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It’s Streamer Time!

Some of the largest brown trout of the year are fooled with streamers during the autumn season. Make sure you carry a thorough assortment of articulated streamers, Meat Whistles, Slump Busters, Autumn Splendors, Wool-Head Sculpins, and Woolley Buggers.

Streamer tactics vary greatly from one angler to another depending on the conditions and what they want to accomplish. The most common method is the strip and swing technique achieved by casting your streamer downstream, allowing the fly to swing in the current and imparting action into the fly by stripping the fly line under your index finger. Vary your retrieve and never rule out experimentation. Sometimes a slow strip will trigger a strike while other times a faster retrieve creates explosive takes because trout thinks their prey is trying to escape them.

There are two schools of thought when fishing streamers. You can blind fish and cover the water methodically or you can cast your flies to specific lies allowing them to swing into the desired structure or in front of fish. You can control depth with sink tip lines, by adding slack into the line, mending, or even tightening the line forcing the fly to swing and rise in the current. You can add a split shot to the leader, which will further assist in depth control. Some anglers place the split shot snug on the eye of the hook while others place the weight 6 inches from the fly. Each method will provide a slightly different action.

Dead drifting a streamer is another effective tactic. This method works well in faster riffles and pocket water and is especially effective on point bars and mid-channel shelves. Fish sitting in transitional areas will crush a streamers when they drift over a drop off. A high stick approach works best when your dead drifting streamers because you can control the depth with the butt end of your leader, simply moving your arm up and down to achieve the proper depth.


This Colorado River brown trout was fooled with Tim Heng’s Autumn Splendor. Some of thelargestbrown trout of the season are fooled with streamers time of year.

Heng’s Autumn Splendor Recipe

Hook: #4-10 Tiemco 5263
Cone or lead eyes: Copper or silver to match hook size
Weight: .030 Lead wire
Thread: Brown 6/0 Uni-Thread
Tail: Brown marabou with copper Krystal Flash
Abdomen: Brown chenille (medium)
Rib: Copper Ultra Wire (small)
Hackle: Orange and olive dyed grizzly
Legs: Yellow round rubber legs
Cone or lead eye guidelines: Large #4-6 and medium #8-10

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Pat Dorsey Fly Fishing