Video Pro Tips: How to Fish a Streamer on a Floating Line

At last year’s Fly Fishing Show in New Jersey, I was talking to another angler about my favorite way to fish streamers when all I have is a floating line or when the water is too low to use a sinking tip. So I did a search on Youtube and found this great old video from Red’s Fly Shop in Ellensburg, Washington. The video is almost six years old and the resolution is pretty low, but there’s a ton of great information here:

  1. Use a heavy streamer, such as a sculpin or a pattern with a conehead.
  2. Use a fairly long leader–9 or 10 feet–which will allow the fly to get down in the water column and move in a lifelike way.
  3. Make sure you keep the fly line trapped under your “trigger finger,” so you can set the hook quickly, making sure to strip-set or sweep-set.
  4. After you cast, make a mend to help the fly get down, and then start a modified high-sticking presentation. The difference between this and high-sticking a nymph is that you want to maintain continuous contact with the fly, so you can feel a strike.
  5. As the fly starts to swing at the end of the drift, use your rod tip to impart a steady, rhythmic action.
  6. Fish the fly at different levels of the water column by adjusting the upstream casting angle and using larger or smaller mends.
  7. Concentration is key because a fish could strike the fly at any point in the drift or swing, and you’ve got to be ready.

This is an excellent way to cover a lot of water, and it’s more interesting than the standard down-and-across, strip-strip-strip method. So give this a try next time you’re wading a good piece of streamer water.

2 thoughts on “Video Pro Tips: How to Fish a Streamer on a Floating Line”

  1. Item #7 above brought back this memory… I was fishing a tailwater river and using a small conehead streamer. I was using the lake technique of counting down. I would make the cast and began to count 1000-1, 1000-2 etc….
    I would stay in the same spot and work on the cadence of 1000-5, then 1000-10, and so on down to 1000-20 where I was picking up vegetation from the stream bottom. Just like steelhead fishing, I would take a few steps and begin the count sequence again.
    I had moved through the run when I moved down began to cast. Once the fly landed I began 1000
    BAM. Did even get to 1000-1. A nice 15 trout surprised the heck out of me.
    Always remember item #7 above. It can and does happen at any time.

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