Day 2 started a bit later, on stream at 8:30am. Fished a short stretch with coffee near by, once again looking for something larger, I know they live here. Once again the SMB was readied and after a few casts I had a timid strike and a thought occurred to me. Wendy B. had recently put a few of my flies on some fish with success but he noted that the amount of flash in the collar might be a bit much and after trimming about half of the amount out he was finding the fish more willing to smack it. [singlepic id=1448 w=320 h=240 float=right]I considered it and then busted out my scissors to trim off a fair amount from one of mine. Back in the drink a bit later and I was into a 14in Brown that faught hard.

A criticism that I’ve had as of late is that I need to get the fish on my drag rather than stripping my line in. The rod tip combined with a smooth drag will keep constant tension on the hook, without it a good run/shake may dislodge the hook. This may have been the reason a few of the fish I could have landed the day prior were able to smile at me as they hit the road down to the trouty hole. I worked on my line management to get the trout on my drag as quickly as possible, a short bit later…trout in hand. So nice.

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The wind was a pain, and may have contributed to my choice to stick with the streamers (easier for me to chuck into hard wind, over tossing dry or nymph rig for sure) but after the day before I decided it was nice enough out to wet wade which ended up being a great choice. A few fish later and the hole I had come to fish did not give up the bounty I was searching for so I split to head back to the same creek that whooped my butt the day before. Streamers again and sure enough I hit the light biting syndrome but I [singlepic id=1441 w=320 h=240 float=left]managed to land three or four really beautiful Brown trout. After I hooked into a clear slab which promptly jumped to freedom. I put the streamers away, something told me I needed to learn from the day before. 

With a #16 Scud and a #16 WD-40 trailing I instantly picked up five nice looking fish from a single run, not un-heard of but I had just sent my fat shiny streamer down there for fifteen minutes with nothing to show for it, a few hit it but tasted hook, once they taste hook they typically don’t go back for round two. The WD-40 took every trout, made perfect sense, they had been feeding on Baetis nymphs all morning and with the clouds rolling in a few were seen hatching here and there but nothing to get too excited over. The larger trout stayed below while the six and eight inchers comprised the [singlepic id=1438 w=260 h=180 float=right]majority of surface strikes. On several occasions they would take the WD-40 on it’s way out of the water, right as I lifted the rod, excellent.

I managed to catch and document only one adult male BWO but it’s wings had not developed and had I not scooped it out with my strainer it would have been dinner just a few yards downstream. A cripple for sure but it did give up valuable size information and after a bit I left it to serve it’s purpose, trout food. The clouds rolled in quickly and with a shot of thunder I was quickly on my way home.

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  1. What’s your take on the numerous follows that pull up just shy of a strike (when streamer fishing)? I’m wondering if it’s just numbers: a percent of fish will strike, and a percent won’t – odds are there are many fish that don’t strike that you don’t see. I’ve heard of guys who claim you should strip as fast as possible when you see a follow coming your way.

    What’s the deal with BWO? Coming off soon? Need some.

  2. I think they follow because they want to eat, just the same way they inspect your dry fly for the right attributes they eye your streamer much the same. As far as stripping it in fast when they do follow? I don’t, I’ve always used the addage that the water temp dicates fish activity, water temps are lower I tend to dead drift, or strip very slowly, if they are higher and the fish activity is up I will give the streamer a tug through the stream. I noticed that about 50% of the serious strikes occured within a second of the fly landing in the stream, keep that in mind too.

    BWO? Just a cripple, a certain percent are bound to develop incorrectly. Are they comming off, I would say for BWO’s most will be coming off these last few crappy days, I know the Hendrickson’s will be good on streams through the next few weeks, Caddis later in the day I think. I also need to toss a dry fly, maybe soon. Take care.

  3. I’ve heard alot of different ideas on weather to fast strip swing or dead drift a streamer. I can only speak from my own experience of course but I’ve watched my streamer dead drift right through fish and they pay it no mind at all then the next cast I’ll strip it through as fast as I can, often going for the saltwater style double hand strip and those same fish come to life. I’ve heard it said that trout don’t eat a streamer out of hunger but a territorial thing. Another thing to consider is that when would a minnow, chub, or sculpin swim easily up to a trout? A ton of folks think streamer fishing is simple and easy but its just like any other style you have to figure out a pattern, if you turn a few fish on one pattern and the next cast get no follows change the color or pattern and I’ll guarantee a strike or at least a follow. If you can see the fish and track your bug as soon as it gets within the fishes sight window give it a steady fast strip (if you keep the strip short and really fast the fly doesn’t do that jerky darting thing) you’ll see some of the fish take more notice. Another aspect to consider is where those fish are holding, are they in open water feeding or in a cover spot. I find that streamers fished tight to cover where you might not see the fish often catch more cause your illicting that territorial bite. Its really all about experimentation. As far as getting the fish on the drag I find its definitely neccessary for lighter tippets from 6x up but for the heavier stuff I allways strip them in get the rod low and just put the brakes on, I’ve lost more trying to get the line on the reel and if that fish decides to turn towards you theres no fly reel with a high enough ratio to pick up that line. Again its a matter of personal preferance.

    avatar Bill
  4. Right on Bill, thanks for the input and perspective. I’ll consider your thoughts the next time I am swinging streamers, I’ve still got alot to learn. So do you try a dead drift then if that doesn’t prompt a strike do you try sending it through again stripping? I’ve had mixed results with varying my retrieve in a single spot. Thanks again for the food for thought.

  5. I dead drift basised on water temp cloud cover and most importantly water clarity if its stained or blown out mud then I dead drift trying to get it as close to the bottom as possible giving them time to hone in on it. But thats whats so rad about throwing the junk you can be very experimental with patterns, sink tips, strip styles and really working the rod. Its allways different. Everybody’s got alot to learn man when we stop learning its no fun! Love the blog too man keep it up! Definitely one of the best out there, a no BS straight to the fishing approach Right On!

    avatar Bill

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