Streamer Season is upon us! Dick Magill Chronicles
The Chronicles of Dick Magill on the Headhunters Blog. Thanks Richard for the blog today. Yes, many have been streamer fishing and it has been as consistent as we could hope for. Bight and sunny skies the past week have not deterred the fish from enjoying the streamer. The same ahead of us as we look for some rain and overcast skies! Thanks Dick Magill!
It may not feel like it quite yet, but the long hot days of summer are behind us. Shorter
days paired with cool nights will bring the river into prime form. When this happens fish
begin gorging themselves in preparation for the long winter months. Figuring out what
they are eating during this feeding frenzy is a sure fire way to catch some of the best
fish of the year.
As the insect activity begins to wane large trout start predating on small bait fish with
more frequency. Now you may be asking yourself, “ What kind of bait fish call the upper
Missouri home?” It’s a fair question. Unlike many bodies of water in North America, the
Missouri River between Holter Dam and Cascade does not have a large bio diversity of
small fish species swimming amongst the trout. Instead large trout predate on juvenile
versions of the adult fish calling the river home. Some of these non-trout species include
but are not limited to Yellow Perch, Walleye, Mountain White Fish, Burbot, Sucker Fish,
Common Carp, and Northern Pike. The only fish swimming in the Mo that I would
consider a bait fish would be the sculpin. Trout love a good sculpin snack too. With the
right presentation a good angler can take advantage of this. Sometimes eliciting savage
strikes from angry piscivores.
When the trout start to key on sculpin or juvenile fish the streamer bite becomes unreal.
Ferocious trout rise from the depths to swipe at the right fly often hitting them with
reckless abandon. If you can handle throwing a 6wt or 7wt for hours on end mixed in
with a bit of inclement weather then you may find yourself with a new obsession. It’s not
all chucking and ducking though. There is most definitely a method to the madness both
with presentation and fly selection. A simple strip retrieve may work at times, but it’s
simply not the only way to fish a streamer.
In order to get the most action out of your streamer try employing a jerk strip method.
This is a technique made famous by Kelly Galloup, a streamer fishing legend from
America’s high five, the mediocre state of Michigan. The technique is fairly easy and is
very similar to fishing a jerk bait with a casting rod. First find your target. A good
ambush point will do. Once you deliver the cast you can either let the fly sink for a
moment or you can begin the retrieve immediately. To do this, pump the tip of the rod away from the fly with your wrist being the fulcrum point. This will force your streamer to
rapidly accelerate then die. Use your off hand to strip in any slack created by the
pumping motion. Be sure to keep the butt of your rod in line with the middle of your
stomach. This will help in getting a positive hook set as it will keep you from getting out
Another very effective method this time of year is to simply swim your steamer as fast
as you possibly can. Again, you can attempt to do this by simply stripping quickly with
one hand but that may not generate enough speed to elicit the savage reaction strikes
we’re looking for. It sounds wild but here me out. If you throw the rod under your
dominant arm after the cast and use both hands to strip the fly back, you can swim your
streamer fast enough to force big fish to commit. When you do get a fish to eat just
continue stripping for the hook set. After you think you have driven the hook into the
fish’s jaw you can normally transition your rod from under your arm to your dominant
hand. Fish on!
You can fish either of those methods with a sinking line, a floating line, or a floating line
with a sinking tip. All three have their pros and cons.
With a full sinking line you can get away with only using 34”-36” of 0X as your leader.
Having such a short leader allows the angler to have far more control over their
streamer and swim the fly with a more erratic action. They are also nice to have when
trying to swim a fly at break neck speed because they allow you to get down to the
strike zone quickly and stay their long enough for a fish to key in on your streamer. A
major down side of a full sinking line would be the frequency to which you get caught on
the bottom of the river. They’re also not the friendliest lines as far as line management
is concerned as mending is nearly impossible. Two things that can be overcome with
relative ease but are defiantly annoying at times.
A floating line is the “old school” way to fish a streamer. You utilize a longer tapered
leader and a weighted fly to get down to the strike zone. Sometimes to do this the
angler is required to mend several times to ensure the fly is able to sink in faster water.
They are fine when swinging a streamer through a run, but they are not my preferred
line for stripping a streamer. This is because you simply do not have enough control
over the fly when using a jerk strip retrieve.
Using a floating line with a sinking tip is an interesting compromise. It gives you the
ability to mend a section of your line while also being able to penetrate the water column
fairly quickly. I’ve just recently started fishing the Rio Predator streamer line which is a
triple density line. I really enjoy the Float/Intermediate/Sink 3. Tons of action when you
when you throw an up stream mend then start jerking the streamer back to you.
If you have any questions on rigging, feel free to call or email the shop. We love tossing
streamers and can help get you dialed in no time. All you need is a 6wt or 7wt, a hand
full of streamers and a big of 0X tippet to catch a bonafide two footer right now. What’s