Mar 26, 2012

Yup, It's Streamer Time

For those of you who read my earlier ramble about tying flies and getting out on the river, I have good news and I have bad news. The good news: We got out on the river and it felt really good just to be on the water. The fly that morphed at the vice that particular morning actually provoked a few. I hooked two browns on this haphazard creation. The bad news: I didn’t land either one and promptly after hooking the second fish, I snapped the bug off on a willow branch. We tried to retrieve it. It was a valiant effort on Theresa’s part but the current was a bit stiff and the growing blisters (her first row of the season) added to the impossibility. That’s the way it goes but I can’t say that it didn’t hurt to witness this bug become a dangling ornament. From high to low - a full half hour it took me to tie that sacrificial wad of history.

You can play it safe and stay somewhere in the middle. You probably won’t hook many, but at least your fly box will stay full. Great. Is this where you want to be – floating into semi-hibernation?

The Reward

Maybe I should tell you why I love streamer fishing. Ok, first the grab is a very good sensation. For many of you swung fly enthusiasts, this is a common, joyful theme. What do we say, “The tug is the drug?” Yup, the immediate jolt of tension just feels good. It is distinct and vibrant. Often these patterns are attacked with a vengeance. The response is usually not docile and witnessing this explosive reaction is far more than simply entertaining.

I like the action of the presentation. Streamers are best presented from slow water into faster current. Often this means that you are placing your fly near the bank or inside cobble and swinging the pattern out towards the middle of the river. On the outer bank side, fish will button up under cut banks, pieces of river debris and any little eddy line. Flows are typically faster on this side, so landing the fly into these little breaks is crucial. And more times than not, these breaks are right up against the shoreline that lay like little teeny weeny bullseyes among a thicket of branches, grass, bushes and logs. This is where you really have to hone that cast and find a precision that involves little, if any, error or else bug be gone.

There is a state we get in that can sometimes be hard to find. When we find this state, the fly lands where it needs to land every time – within an inch of the bank, up under a tree branch or on the leeward edge of some boulder home. This is beautiful action. This state is bliss. When this happens there is no other place to be. You go deeper, you accept the risk, you swim that fly like nature intended. You are now in the kitchen. You have found the perfect rhythm and now if only a fish would eat the damn fly! Oh man… come on out of there.

Oh, by the way... Streamers will often land the largest fish in the river.

Alright, I’ve blathered enough for now. But I’m not done talking about streamer fishing. Next round I’ll talk a little more about different presentations and when I like to use them. 

I am off for the Big Hole and the Beaverhead over the next couple days so I should have a few shots and anecdotes when I get back...

"The Gorge"

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