Inciting a Streamer Strike
Streamer fishing is a well accepted means of targeting larger than average trout. The technique is often very visual and most experienced anglers are familiar with the common chase and no strike scenario. The chase is typically a territorial reaction, often accompanied by short strikes that never quite connect. While the chase is exciting, making a few minor adjustments can incite a committed grab.
Adding a second streamer is one of my favorite techniques when fish are chasing. The second streamer changes the game from a simple territorial battle to a competition for a food source. Use a small streamer as the lead and a larger streamer as the trailer. I use contrasting colors to increase the visibility through variable conditions. A white dace on the lead with a dark bugger or zonker as the trailer is a deadly combo.
The Long Pause
Trout will chase a fast retrieve because the streamer is attempting to escape. Adding a sudden and long pause to the retrieve changes the chase dynamic and your streamers transforms from a nuisance to a potential food source. This technique is effective from any fishing position but the visual experience is most exciting from a drift boat. Slap your streamer against the bank and make 3-4 hard strips followed by a two second pause. The initial flurry of action draws the fish out and the pause offers a food source before the fish is fully aware of the exposed position and vulnerability to predation. The elevated boat position makes it possible to observe the action and compensate the speed and depth of the retrieve based on the behavior of the fish.
Bouncing your streamer makes it visible in all levels of the water column. The up and down action also reduces the trout’s ability to chase. Bouncing works well with forward heavy flies. It is also best practiced in deep, slow water and especially effective during the colder months. Bouncing is basically jigging and you can cover large areas of water in a methodical fashion. Cast down and across, allow the fly to drop and raise your rod tip to lift the fly while retrieving a small amount of line. Repeat the process to cover the run while attracting hunger based strikes.
Zach Lazzari is a fly fishing guide in Montana. He owns nomad-fly-fishing.com and enjoys a fishing rich lifestyle.