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High Water Streamer Flies and Tactics

Joined:
2011/3/23 22:10
From Delaware River
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Hey Everyone. We've had a lot of rain up near me and I think I am going to try to throw some streamers. I will be fishing a medium sized stream. I have been trying to read up on streamer fishing but I have no idea where to start. Could anyone shed some light on what water I should focus on? How should I fish the water? And what flies should I use? I will be using a 9' 6wt fly rod if that matters.

Posted on: 2013/7/28 19:19


Re: High Water Streamer Flies and Tactics

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2012/12/9 15:03
From Lewistown, PA
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I recently experimented with fishing high water with streamers. It seems like the best approach, because streamers are very visible to trout since there so big and they move. I wasn't having any success even with large nymphs, so decided to switch. I think a larger, heavily weighted, dark colored streamer is probably best. I was using a size 6 tungsten coned slumpbuster. I imagine clouser minnows or other bucktail streamers would be too subtle if the water is muddy, but I don't know that for a fact.

I've read that trout will tend to look for slower water when the water is up, so I focused on the banks (water is slower along the bank, and I've heard people say that fish will sometimes hold there) and on fishing down deep in slower pools. I had one fish take my streamer in the time I was there, but I lost him when he jumped out of the water, shook his head, and spit the hook.

Posted on: 2013/7/28 20:15


Re: High Water Streamer Flies and Tactics

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2010/8/24 20:13
From Bucks County
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^^^ Agree^ Fish will hug the banks in high water or hang out in slower water wherever it exists. I like a size 4 or 6 conehead black bugger with some flash tied in. I tend to fish slightly up and across while mending to keep hanging as close to the opposite bank as you can. Then let it swing across and strip it up the bank your on. You generally wont catch a ton of fish but you will get a surprise every so often. The streamer size sounds big but even smaller trout will take it some times. I have caught fish this way when most people would consider the stream to be completley blown. But hey, when the wife says you can fish, you go fish!

Posted on: 2013/7/28 20:33


Re: High Water Streamer Flies and Tactics

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2006/9/11 11:30
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4 to 6 Slumpbusters are a fine choice, but plenty of people are using 5" to 7" articulated streamers - and not just on the Delaware. You can be surprised in your local water. Slow water next to the bank is the usual suspect, but back channels and the slow water behind islands are also good. My one suggestion is to cover ground. The big guys are on the prowl or they aren't, so you want to get as many chances as possible.

It is one form of trout fishing where even the follows can get your heart pounding.

Posted on: 2013/7/28 20:55


Re: High Water Streamer Flies and Tactics

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2011/5/9 15:37
From Ohio
Posts: 1134
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And don't overlook some of the faster, shallower runs. During my last trip to Spring Creek I caught quite a few in some shallow riffles when the water was borderline blown out. My brother lost a nice one on a big articulated streamer in water you would normally just wade through.

I agree with the other posters, but JeffK makes a good point about not being afraid to go big and to cover water. You can definitely be surprised at some of the nice fish that decide to show themselves when the water is up.

Posted on: 2013/7/28 22:24


Re: High Water Streamer Flies and Tactics

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2009/9/9 14:52
From Bel Air, MD
Posts: 703
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Absolutely go dark - the fish in my avatar was caught on a black bugger during high stained water on the Gunpowder. Cast as close to the back, and as close to any deadfall you can, and strip. You will get a lot of short strikes, but when you see a boil, cast to the same spot again - stay at it, keep casting, and cover a lot of water. You will catch fish.

Posted on: 2013/7/29 8:50


Re: High Water Streamer Flies and Tactics

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2010/5/1 9:10
From NE OH
Posts: 1305
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Excellent advice on this thread already. Get the book Modern Streamers for Trophy Tout ( http://www.amazon.com/books/dp/0881506729 ) This book breaks down the river tactics and how to use the streamers.

You have to toss big streamers along the bank when the flows are just screaming, but continue to fish them as the flows come down, but the water remains stained. The ideal times to fish big streamers in high water is different for every stream. It will take you some time to dial it in, but one you do...you'll be praying for rain all of the time.

You will have to find color patterns that work well for your stream. Across the board, darker colors do work better, but I have had days where they were only turning on white or gold.

Large articulated streamers require some practice casting. Get them out in the yard and get comfortable moving them. They are heavy and you want to be comfortable loading the rod. You also won't want an undersized rod for these. You can destroy a light weight rod casting large streamers (esp if you are uncomfortable with the casting stroke).

Also, don't corner yourself into on method of using the streamer. Cast them upstream and strip them down as fast as you can. Don't hesitate to swing them occasionally. Be sure to cast them across and strip them and also cast them down stream and strip them up.

Again, every stream is different. You may find that one method works in the warm months and another method works in the cool months. I have one stream where the browns only hammer it on the strip down stream in late Spring through early Fall, and then, they move to the tailouts and only hit stuff on the swing during the cool months.

All of this is in stained water. It takes time. Be careful and fish water that you know the stream features. Don't get frustrated. Get out there and do it. When you nail a 25" brown on a big streamer in the stained flows, you'll completely understand and become addicted.

Posted on: 2013/7/29 9:28
_________________
"You don't need 7x. All right, 7x...now you're just being stupid. That's ridiculous. You know what else...throw away the 6x, because that's garbage too." -Hank Patterson


Re: High Water Streamer Flies and Tactics

Joined:
2012/4/4 13:19
From SE Pa
Posts: 38
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As stated above, focus on any current breaks you can find, even minor ones. As far as streamers go, you'll want something that will push some water. Bigger is better in real stained water. I would start with articulated flies that are around 4-7 inches in length. Color can change throughout the day, so have a light, dark, neutral, and bright. It can make a difference. As far as tactics, don't be gentle. Let the fish know there is something there. Make sure you change angles and retrieves until they tell you what they want. When you come tight on a fish, don't be gentle about the hook set. Sweep the rod and strip set.

Posted on: 2013/7/29 9:30


Re: High Water Streamer Flies and Tactics

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2006/9/11 11:30
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I guess I have one more point. Make sure your hooks are sharp and you strip strike or strike with your butt like a saltwater fishermen does. With big streamers and large fish you are getting a thick wire hook in the heavy part of the jaw. Too often that means a quick catch of the hook where one head shake and the fish is off. Put the odds in your favor and sharpen hooks and strike in a way that will drive that larger hook home. The gentle lift that sets a size 16 dry fly wouldn't generally cut it with a large streamer.

Posted on: 2013/7/29 9:43


Re: High Water Streamer Flies and Tactics

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2013/3/1 8:29
From West Chester
Posts: 121
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You want to get a good hookset, but don't go overboard and pull the fly out of the water or bust your tippet. I recommend getting good at strip sets. You'd be surprised how little tension it takes to get a good hookset when applied in the right direction with sharp hooks.

Trout are notorious for batting at streamers. After a fish strikes your streamer and misses let it free fall, sometimes they'll come back as its sinking and suck it down. I've heard trout sometimes initially strike with the intent to stun, not eat, then circle back to gulp down the easy meal. Tie your streamers on with a loop knot.

Posted on: 2013/7/29 9:44


Re: High Water Streamer Flies and Tactics

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2010/5/1 9:10
From NE OH
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Quote:

fishngun wrote:
When you come tight on a fish, don't be gentle about the hook set. Sweep the rod and strip set.


FOR SURE!

And, you don't need to worry about using lite weight leaders. I use a 2-3' length of Maxima and nothing more (for large articulated streamers). The water is stained and your streamer is moving fast. They will not notice your leader. This gives a strong length of leader that you can be confident with in reference to fighting a big fish in current.

In reference to short strikes: The do happen a lot, but you do need to understand something about large brown trout behavior. Browns are apex predators in their systems. The really want the biggest meal they can get for the smallest expenditure of energy. When they hit a large prey item, they are not trying to swallow it with the 1st hit. BE AWARE OF THIS. If a brown hits the streamer...KEEP STRIPPING.

When you see pictures of big browns that are eating a rainbow trout nearly the same size they are, they did not just swim up to the fish and swallow it head 1st. The hit it in T-Bone fashion to stun it and then came around and swallowed the fish.

They do the same thing to big streamers. I have had browns send a streamer flying and the run it down and hit it again. Keep that in the back of your mind. And keep stripping.

Posted on: 2013/7/29 9:53
_________________
"You don't need 7x. All right, 7x...now you're just being stupid. That's ridiculous. You know what else...throw away the 6x, because that's garbage too." -Hank Patterson


Re: High Water Streamer Flies and Tactics

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2011/1/15 18:21
Posts: 480
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Something that hasnt been mentioned yet, is the importance of getting your streamer down and in the strike zone. Yes, a heavily weighted bugger does just fine sometimes, but with how high the water is, sometimes its not enough weight. Some guys here turned me onto poly leaders last year, and it has made a huge improvement in my streamer game. I have sink tip lines too, but the poly leaders are a quick and convenient change of leaders to go from nymphing to streamers. They will get your fly down, and keep it down. I love black slumpbusters in size 4-8 for trout.

Posted on: 2013/7/29 11:01


Re: High Water Streamer Flies and Tactics

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2011/1/15 18:21
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One more thing, dont be a dumby and use 4-5x!!!!!! 3x min, I used 2x.

Posted on: 2013/7/29 11:04


Re: High Water Streamer Flies and Tactics

Joined:
2010/5/1 9:10
From NE OH
Posts: 1305
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Quote:

pwk5017 wrote:
Something that hasnt been mentioned yet, is the importance of getting your streamer down and in the strike zone. Yes, a heavily weighted bugger does just fine sometimes, but with how high the water is, sometimes its not enough weight. Some guys here turned me onto poly leaders last year, and it has made a huge improvement in my streamer game. I have sink tip lines too, but the poly leaders are a quick and convenient change of leaders to go from nymphing to streamers. They will get your fly down, and keep it down. I love black slumpbusters in size 4-8 for trout.


Consider tying a simple articulated bunny sculpin with a Scuplin Helmet. The large Sculpin Helmets will get them down. I've pretty much resorted to tying all of my articulated brown trout streamers with either Fish-Skulls or Sculpin Helmets.

The sink tips do work well if you are fishing a larger stream, but they don't help as much with narrow fast runs etc.

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Posted on: 2013/7/29 11:11
_________________
"You don't need 7x. All right, 7x...now you're just being stupid. That's ridiculous. You know what else...throw away the 6x, because that's garbage too." -Hank Patterson


Re: High Water Streamer Flies and Tactics

Joined:
2011/1/15 18:21
Posts: 480
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Quote:

PatrickC wrote:
Quote:

pwk5017 wrote:
Something that hasnt been mentioned yet, is the importance of getting your streamer down and in the strike zone. Yes, a heavily weighted bugger does just fine sometimes, but with how high the water is, sometimes its not enough weight. Some guys here turned me onto poly leaders last year, and it has made a huge improvement in my streamer game. I have sink tip lines too, but the poly leaders are a quick and convenient change of leaders to go from nymphing to streamers. They will get your fly down, and keep it down. I love black slumpbusters in size 4-8 for trout.


Consider tying a simple articulated bunny sculpin with a Scuplin Helmet. The large Sculpin Helmets will get them down. I've pretty much resorted to tying all of my articulated brown trout streamers with either Fish-Skulls or Sculpin Helmets.

The sink tips do work well if you are fishing a larger stream, but they don't help as much with narrow fast runs etc.


Yeah, you make a good point. I havent used the skull products before. I usually dont have a problem getting my flies down with the sinking lines. Its typically a cast upstream, followed by 2 mends, and by that time I should be 3-4 seconds after the streamer hit the water, putting me somewhere around 3' deep. Then, I can either choose to keep mending to get it deeper, or begin stripping/swinging. I prefer to let the fly swing through the run and chill at the end of the swing. Then, I strip it back in. I love bunny flies though, so your's have my interest. Also, keep in mind that my primary streamer quarry is smallmouth. So, this would explain why I dont need the insta-dive benefit of a fishskull. You wont often find a smallmouth chilling in a whitewater riffle. Bottom line of both my posts, "get your fly deep". Dont skim the surface with a lightly weighted streamer.

Posted on: 2013/7/29 12:42



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