The following (within quotes) is a cut-and-paste from Stripers Forever:
One of the most frequent questions I get asked is, “What’s your streamer leader formula?” The answer depends on two factors: the kind of line I’m using, and what I want the fly to do.
When I’m fishing streamers for trout, I fish two kinds of lines: either an integrated full-sink line or a floater. Let’s start with the full sink.
Here’s a pdf: Trout Streamer Leaders
I use the full sink mostly in winter. Sometimes I’ll use it during warmer weather if the river is running high. I choose the full sink when I want the line to help the fly get down; consequently, the leader is kept short, three feet or less. Anything over three feet and you begin to defeat the purpose of the full-sink line. Don’t worry about the fly being so close to that heavy, dark string — the last thing a predatory brown is focusing on is your line.
There are a few deep holes in the Farmington that I like to dredge in winter. Unfortunately, bottom structure — snags — is often part of the cost of admission to those lairs. That’s when I’ll use the lighter of the two sinking line leader systems, simply because it’s easier to break off the snag from hell.
As you can see, the floating line system is likewise simple. A standard-issue Ox or lx tapered leader does the job nicely. This is what I’ll use for the vast majority of my streamer fishing, or when I am fishing a big floating fly like a mouse pattern. I’ll add tippet material that matches the terminal end of the taper if the leader gets too short. I will also add tippet material if I want to get my fly down deeper. A floating line gives you the ability to mend, and consequently harness the power of the current or sink your fly. So, about 7 1/2 feet for most applications, and about 10 feet to help get the fly deep.
Big trout don’t care about that heavy black string snaking through the water ahead of your fly. Taken on a Deep Threat streamer and a full-sink line.
A floating line, a 7 1/2 foot leader, a presentation near the surface, and all is right in the streamer world.
I hope the holiday season finds you surrounded by people you love, and by love itself.
Merry Christmas to all — and especially to those who love fishing.
What a great turnout last night, generated by the membership of Croton Watershed Trout Unlimited Chapter. It’s always easier — for me, at least — to present in front of a larger group. Thanks also to Orvis in Yonkers for the venue. There’s something comforting about giving a talk while surrounded by fly rods and reels.
Thus closeth my speaking engagements for 2015. If you took the time to come out and see me, thank you. I truly appreciate it. Lots more coming up in 2016, so stay tuned.
Here’s to you!
Yes, it’s late enough in the present year to be able to mention next year without it seeming like a ridiculous number of months away. Ladies and gentlemen, start your calendars.
I will be making two presentations of “Wet Flies 101” at the Fly Fishing Show in Marlborough, MA, Friday 1/22 and Saturday 1/23. More details once we get into January.
And a heads up: I will again be teaching “Wet Flies and Fuzzy Nymphs for the Farmington” on Saturday 1/30 at UpCountry Sportfishing. You cannot sign up for that tying class here, and you cannot sign up until they post it on their website. I’m just letting you know it’s coming. Last year’s class sold out in no time flat.
For those of you in the NYC/Fairfield County area, I will be at the Orvis store in Ridge Hill Shopping Center in Yonkers, NY, tomorrow night 12/17, presenting “The Little Things” to the TU Croton Watershed Chapter. You need to sign up to attend. For more information and directions, visit https://www.facebook.com/cwctu
What a fun job I have.
Soft hackles have been fooling trout for centuries — and the fish aren’t getting any smarter.
I really don’t like the river at this height (170cfs and falling in the the permanent TMA), especially in winter. Still, it’s hard to argue with air temperatures in the mid 50s in December. I bounced around to a bunch of spots today, switching between nymphs and streamers. Not a touch on the nymphs. The streamer thing was a little more interesting.
I had one solid bump (no hookup), bagged a juvy salmon, and had over a half dozen quality chases/follows that did not result in a hookup. A couple of the spots I fished allowed me to stand on submerged rocks or riverbank boulders. In addition to making casting easier, these also offered a tremendous vantage point for sight fishing to cruising trout — and to watch how they reacted to my offerings.
There’s one spot on the river where I’ve moved a fish my last two outings. He comes out of his hole, flashes at the streamer, then bails. Since I know where he lives, it is a moral imperative that I catch him this winter. Another fish today was an upper teens brown that was waiting in ambush below a ledge. Every time I changed flies, he came out to inspect it. During one follow — there were three of them — he even nudged the fly (Deep Threat) with his nose. But no completion of the transaction. Again, we have his address.
I had a conversation with Grady at UpCountry about all this on my way home, and we were in agreement that a faster retrieve is probably a good plan of action. Although I did plenty of speedy retrieves today, such as you can do with the fly rod.
If you’re heading out, be prepared for crowds. Of the six places I fished today, there were people in four of them — unheard of most Decembers — and none of the pools were named for a house of worship.
The host of Yankee Fisherman, John Kovach, was kind enough to feature me tying one of my favorite steelhead flies, the 60 Second Redhead, on the 12.10.15 show. The segment was recorded at the Arts of the Angler show back in October. You can see it here; I come in around the 17:40 mark. And of course there’s also the official currentseams tying video elsewhere on this site. Thanks again to John and Yankee Fisherman for their continued support.
Yes. The 60 Second Redhead catches steelhead. From November 2015.