Plenty of quality brown trout were caught this past week on all manner of flies and techniques. Full profile streamers chucked on 8 weights with sink tip lines caught their fair share, but drifting shad patterns and dredging eggs both are producing quality fish as well, if not better fish.
Brown trout can be lazy pragmatic creatures as easily and as often as we imagine them to be voracious aggressive predators. There is simply a time to trigger that predator response with a fast retrieved full profile streamer, and a time to gently feed them an easy meal in the form of a dead drifted fly.
Streamer fishing is exciting when it works. There is something utterly heart stopping about the thud of a heavy fish on a tight line retrieve. For these reasons streamer fisherman are dedicated, steadfast, and willing to endure long periods of slow fishing for that one hour of fun. They also have a tendency however to look down upon the dead drift as a lowly form of fly fishing. Perhaps the slower pace of dead drifting can seem boring, and that’s understandable, but another common perspective amongst streamer fishermen is that dead drifting requires less skill and is therefore a technique reserved for “beginners.”
I would argue that the amount of skill required for any given technique to be successful is not a constant; rather, the amount of skill required is a variable that depends on water and weather conditions. Factors like water depth and variation in speed, underwater structure, wind direction, extreme temperatures, and the mood of the fish, are what determine the amount of skill needed, not the presence or absence of a strike indicator. Streamer techniques and dead drift techniques can both be poorly executed just as easily. The effective execution of either technique requires skill, or at least the willingness to adapt and learn.
Read on for specifics on flows and flies.
10,000 – 12,000cfs has been the norm. Streamer fishing has been good at times, and dismal at others. Lots of fish were taken in the past few days on Double Deceivers, Viking Midges, Sluggos, Twerking Minnows, and Modern Deceivers. Thinner, shorter streamers like Circus Peanuts and Sex Dungeons in white/olive/black are also good. When streamers aren’t working, shad imitations like Meat Whistles and AR Beadheads are catching nice browns on the dead drift. Deep drifted eggs of course catch fish. The flow pattern appears to be changing as of right now, with the projection showing minimum flow tonight and tomorrow morning until 6am. Generation should start again early and ramp up to big water by 8 or 9am, then gradually decrease until full cessation around 2pm. We shall see how the up and down affects the fishing.
Expect a full two units until 1pm when generation is shut down briefly, then a return to two units for the evening hours. Weighted streamers like Bait Fish Head Twerking Minnows, Alex’s White River Deceiver, and Viking Midges are necessary to get down directly off the bank in the pocket water. Meat Whistles or white Circus Peanuts drifted or stripped slowly in deep pools are also good. Deep dredged eggs of course catch fish.