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Streamer Fly Fishing
Eugene Macri

Streamer fly fishing and use of streamers is probably the most maligned form of fly fishing in existence. The reasons for this are many but to put it bluntly much of it comes from those who think the only form of fly fishing is "Matching the Hatch" with a dry fly. Unfortunately, I don't know where these people fish but it's hard to find rising trout these days and the hatches are diminishing. I live in the limestone spring creek area of Pennsylvania and even here the hatches are not what they use to be.

Black Ghost Streamer from

The Black Ghost Streamer: Still a Killer

Many fly anglers turn their noses at using streamers and to put it bluntly most fly anglers use them incorrectly and that includes their methods and techniques. Day in and day out streamers will catch a ton of trout (and other game fish) and larger ones too. Fly fishermen use many methods to fish streamers however, most of the methods used are not the best way to use these flies. So let's start off by talking about the minimum types of streamers you should carry.

Streamer Fly Box an Selection

You should have the following groups of streamers in your possession at all times:

  • Muddler Minnow
  • Black Ghost, Grey Ghost
  • Clouser Minnow in various colors
  • Marabou's: White, Red, Yellow, Black and combinations
  • Ed Shenk's Sculpin or similar pattern
  • Matuka's in various shades and colors
  • Wooly Buggers: Both regular and Bead Heads
  • Buck Tails: Mickey Finn and similar type patterns

The reason you have such a group is because it covers the three depths you'll be fishing: Top, middle and bottom of the stream. There's the first mistake most fly anglers make they don't understand that effective streamer fishing occurs at all three levels of a stream.

Bead Head Wooly Bugger from

Wooly Bugger: One of the Most Effective Streamers

You should carry these streamers in three sizes: small (14), medium (10), and large (6). Why? Because size is just as important in fishing streamers as is the color depending upon water level and environmental conditions. Now this mix will get you started. I actually carry quite a few more but that's for another day. Let's talk about how to fish streamers.

Streamer Fly: Yellow Marabou from

Streamer Fly: Yellow Marabou


Streamer Fishing Technique

The first mistake most fly anglers make is the angle of their rod. To hook more trout keep the rod tip down; pointed at the water, not up. If you don't do this you miss many fish. Second, keep your forefinger on the line against the rod at all time even when stripping the fly. Third, use heavier leaders. Quit trying to fish streamers with light tippets. It's not necessary undermost conditions. Your tippet should be no lighter than 4x in most instances and with heavier streamers 3x is the minimum. You can fish streamers in any direction but you'll get more hits and hook more fish by fishing the streamer: Upstream.

Well that should get you started. Give streamer fly fishing a try and use these patterns and these techniques and I believe you'll find success.