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Streamer Techniques

It seems that I am never done talking about streamer fishing. It is something that few anglers seem to understand when it comes to small streams. My approach might be a little different than others but it works if you want to catch big fish. My favorite streamers are always black, have rubber legs, and are heavily weighted. If it isn’t difficult to cast with a 5 weight, it isn’t heavy enough. In small streams, we occasionally get a big fish to eat a hopper or nymph but most of them come on streamers.

When I fish a streamer, I have a very methodical approach. I start at the bottom of the pool and cast the fly to the bank and strip across. It is almost like spey fishing as I take a step with each cast though instead of stepping downstream, I am stepping upstream. If there is structure, i.e. rocks, branches, tree stumps, etc I make sure to get the fly close to it. I will also cast to the downstream bank and strip upstream. I rarely cast upstream and strip down. I find that I get more fish to follow and eat if I come across or up with the fly.

Big Brown on Small Water

Big Brown on Small Water

Another important element is making sure that your rod tip is in the water. Stripping a fly with your rod tip up creates slack and doesn’t allow the fly to sink. Since we are stripping as soon as it hits the water, we need it to get deep fast and lowering the rod tip allows that to happen. Keeping the rod tip low also helps you feel the strike. Anytime you are stripping a fly, the tip of the rod should be in the water.

Last but not least, I strip the fly very fast. I don’t want it to have time to drift downstream and I want the fish to be forced to make a quick decision. I also don’t want them to have a lot of time to look at it. Most of the time I can’t get my clients to move the fly fast enough but it is very important. Sometimes it is the difference between a follow and an eat.

I am always experimenting with flies but a couple of good examples are Galloup’s Sex Dungeon and the Junkyard Dog.

Galloup's Sex Dungeon

Galloup’s Sex Dungeon

To be effective with streamers, you need to be at a point where you are accurate with a fly and have very good line control.

We are in the midst of our monsoon season and so far it has been a soaker here in the mountains. With that comes high and off color water which is the perfect recipe for catching big fish in small water.



About Cinda Howard

Cinda Howard has been an Arizona fly fishing guide for several years. She’s spent her whole life fishing and picked up a fly rod in 1996. She worked for the Orvis Company as a Fly Fishing Manager for eight years before branching off and starting her own business in 2012. Cinda spends a considerable amount of time instructing people on the sport of fly fishing. Cinda has been featured in several fly fishing articles and books (“Fly Fisher’s Guide to Arizona” by Will Jordan, “Arizona’s Official Fishing Guide” by Arizona Highways and Arizona Game and Fish Department) as an expert on fly fishing Arizona. She is extremely passionate not only about fly fishing but also about teaching others. She hosts trips all across the world and has taken customers fly fishing in Alaska, Belize, Oregon, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and The Bahamas. Cinda loves to fish for trout, steelhead, pike, carp, bonefish, tarpon and anything else that will eat a fly. She is a past President of Desert Fly Casters and is a Zane Grey Trout Unlimited board member.

3 Responses to "Streamer Techniques"

  • Edward Dawydiuk
    July 16, 2015 - 4:05 pm Reply

    I am very interested in fly fishing, I took two classes at orvis, I would love to go on and learn more.

  • bubba smith
    July 23, 2015 - 7:21 pm Reply

    Cinda is a top notch guide and fish chick!

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