By Ryan McSparran
There’s no bad time to throw streamers. But fall might be the very best time. Big, predatory trout are looking for easy meals as the weather begins to change. This time of year is a great opportunity to swing those big ugly flies in your box, and hang on for aggressive strikes.
When fly fishing with your favorite streamer patterns this fall, here are a few tips to help make your time more productive.
Get Your Fly Down
In order to fish your streamers most effectively, you need to be getting them down in the water column. This is especially challenging when fishing deep holes or in runs with a strong current.
Whenever possible, have a streamer rod rigged and ready with a sinking fly line. Choose a sinking with an aggressive taper, one that is designed to cast streamers and other large flies. If given a choice between different sink rates, go with one that fits your home river or your most common fishing situation.
Changing fly lines can be a pain, so if you’re on the river and don’t already have a sinking line rigged up, there’s a quick alternative. Quickly tie on a sinking leader like the VersiLeader from Rio. These sinking leaders come in a variety of sink rates to fit any river or situation.
Swing and then Strip
When fishing wide runs and large pools, I like to make a quartering downstream cast, allowing my fly to swing through. Keep your non-casting hand ready on the fly line for a quick strip set if you feel a strike. But don’t strip any line during the swing, as the current is usually moving the fly at a pretty quick pace.
When my fly nears the bank and reaches the end of the drift, try slowly stripping the fly upstream along the bank. If you don’t get a strike on the swing, trout will often attack the fly on this upstream retrieve. This allows you to fish against those cut banks, where big browns love to wait for an ambush opportunity.
Fall is streamer time. So, why not double down? Start by tying on a small or lightweight streamer like a Platte River Spider. Add about 18 inches of tippet to the shank of that hook and tie on a larger, heavy streamer. This big fly following a small fly can be a killer setup to swing through long runs and deeper pools.