Looking for Streamer Advice

Thread starter #1
I am trying to get better with streamer fishing.

I think it’ll help to be better at it on days when the river is blown out and / or the water level is deep.

I nymph mostly, but I’m tired of creating ridiculously long leaders for days when the water level doesn’t line up with my work schedule.

Normally I fish a wooly bugger off a floating line. I’ve had mixed results.

Questions:

1. Is a sink tip line a necessity and if so, what grain should I look at?

2. Are there any good online resources for people who are trying to get more serious about streamer fishing (other than GON of course).

3. Finally, are my assumptions above right? Is fishing streamers a better option than nymphing when the water is stained and deep?

4. What’s the best rod weight for streamers?

The smallest streamer I have is a 12. I get lazy and use a 5wt for throwing them, but I’m probably just going to use my 8wt more.

I mostly fish the Chattahoochee if that helps.

EDIT:

I said ‘creating ridiculously long leaders’. What I meant is that, on a four foot water level day, I’m moving my strike indicator up to 8 ft from the split shot. This feels weird.
 
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flyrod444

Senior Member
While I have zero experience fishing the Chattahoochee I do fish streamers a great deal on the Tuckassegee river where I live. To put it simply, some days fish go crazy over streamers and other days they just are not that interested. The water color doesn't seem to play that big part in if they hit streamers or not on the Tuck while colored water helps on smaller streams I fish. Had a trip last year where fish where attacking the yarn indicator when it went under. Switched to streamers and landed over 50 fish that day on them. It was low clear water. You just have to try them to see if the fish are chasing them that day. Fished tuck last week in the water color of chocolate milk. While we caught a couple on streamers they where hitting nymphs better. A heavy weighted streamer can be fished in water deeper than you think without sinking line. Use a nine foot leader and cast slightly up stream let it sink a bit as it drifts down before giving it action. I seldom use sink tip line unless I'm fishing a lake or large bulky streamers that don't sink well. One thing about streamer fishing is that you miss a lot of fish because when one sets the hook on it they are jerking the streamer out of the mouth instead of into the corner of the mouth as you would while fishing a dry or a nymph. One thing that makes me switch to streamers quickly are bait fish skipping around being chased by trout or bass. I fish them for trout with rods from 5wt down to my 10' 3wt rod. For bass I'll go up to 6wt.
 
Thread starter #3
While I have zero experience fishing the Chattahoochee I do fish streamers a great deal on the Tuckassegee river where I live. To put it simply, some days fish go crazy over streamers and other days they just are not that interested. The water color doesn't seem to play that big part in if they hit streamers or not on the Tuck while colored water helps on smaller streams I fish. Had a trip last year where fish where attacking the yarn indicator when it went under. Switched to streamers and landed over 50 fish that day on them. It was low clear water. You just have to try them to see if the fish are chasing them that day. Fished tuck last week in the water color of chocolate milk. While we caught a couple on streamers they where hitting nymphs better. A heavy weighted streamer can be fished in water deeper than you think without sinking line. Use a nine foot leader and cast slightly up stream let it sink a bit as it drifts down before giving it action. I seldom use sink tip line unless I'm fishing a lake or large bulky streamers that don't sink well. One thing about streamer fishing is that you miss a lot of fish because when one sets the hook on it they are jerking the streamer out of the mouth instead of into the corner of the mouth as you would while fishing a dry or a nymph. One thing that makes me switch to streamers quickly are bait fish skipping around being chased by trout or bass. I fish them for trout with rods from 5wt down to my 10' 3wt rod. For bass I'll go up to 6wt.
Thank you for your input.

I normally use a floating line with two No 4 split shot and a bead head wooly bugger.

I’ve caught trout, but I feel like I’m operating more on luck than method if that makes sense.

Do you think a 25 ft sink tip is over kill for a river with 4 - 6 ft of water?
 
Thread starter #4
Lots of different opinions on how and where to fish streamers. I streamer fish when I want to search for larger predatory fish. It's usually not a numbers game, I'm looking for the larger fish in a river system. Look for anything you can find from Kelly Galloup. I think he is as good as it comes for streamer fishing information. Youtube is full of his videos. Just do a search on his name, it will turn up enough to keep you busy for a couple weeks.

Couple quick answers for your questions. Yes, I like a sinking lines. I mostly use unweighted streamers and I need the weight to help sink the fly. Sinking lines aren't just for deep holes. I can fish a sink tip in thigh deep water if it's fast flowing. It helps to have your line and leader at the same depth level as your fly for some of the various retrieves. For me it's also a lot easier to steer and retrieve the fly on a short leader, 6" or less. I'm not just stripping line, I am also using the rod to help me impart action to the fly. I'm twitching and pumping the rod at times. A 6 wt will cover most of the flies I like to throw. Throwing a 8wt with a weighted line will wear you out quick at my age:p. I like to throw flies that are 3" and larger when I streamer fish. IMO a size 12 fly isn't going to elicit the same predatory strike from dominate fish as a larger fly will.
Thank you for the help. I bought Galloup’s first streamer book a few days ago.

I really want to get to where I understand streamer fishing better instead of guessing so much.

One more question if you don’t mind:

Do you think a 25 ft sink tip is overkill for water that is 6-4 ft?

I realize that IPS sink rate plays into this some.
 
Thread starter #5
If the water is fast flowing and you are using and unweighted fly you will be fine if you are moving and stripping the fly from the time it hits the water. I like something with a sink rate around 150-200 for a 5 or 6 weight. I look at sink rates like regular line weights. I try to match them to the rod. Those heavier sink rates are for heavier rods. Just because you can cast a brick with a 3 wt doesn't mean you should do it. You will know quickly if the line is too heavy, it will drag on the bottom and you stay hung up.
Thanks again!
 

NCHillbilly

Administrator
Staff member
Another option is sinking leaders/poly leaders. They come in different sink rates, and work pretty durn good unless you're in horrendously deep, swift water. When I streamer fish, it's usually a good sized one, heavily weighted with lead wire and lead eyes or tungsten coneheads. I usually do best on streamers when the water is dingy after rain, or just at daylight in the morning or just at dark at night.
 
Thread starter #7
Another option is sinking leaders/poly leaders. They come in different sink rates, and work pretty durn good unless you're in horrendously deep, swift water. When I streamer fish, it's usually a good sized one, heavily weighted with lead wire and lead eyes or tungsten coneheads. I usually do best on streamers when the water is dingy after rain, or just at daylight in the morning or just at dark at night.
Thank you for that. I really want to get where I can fish streamers in a more purposeful, deliberate way vs just chucking them out there and getting lucky.
 
Thread starter #8
Another question:

Do y’all prefer do dead drift a streamer and add a little action on the swing at the end of the drift (eg pulsing the rod a little bit, stripping, etc) or do y’all cast, let the streamer fall, and retrieve across the current?
 

NCHillbilly

Administrator
Staff member
Another question:

Do y’all prefer do dead drift a streamer and add a little action on the swing at the end of the drift (eg pulsing the rod a little bit, stripping, etc) or do y’all cast, let the streamer fall, and retrieve across the current?
The latter. Sometimes if it's deep, you can cast quartering upstream and let it sink for a few seconds before you start retrieving.
 

flyrod444

Senior Member
Normally I fish a streamer by casting across the the stream sometimes slightly down stream and start giving it action as it swings across and down the river. Action and speed of stripping should vary until you find what the trout want. Streamer fishing is the one time drag of the current is a good thing. I tell my clients to retrieve the streamer as if they have parkinson's. The pulse of the the rod tip helps most of the time. There are other times that this doesn't work though. As NChillbilly said for deep water cast up stream and let it sink before starting action and retrieve. I've also seen days when they hit a streamer with no action just cast across and let current swing the fly across and down and other days where fishing it like a nymph tight lining it. Just vary what you do with them until you find what they like. I use streamers from size 6 wooly burgers down to muddler minnows tied on size 12 dry fly hooks. The really cool thing about fishing them is most of the time one can see the fish chase and hit them unless fishing deep or colored water. I use lateral scale flash tensile in the tail of my wooly burgers which catches light well and makes them easier for me to see and seems to also catch the trout's eye as well.
 
My only piece of advice is to use a streamer pattern than the fish haven't seen 1000 times. Fishing the same old ( even if they are proven winners ) streamers can get you strikes but not hook-ups, or just refusals and rejections. Look online at reputable fly dealers and find something they use out west or elsewhere and try that coupled with all the other good advice here. Good luck!
 
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