The use of a streamer fly to fish for trout has been an area of fly fishing that has undergone radical change and giant leaps within the last few years. For those who don't know, streamers are a category of flies that often imitate bait fish, sculpin, crayfish, leaches, etc. The most basic and often effective streamer is arguably the wooley bugger but there are an endless variety of streamers in all shapes, colors, and sizes. Streamer fishing is a popular method, especially out West, because of several reasons.
1. There is no insect hatch to match.
2. It is less technical than fishing with a dry fly or nymph, which often requires a dead drift.
3. Brown trout love streamers.
4. When fish strike the fly it is usually very intense.
5. Last and most important; with the exception of a few tailwater areas your average size of fish caught goes up when using a streamer.
Streamer fishing has become my favorite style, as I indicated in a previous post. The style of streamer fishing I have adopted reflects that of the famed Kelly Galloup. He teaches a totally different approach to catching fish on streamers than had previously been known. I will not go in to much of the techniques because I don't want to expose the material found in his book and DVD, Modern Streamer Fishing for Trophy Trout. After reading and applying the methods he teaches I have increased the size of my fish hooked considerably.
The equipment used also varies greatly from the usual trout set-up. All of the stuff I use can be altered but I have found my method to work well. I have taken several saltwater trips with my Sage 8 weight rod so to save money and increase the versatility of my equipment I use that rod. It really throws the large flies well. I have a reel to match the rod equipped with the Rio Streamer Line in the 250 grain size. The large arbor reel picks up the line very fast and the sinking line gets the flies down fast and effectively. My leader is comprised of about 12 inches of 20 pound Maxima line and runs to about 18 inches of Maxima 12 pound line.
Pick up a copy of Kelly's book. It is full of information to change the way you fish. I have been using his style flies and equipment for a while and I am hooked. If you are like me and have reached a point where you are not concerned with the quantity of fish you catch but rather the quality, this may be for you. A word of caution: this style is not designed to catch every fish in the river. It is truly trophy hunting at its finest. You should not expect to shoot a trophy white-tail deer every time you step in to the field just as you should not expect to catch a 25 inch or greater brown trout every time you fish a river. The more time you spend doing it and learning the proper techniques will increase your chances of finding that those larger fish.