Gentleman's Streamer Fishing Tips and Tactics

October 27, 2014

This was a crazy week. Just this past week I have guided all sorts of places that all required different skill sets, gear, and strategies.  I am always learning and had some fresh adventures this week especially in the traditional spey fishing realm.  More on that in another post.  Let me start with Streamer Fishing intel for trout.  Big spey writeup coming in the next 24-48 hours.

The week started off on our home water, the Yakima River and I got to hang with a really cool guy that lives on the Methow River in north central Washington.  He is a die hard angler that has fished all over the world but had never floated the Yakima!  His forte is dry fly fishing for Steelhead and he has caught several fish on the Methow this year already on skating flies.  The Methow will be very rain sensitive this year and underwent a very stressful bout with run-off after the recent fires.  There were some flash floods that were sudden enough coming off the fresh forest fires that there was a substantial fish kill from Benson Creek downstream.  PLEASE handle every fish on the Methow with extra care this year.  Especially the trout.  Although rivers are resilient, every fish counts.

Anywho, we fished primarily streamers on the Yakima River using traditional swinging tactics with a 5 weight rod.  If you have never done "gentleman's streamer fishing", try it sometime.  It beats chuckin' and duckin' half chickens out of the boat.  Instead of stripping them aggressively away from the bank you get to throw a long cast and fish it on a slow swing.  The grabs are exhillarating and while the fly swings through you can look around or even put a hand in your pocket and warm it up.

We made a great makeshift sink tip using a 12' 7.0 ips RIO Spey Versileader looped onto the end of a RIO Perception Fly Line.  It worked well and it only cost a few bucks.  Every angler should have a variety of sinking leaders for various situations and a fly line with a good welded loop on the end.  All premium RIO lines and most other brands come with a loop.  Although I have historically preferred a straight nail knot connection because of the way it casts and mends, the loops are so good now and so handy for looping a sinking leader onto the end and giving your opportunities like we enjoyed the other day.  

"Gentleman's Streamer Fishing Gear List"

*although we used a standard floating line (which you can), a Shooting Head style line casts streamers much better.  Especially if you struggle to get great distance with large or heavily weighted flies.

*the more I fish, the more I appreciate good tippet.  I like 2X for most of my trout fishing.  It is very thin and helps the sink rate of your flies, but still provides a very strong connection to the fish.  

Swinging Flies on a Sink Tip - Gentleman's Style

This video must be a decent representation of how to do this, or maybe the 120,000 plus views were just making fun of me.  Either way, check this out.  Some of the overhead footage is pretty handy for seeing how to set up the cast and swing.

  1. I was on the Yak from Oct 18th to the 22nd. I decided to do something different from my buds and fished a black woolly bugger w/ a sink tip the entire trip. Let it swing and then quick strips in. Huge takes and big fish!!!! Do not over look this technique !
  2. Thanks Casey, it doesn't take as many fish to satisfy the angler when they strike hard and you get to feel the grab. Nothing against nymphing but a tight line grab on the swing is a lot more memorable than a bobber going down.
  3. Hey Red's Team. As a recent transplant to Eburg and having little time in the past for low water/winter fishing I really appreciate the great videos, tips and information. Hope to be able to get on the water with one of the team soon. Great work. Thanks Dave
  4. Seems like I was born with a fly rod in my hands. Been throwing flies a little over 60 years now. have caught and released well over 2,000 trout todate looking foe 1,00 or so more before going under. I worked at Thomas and Thomas for 11 years. Thomas Dorsey one of the original owners was and still is a fantastic rod designer, these folks make some really fishable rods. I have fished all over the East and have been lucky enough to land and release king salmon over forty punds coming out of lake ontario. Steelhead up to 14 pounds well over 100 between 4 to 10 pounds mostly in the 6 to 8 poung range. one Saturday on the mouth of Sany creek I hooked 66 fish and landed 14 Kings over 15 pounds the biggest was 26 pounda, I stll carry the scars from the line burns onthe fingers of my left hand. I recently purchased an outfot from Red's with the help of Craig H. the package arrived, well packed and all in one piece no damage of any kind which is unusual for UPS. I explained what I wanted to do and they hit the nail on the head 100% , excellent quality on all products and thy did a perfect job setting up th reel with backing and fly line. Just wanted to say many thanks. I would not hesitate to recommend these folks to any of my fly fishing buddies. looking forward to a few salmon on the cascapeda this summer. Wihing health and bigger fish than in your dreams, Allen Breault from Hinsdale New Hampshire.