Streamers are a safe bet in the fall
October 27, 2006
I am often asked what flies I use when fishing lakes or reservoirs during the fall. While an angler can run into a number of different opportunities depending on the insect that is hatching at the time, the use of a streamer is good just about anytime during the fall months.If you are looking to catch larger fish, a streamer is a real go-to fly. A streamer imitates a small fish, which to larger trout means a good meal. One of my favorite patterns was first introduced to me by the late Cal Bird, an extremely famous fly tier in fly fishing circles. His most famous fly is the Birds Nest nymph. This nymph has been one of the most popular nymphs in the West for trout.Bird was a local celebrity of sorts, having settled in the Reno area. It was at a fly tying event in the 80s when I first saw him tie some of his famous flies. However, it was the streamer that bears his name that really caught my eye. It had a nicely formed, thin body with a touch of flash and really nice contrasting colors. I thought it would be a perfect streamer tied in the proper colors of the baitfish that one was trying to imitate.I began tying and fishing them in our local waters. On some very slow times at Martis Lake I surprised myself and others with the effectiveness of this pattern. The fact that this fly was successful when all others were failing only reinforced my belief in it.It is not a particularly fast fly to tie because to tie a quantity of them requires one to tie them in various stages. The reason for this that the floss body and corresponding tinsel need to be reinforced with multiple layers of clear nail polish to make them more durable. Failing to do this leads to the tinsel detaching and the floss fraying from the fishs teeth.I tie a number of the bodies and allow them to dry before I complete the formation of the under-wing, wing, over-wing and the beard. The bodies take the longest to tie. Once you begin the balance of the tying it goes quickly. I used to tie many bodies at time and then leave the tying for a later session.Now I just tie a couple at a time to fish. Any streamer can be effective during the fall months in lakes, but this one has always been one of my favorites. Judging from the aggressive takes that I get with it, the fish would agree with me.During the fall I fish my streamers with a slow-sinking line, mostly an intermediate sink, and fish them either in the shallows, along weed beds, or in the lakes stream channel. My retrieve is typically a short, moderate-paced line strip. This seems to be the most effective during most outings.You should change your retrieve and depth until you find some success. Once you do, you will generally be in for some pretty fast-paced action.A streamer is a great fly for people to use because it is much like fishing a lure. The angler feels the aggressive take and sets the hook. For this reason, beginning and experienced anglers alike really appreciate the streamer.Woolly Buggers are considered streamers and are probably the most popular. Give a streamer a try on your next fall lake or reservoir outing. I am sure that you will have some real success.Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.