• Nicholas Raftas

Thoughts on Streamer Fishing

I spend a lot of time fishing big rivers especially the Lehigh River and one of my favorite ways to target fish on guide trips is to have anglers throw streamers. Streamer fishing is a whole new can of worms that takes time, the right conditions, the ability to cast a variety of fly lines and more often than not requires efficiently throwing pretty large and heavy flies. It isn't always pretty.


Without overcomplicating the topic I usually start simple by rigging up an Orvis sinking leader with a 2-3 foot tippet of 0x with an unweighted deer hair streamer called the "Drunk and Disorderly or something similar. You can purchase them at http://www.orvis.com/p/mini-drunk-and-disorderly/18rfI or pick them up at some of the local Orvis stores. I also really like the Double Deceiver tied by Mike Schmidt. You can find the Double Deceivers on the Anglers Choice Website at http://anglerschoiceflies.com/.



Drunk and Disorderly Streamer created by Tommy Lynch and available through Orvis

Here are some of the things I look for in a streamer:


-I like the head to be bigger than the tail. By having the head bigger than the tail the strip imparts a greater action through the fly. Since the head moves more water than the tail of the streamer it allows the tail to flutter, kick and keel. Almost all of my streamers are tied with schlappen tails and a variety of other materials that are light and do not hold water. With the lighter materials casting big streamers becomes much easier. A lot of the time I even tie a long streamer without a back hook. I don't overly concern myself with short strikes because if a brown trout wants to eat your fly they will crawl up your arm to eat it. It wont make a difference if you have a trailer hook on.


-I prefer tails tied with deer hair and trimmed down using double edged razors and scissors. The deer hair is light, hollow and doesn't hold water. It makes them easier and lighter to cast than flies that are loaded up with rabbit strips, laser dubbing and helmets. I think the helmets are great if you need to get down fast and keep it there but I also think they cause the fly to lose a lot of action. There is a time and place for them but they aren't usually my preference.


-I prefer unweighted streamers that get "hang time" and don't sink like a rock. In fly fishing you aren't fishing the fly you are fishing the line. A lot of the time I just want to see that streamer pulled under the surface anywhere from 6-20 inches. That's all it takes.


-I prefer unweighted streamers that get "hang time" and don't sink like a rock. In fly fishing you aren't fishing the fly you are fishing the line. A lot of the time I just want to see that streamer pulled under the surface anywhere from 6-20 inches. That's all it takes.


-I like streamers that impart a lot of action even with short lazy strips. If you think just casting a streamer as far as you can and just ripping it through the water as fast as you can is the best way to put fish in the boat you may be missing out on some opportunities at catching those fish that would be more willing to eat something that looks like an easy meal or a wounded bait fish. The longer I fish streamers the more I am finding that I put the most and our best fish in the boat by keeping those streamers up high in the water column and fished with a slow to medium retrieve with short pauses in between. The strikes are usually explosive with fish coming out of the water when they eat and that's a sight you will not forget. Nothing says eat me more than a dying or wounded baitfish


Orvis Endorsed Guide Nick Raftas

Wild East Outfitters Fly Fishing Guide Service on the Lehigh River, Susquehanna River and Juniata Rivers






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