Housy Streamer Report 10/21/21: First and Last

The trip didn’t start out like I’d hoped. While I was gearing up, I discovered that I’d forgotten my wading staff. (With flows over 1,300cfs, that would have come in handy.) Then, I realized I’d forgotten my streamer reel and line. Since I was dedicating the session to the streamer cause, I lined up with something I had remembered: my integrated full sinker. It was a classic case of, “somehow, it all works out,” because there were so many leaves in the water. By using a full sink and a tungsten-head streamer, I was generally able to avoid vegetation hits.

First cast with a Mickey Finn soft-hackle, and whack! I hadn’t even begun my strip cadence. It was a quartering cast downstream, and as I fumbled for the line, the streamer sank and began to move down and across. That’s when the hit came. It was a lovely holdover brown, about a foot long, and I thought this was going to be the start of a day where you land a pile of fish just by showing up. ‘Twas not to be. I didn’t see another angler hook a fish over two hours, and there were plenty of people out and about on this fine fall day.

The night before, I tied up two old Housy favorites, the soft-hackled Mickey Finn and Black Ghost. This is an old, crappy photograph, but essentialy the flies have a template of marabou tail, then a contrasting marabou hackle and some black Ice Dub for a collar. There’s flash, too; sometimes I use Krystal Flash and sometimes Flashabou. I’ll try to put together a complete recipe and shoot some better photos of the steamers.

A few minutes later, I stuck what I thought was going to be my biggest trout of the year. I’d felt a solid bump on the cast before; I repeated the cast, and the fish did not miss the second time. It sounded and bulldogged and I realized I might have hooked into a trophy brown. When I finally got its head up, surprise! Smallmouth. A good one, too, mid teens and fat, with dramatic fall camo colors. That’s the latest in the season I’ve ever caught a decent smallie on the Hous.

I visited a second mark and managed a courtesy tap, but with the clock ticking I moved to the last spot. This section was moving faster than the previous two pools, and with a well-defined slot I made the decision to switch to the long-leader jigged mini-streamer. Slow going, but I was rewarded with a fat stocker rainbow on my last cast. And that, I thought, is the perfect way to bookend a two-hour streamer set.

Housy Streamer Report: I shoulda gone in October

I’m not just into fly fishing for the chicks and drugs and hotel points. I’m also in it for the freedom factor. To able to be outside on a November day when the sun is warm, the river clear, the cigar tasty, and most of the rest of the world is working does a soul incalculable good. So what if the the catching is lousy? The fishing, my friends, is downright brilliant.

This year’s Housy streamer trip came late. I hit four name pools with my Mickey Finn soft-hackled streamer. I swung, mended, stripped, and dangled. One touch with no hook set was all I could manage. The water was an easily wadeable 565cfs, cold, with just the slightest of tea stains. A short trip, two hours, and I nursed my Gispert churchill for the better part of the outing. Swarms of small stuff, mostly midges, without a single riser.

And so, with big river visions taking up residence in my brain, we turn our sights to steelhead.

No tonic like it indeed. 

Housy Signage