It’s always streamer season in Montana but pulling minnow and crawfish imitations is often overshadowed by salmonflies, blizzards of caddis and other exciting opportunities. In the fall however, hatches wind down and big fish come out hunting for calories before winter takes over. Getting ready for streamer season is easy and it pays to be prepared.
Rods and Lines
Carry a fast action 6 or 7 weight to handle bigger flies and heavy lines. You can do just fine with a weight forward floating line but a sinking line is useful as well. Rio’s streamer tip is ideal for punching through the surface quickly and working in the top couple feet of the water column. It’s great when fishing from a drift boat because it gets the fly down but leaves enough on the surface to pick up your cast quickly. A full sinking tip is also great for those deep runs where big brown trout lurk.
Fill Your Boxes
You only need a few streamers really but there are tons of fun patterns to play with on the river. Big articulated patterns, narrow bodied baitfish patterns and classics like the wooly bugger and muddler minnow will all work. When the big flies aren’t working, try a smaller version and when light colors are don’t working, go dark. If you’re unsure, just put on a good looking pattern and fish it hard until something happens. Persistence pays the bills in the streamer game.
Vary the Technique
Streamer fishing isn’t always aggressive and it pays to vary the pace and depth. Try swinging a run down and across then work back through it up and across. Sometimes, fishing the same run a few different ways will produce a fish and set the tone for what they want on any given day. The fun in streamer fishing is figuring out that equation and working to move and land big fish that just don’t come out often. Take your streamer game to the big rivers and small streams and get ready for the aggressive and thrilling strikes.