dynamic and diverse.
Unlike these other tactics where following certain basic rules can lead to constant success, Streamer anglers must approach the water with a more predatory evaluative eye in order to obtain results. Streamer fishing revolves around the world of swimming prey. Whether this prey is a small trout or a baitfish like sculpins, minnows, leeches or just about anything else.
Imitating a swimming creature requires a different approach and skill than to imitate a drifting or floating one. Novice streamer fishermen will often try to apply the rules of nymphing and the dry fly world to the rules of the streamer fishing world and will end up frustrated when the results do not come.
What is a Streamer in Fishing?
Streamer is fly fishing lure used in fishing; it is designed to actively fish below the surface within the water column itself. Unlike nymphs, dry flies, and wet flies, which are to mimic a group of aquatic insects, streamers are commonly tied and used to mimic a group of small, medium and big baitfish. Models of what a streamer mimics are shad, minnows, crayfish, mullet, anchovy, and other marine bugs.
Streamers are usually fished in saltwater and freshwater by casting a fly, let it dive, and using the stripping hand to retrieve 3 to 7-inch sections of the fly line with strategic stops between successive strips. This technique is simply referred to as “stripping”, it helps the fly fisherman to mimic the real baitfish in its normal subsurface habitat.
The timing between strips, the length of the stripped fly line and the depth within the water column are all factors in the streamer fishing method of stripping. Different combinations of these factors can be used to obtain different movements and results depending on the water conditions, the target species and the type of baitfish that the fisherman mimics.
Streamer fishing is one method that is difficult to be confident with until you are successful with it. While fishermen usually used streamer to catch some of the biggest trout, timely streamer fishing can also bring in quantity and quality to the net. In big water, some level of casting skill tends to be necessary for success when fishing streamers.
If you cast 20 feet, you can even catch fish in rivers and streams with fly fishing streamers. When streamer fishing, you can strip line off the reel into the water to allow streamers flies drift in the current and catch fish. The line swims the fly, which makes it look like a swimming baitfish.
You can cast fly fishing streamers like the Woolly Buggers into the moving water and anticipate strikes from hungry fish shots. You can fix a split-shot on the leader to improve the action, just before the fly and provide the tip of the fly rod a bounce from time to time as the streamer floats downstream.
The bounces on the tip make the fly jig up and down similar to a wounded minnow, and gamefish hunts wounded baitfish. Some people usually think of streamer fishing as the less technical form of pursuit when chasing trout. I do not agree with that. I think matching your streamer technique with fly patterns to variables like water clarity, river type, water temperature, and weather will have a major impact on your success rate.
How do you Fish Streamers in Small Streams?
In fact, I firmly believe that most of the small streams out there hold bigger fish, more than you think. One of the best ways to find out is with streamers. Researchers have proved that with brown trout reaching the twenty-inch mark, they become mainly piscivorous. This means that if you want to catch them, you have to cast streamers.
Streamer fishing has changed a lot since the days of grey ghosts and hair wing flies. If you have been fly fishing for a long time, you have read or heard of “Modern Streamers for Trophy Trout” by Bob Linsenman and Kelly Gallup. Today Streamer enthusiasts fish the banks with these monsters measuring 5” to 12” long.
This is ideal for large rivers, but little too much for small streams. You will want to scale your efforts to the waters that you are fishing. But, streamer fishing small streams can be a very enjoyable way to catch them, and the best way to find out the true potential of the stream.
It is an excellent sculpin imitator, and almost all the streams I have fished are full of them. Trout bite them with abandon, and even large fish will go after a size eight Muddler. If you need to have a successful fishing day, to catch a lot of fish, then fix a muddler minnow and start fishing.
The original types work better than the conehead and marabou versions. Sculpins hugged the bottom naturally and when trout see it swimming up high, they think something is wrong, which triggers a response. This is the theory that works well for me. Also, I like black-nosed dace and Mickey Finn.
They are the best classic pattern that brook trout go after. Black-nosed dace are very common in small streams, and the yellow and red Mickey Finns are also very effective. They should be in your tackle box when fishing streamers. There are different ways of setting up the fly rod to fish streamers. Both ways depend on how strong the current is and how deep you want to fish.
I usually use tippet for streamers, I have discovered that a tapered leader don’t work well is not necessary. For deep water and fast current, you can set your fly line with a length of sink line, there is an invention known as Intouch Level T, this product contains tungsten. You can make a four to seven-foot sinking tip, which can be attached to your fly line and a loop to loop connection. Don’t forget there are many ways but this is my preferred way.
What are the Best Fly Fishing Streamers for Trout?
Sculpzilla: This is not a giant streamer, but it has caught many big trout over the past years. I have caught fish with it almost everywhere, from small streams to big rivers, and all kinds of salmon seem to like it. You can fish it with confidence because if there is any hungry trout, it will catch them. Its size helps keep even smart cautious fish at ease when snacking on it.
Jawbreaker: This is just like a large woolly bugger with legs and a wavy tail that wave when retrieves, much like the traditional plastic grubs used by the bass angler. Even the most cautious fish fall victim to Jawbreaker because of its up and down swimming action and natural moving materials.
Muddler Minnow: This historic streamer has been landing trout long before now. It’s not as good looking as some streamers in the market presently, and it’s not articulated, but that does not mean you have to underrate its potential. This streamer is a plain sculpin model with the precise amount of flash with fish enticing profile to hook trout from shore to coast.
Mike’s Meal Ticket: When looking for a good streamer with a large baitfish profile. This streamer is the right choice for you; its sheep wool head maintains a great profile weight and pushes water well. Its flashy body, rubber legs, and zonker rabbit tail offer a wide range of attractions and lots of action in the water. This is a constant product for me and I’m sure you will feel the same if you give it a little time in the water.
Krafts Crawdad: I’m not really into crayfish streamer pattern, most of them have been tied to look very natural and either has an awful effect or are underweight in my opinion. Krafts Crawdad is the only one I fell in love with. It is basically a fly version of the traditional bass jig, which imitates the same action and profile.
Krafts Crawdad simplistic design eliminates all the unimportant details about crayfish and focuses on some key features that instantly entice trout to crayfish when they see it.
Personally, this is the only crayfish pattern you will ever need when streaming, and it will work not only with trout but also with any other type of game fish that feeds on crayfish. There are many other great streamer models on the market, from marabou streamer to diverse flash minnows and woolly bugger variations differences. These are just my favorite patterns, and I try keeping things simple.
What Fish Can you Catch With a Streamer?
The important thing about fishing streamers is that you can look for fish in almost every square inch of the lake or river water. Large predatory fish can live in any depths and speeds of water; therefore it’s important not to leave any stones unturned when casting streamers.
I am always amazed at the size and quality of the fish chasing streamers out of shallow riffles. Many people want to know how to catch trout in a lake; the bottom line is that many people want to know about streamer fishing and the kind of fish they can catch with a streamer.
The fact is that there is a period when a streamer will catch trout when nothing else is work. Weather can change dramatically and its effect on the trout stream may limit your options. I haven’t had much success with streamers during bright sunny days. Early in the morning and late at night, when the sun is off the water, are better because the trout do not like to move from their comfort zone much when the sun is high.
And most of their prey is very active at night. I have had some of my best catch with a streamer in the dark, cold and windy weather. Streamer fishing is as thrilling as you can get when fly fishing. The fast-paced fishing and the fish aggressive strikes, all make it a very enjoyable experience. If you consider how entertaining traditional fishing is with spinners, then you can compare that to streamer fishing.
Streamer fishing is one of the most productive and exciting ways to catch big trout, and fall is the best time to do so. Fly fishing is a popular technique for catching grayling, trout, and salmon. Although it is also used to catch a wide variety of species, such as bass, pike, carp and panfish, including marine species like snook, tarpon, redfish, bonefish, and striped bass.