Hook I

Articulated streamers = Trout

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I'll be the 1st to admit just about all of my largest Trout have been on traditional streamers , almost anytime of the year . I think I have it coming together nicely but when I went to Articulated streamers , either my rod or line adjustment was just not right , I'm using a 9' &  10 ' Orvis Clearwater 5w WF line  sinking leader 3x tippet  . I have fished a completely sinking line before but that was a mess . For the guys who do fish them any suggestions tips & comments would be appreciated ?   Not fishing from a drift boat  

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Depending on the size of the fly, a 5 wt is really not enough gun.  I rarely use a single handed rod for streamer fishing anymore id I am wading, but when I do, I use an old 7wt Orvis HLS ( since my son swiped by Sage RPLXI) I fish a bank shot sink tip on it and it behaves extremely well with large articulated flies.  I fished my 8 wt XDLT floating in Montana last fall and loved it.  Big junk, water haul and send it.  I also have an old orvis 6 wt glass rod that I use for my big junk rod on smaller streams- tremendously fun.

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5 wts aren't serious streamer rods unless fish are small.If you're gunning for those 20+" fish you gotta throw some meat flies and have the rod to propel them.I typically use at least a 7wt and an 8wt if if it's a bigger,deeper river or the trout are running on the larger side.Do not consider whether the heavier rod will be sporting on smaller fish.If you're doing it right you won't catch many of those.

If you're wading ,a full sink can be difficult to manage ,so, a sink tip is the obvious answer.I usually use a faster sinking tip,like a #6,to compensate for the floating part continually pulling the sinking part up.A type 6 head will fish at a similar depth to a full sink type 3.Longer heads will get you deeper

The lines to choose from are a myriad and plethora and you'll have to figure out what you want for the rivers you fish.The SA Titan sink tips are what I've been using but Cortland and RIO both make some good product in the same vein.

BTW,an intermediate line is what I fish the most for rivers that avg less than 6' in depth and I do pretty well w/ it.For wade fishing I like a sinking line w/ a floating running line,not a sinking one so it doesn't go to the bottom and kill my casts for distance or have me stepping on it as I wade/fish.

I should note that while a 5 wt can land larger fish,such as the two largest fish of any species I landed which were both 54".One was a carp and the other a King salmon.The salmon sums up what typically happens when under-gunned and engaging in a protracted battle.It died.Could not be revived.

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2 hours ago, slip n slide said:

5 wts aren't serious streamer rods unless fish are small.If you're gunning for those 20+" fish you gotta throw some meat flies and have the rod to propel them.I typically use at least a 7wt and an 8wt if if it's a bigger,deeper river or the trout are running on the larger side.Do not consider whether the heavier rod will be sporting on smaller fish.If you're doing it right you won't catch many of those.

If you're wading ,a full sink can be difficult to manage ,so, a sink tip is the obvious answer.I usually use a faster sinking tip,like a #6,to compensate for the floating part continually pulling the sinking part up.A type 6 head will fish at a similar depth to a full sink type 3.Longer heads will get you deeper

The lines to choose from are a myriad and plethora and you'll have to figure out what you want for the rivers you fish.The SA Titan sink tips are what I've been using but Cortland and RIO both make some good product in the same vein.

BTW,an intermediate line is what I fish the most for rivers that avg less than 6' in depth and I do pretty well w/ it.For wade fishing I like a sinking line w/ a floating running line,not a sinking one so it doesn't go to the bottom and kill my casts for distance or have me stepping on it as I wade/fish.

I should note that while a 5 wt can land larger fish,such as the two largest fish of any species I landed which were both 54".One was a carp and the other a King salmon.The salmon sums up what typically happens when under-gunned and engaging in a protracted battle.It died.Could not be revived.

This & the reply that titleguy posted sums it up perfectly. They make fly rods in various weights, to cast the flies ( size, weight, air resistance) first, then the size of the fish may be another consideration. If the trout are all 12" or smaller, you don't need big articulated flies and a 5 wt is fine. However, those aren't the fish you're after. 

 

IMO, a lot of folks have a mental block about trout & heavier tackle, because it's espoused in many writings about using tiny flies and finesse tackle. However, tossing big flies is power fishing. A 5 wt is not power fishing.

 

I see this often with bass anglers too that fish for trout often. They want to stay with light tackle and tiny flies, although the flies are usually larger than they'll use for trout.  They believe a size 4 streamer that's 3" long is "big". An 8" streamer is getting in that big range. 5"-6" long, might be big in some waters, but not a fly you want to be casting with a 5 wt.

 

If you were paying for a trip to Alaska, where trout can be double digit size, would you take a 5 wt?  Maybe for dry flies, but an 8 wt would be a more logical choice. They use a variety of fly sizes, but more big than small. It's no different, because the location changes.

 

If you're going to fish for big fish, go with big flies and appropriately sized tackle to cast and work the flies properly. 

 

Yes, you can catch some big fish on smaller flies, and lighter tackle. It happens all the time, but most people who experience it, are not targeting big fish purposely. In some waters, big fish feed regularly on small size forage. Some of the insect hatches are legendary. They don't happen year round in most places.  That's an excuse that people use. That and they say that heavy tackle wears them out. Those people should just stay at home.

 

Nothing is a guarantee, but if you're going to target big fish, then target big fish. Big flies, heavier tackle. 7 wt minimum. 

 

All of what these other fellows said, is right on the money! . 

 

 

Edited by Jim H

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I think you guys covered this all really well.  I would just second that a short sink tip to a floating line is in my mind the best option by FAR.  Before moving to this type of line the amount of frustration from having line sink at my feet was unbelievable.  I use a 7wt sage one for my streamer work and love it.  The other thing I would add is I never throw one bug streamer fishing - I will throw a large articulated streamer trailed by a nymph or smaller streamer.  Throwing even this small amount of additional weight also pushes up the need for a heavier rod.  As far as leaders go, I just use straight mono to the streamer and then 4x to the nymph.  One last thought on the articulated streamer topic is I also break off the stinger hook with the thought that aggressive meat eating trout target the head of prey and removing a two hook fly can be a real pain.  Pun intended. 

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I agree with the above and will add one fact that I don’t believe has been covered...don’t be afraid upsize your leader strength just the same as your rod. 20lb test is by no means a bad idea when tossing a streamer that’s over a half a foot long. 

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I come from the "It's the archer, not the arrow" tribe.

 

Here's a Farmy truttasaurus from a couple years ago, taken on a streamer, quickly whipped on my 10' Hardy Marksman II 5-weight, in water that I would call high (750cfs). This is a fish that could be clearly measured in pounds instead of inches. 

5e8b9e71864a9_HugeFarmyBrowncopy.jpeg.fccc1d9e2134f36da9e92ea337504ca7.jpeg

 

As luck would have it, I caught a similar sized pig today on the Farmy, also quickly landed on the same rod (photo coming tomorrow!).

 

Perhaps it's my half-Scottish background, but I often try to make do with what I have. That Hardy is a dedicated wet fly, nymphing, and streamer rod. It gets plenty of streamer action, mostly on the Farmington and the Housatonic. The smallmouth I target on the Hous see a lot of bulkier streamers, so I use a Sci Anglers Anadro taper floating line, 7 or 8 weight. It handily casts the bugs I favor. I also use it for mousing at night. The heavier line is excellent for handling a heavier payload.

 

That's not to say you can't or shouldn't get a 6-weight rod. Whatever makes you happy.

 

But the OP's question is about articulated streamers. We can all understand the protein payoff. However, bigger isn't necessarily better when it comes to productivity in streamer fishing. I wrote a piece for American Angler a few years ago called "Streamer Kings." It's worth finding it online (good stuff from George Daniel, Tommy Lynch, and Chad Johnson). George makes the point that big, articulated flies move more big fish, but he gets more hookups with smaller stuff (the fish above hit a fly that was under 4"). Also, flies that are killer out west don't necessarily translate to rivers back east, and vice versa. Lastly, some articulated streamers cast like a wet sock. Others don't. YMMV.

 

As far as leaders go, the question to first ask is, "What do you want the fly to do?" I use a full sink integrated line, mostly in winter, but the leader length depends on the above question. If I want the fly deep, it's a short (3' or less) leader. If I'm fishing it in September (as I was for the above trout) trying to get a neutrally buoyant effect on a deer hair head fly, my leader is 7' or so. Most of the time, I fish the floater. 7'-8' leader, sometimes just a straight shot of 8#-15#.

 

I hope that helps!

 

Steve Culton 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Ftyer said:

I agree with the above and will add one fact that I don’t believe has been covered...don’t be afraid upsize your leader strength just the same as your rod. 20lb test is by no means a bad idea when tossing a streamer that’s over a half a foot long. 

I don't have any trout near me now, so all of my fishing is for warmwater or coastal fish. Some years ago, I up sized to a 10 wt for the bass fishing that I did, and 20 lb tippet is what I use most. I've gone as heavy as 30 lb, although that was mostly for extra abrasion resistance. 

 

I also went a good bit heavier with the rest of the leader, so very much agree with the comments made here. These changes I made were done to help with casting the bigger flies I used. I tried it with "trout" leaders, the 1X & 0X leaders, and some "bass" leaders, but they're not intended for the fish I was chasing and not the big flies I was using. They didn't allow me to accomplish what I needed. I tie my leaders, and formulas that I had found for bass, were not heavy enough for the flies I was using. They likely work for a lot of bass fishing that most might do, but not everyone goes to these extremes.

 

I also used an 8 wt for several years, believing what I had read about it being adequately heavy enough for bass. It is, for many flies used and conditions, but not all. It's plenty for most bass that are caught too.

 

I doubt anyone would need to use a 10 wt for trout, but I wouldn't rule it out either. 

 

 

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18 hours ago, Ftyer said:

I agree with the above and will add one fact that I don’t believe has been covered...don’t be afraid upsize your leader strength just the same as your rod. 20lb test is by no means a bad idea when tossing a streamer that’s over a half a foot long. 

Absolutely! I go through more 20lb in a summer than any other tippet size.

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16 hours ago, Jim H said:

I don't have any trout near me now, so all of my fishing is for warmwater or coastal fish. Some years ago, I up sized to a 10 wt for the bass fishing that I did, and 20 lb tippet is what I use most. I've gone as heavy as 30 lb, although that was mostly for extra abrasion resistance. 

 

I also went a good bit heavier with the rest of the leader, so very much agree with the comments made here. These changes I made were done to help with casting the bigger flies I used. I tried it with "trout" leaders, the 1X & 0X leaders, and some "bass" leaders, but they're not intended for the fish I was chasing and not the big flies I was using. They didn't allow me to accomplish what I needed. I tie my leaders, and formulas that I had found for bass, were not heavy enough for the flies I was using. They likely work for a lot of bass fishing that most might do, but not everyone goes to these extremes.

 

I also used an 8 wt for several years, believing what I had read about it being adequately heavy enough for bass. It is, for many flies used and conditions, but not all. It's plenty for most bass that are caught too.

 

I doubt anyone would need to use a 10 wt for trout, but I wouldn't rule it out either. 

 

 

I think it’s unfortunately common for anglers to underprepare for things and tippet strength is a fairly common component to do so. I believe that tippet”x” strength is pretty much an absurd marketing scheme as my fishing has never been compromised by not touting one of those terribly inconvenient rings of tippets ranging from 2x-8x. For striped bass and other saltwater fish that aren’t overly toothy, no less than 20lb and 30lb is most common. 

 

For trout, when nymphing or dry fly fishing, it’s usually 12 lb tapered right to  about 8.5 lb, when streamer fishing, it can go up to 25lb straight mono without much of an issue. 

 

For those who believe trout see tippet, I’d like to remind everyone of George Harvey’s experiment where he threaded Japanese beetles onto mono that went up to 80lb in strength and fed them to trout feeding below a bridge. As long as there was no drag, the fish ate. George Harvey is also one of the most integral conductors of past fly fishing—without him we wouldn’t have a lot of great things that range from well formulated leaders and go all the to genetically selecting chickens to improve hackle quality. Not to mention, if trout were so weary of visuals, those thick black nickel, bronze, or whatever other color hooks would surely be a deterrent. 

 

The topic of anglers feeling that they need lightweight tactics to land fish doesn’t sit well with me at all as it stresses fish, lends itself to more fish being broken off, and a lot more trees get decorated as a result too. In most cases, I think, they just believe what they’re told without ever questioning or thinking of trying something different. 

Edited by Ftyer

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Lots of great info. One thing I will add, a number of anglers talked about stepping on the line, I started using a Stripping Basket for my trout fishing decades ago and would not fish without it now... 

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1 hour ago, Ftyer said:

I think it’s unfortunately common for anglers to underprepare for things and tippet strength is a fairly common component to do so. I believe that tippet”x” strength is pretty much an absurd marketing scheme as my fishing has never been compromised by not touting one of those terribly inconvenient rings of tippets ranging from 2x-8x. For striped bass and other saltwater fish that aren’t overly toothy, no less than 20lb and 30lb is most common. 

 

For trout, when nymphing or dry fly fishing, it’s usually 12 lb tapered right to  about 8.5 lb, when streamer fishing, it can go up to 25lb straight mono without much of an issue. 

 

For those who believe trout see tippet, I’d like to remind everyone of George Harvey’s experiment where he threaded Japanese beetles onto mono that went up to 80lb in strength and fed them to trout feeding below a bridge. As long as there was no drag, the fish ate. George Harvey is also one of the most integral conductors of past fly fishing—without him we wouldn’t have a lot of great things that range from well formulated leaders and go all the to genetically selecting chickens to improve hackle quality. Not to mention, if trout were so weary of visuals, those thick black nickel, bronze, or whatever other color hooks would surely be a deterrent. 

 

The topic of anglers feeling that they need lightweight tactics to land fish doesn’t sit well with me at all as it stresses fish, lends itself to more fish being broken off, and a lot more trees get decorated as a result too. In most cases, I think, they just believe what they’re told without ever questioning or thinking of trying something different. 

So what articulated streamers do you prefer ? 

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44 mins ago, Hook I said:

So what articulated streamers do you prefer ? 

I tend to go less with specific patterns and more with matching forage in the places I’m fishing, it’s rare that I have two exact streamers—Kelly Galloup’s patterns can be the exception to that for me. Often it’s some type of zonker with a spun deer or sheep fleece head. I’ll adapt bucktail saltwater flies as well and they work just fine. Large crawfish imitations have proven successful for me as well, maybe the fish just took it as a sculpin though.

 

Another note in the topic of fishing streamers is not to rip the fly through the water. When I see freshwater baitfish, they often move a few inches, pause, then maybe move back a half a foot, up a few inches, etc., it’s rare that they rip from the bottom of the run to the top for no reason, despite a lot of anglers tending to furiously strip their streamer through the water (not saying that you or anyone else falls into that category, just making a statement based off of observations). For things like that, i very often incorporate marabou into the fly somewhere as it breathes very well in current. 

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14 mins ago, Ftyer said:

I tend to go less with specific patterns and more with matching forage in the places I’m fishing, it’s rare that I have two exact streamers—Kelly Galloup’s patterns can be the exception to that for me. Often it’s some type of zonker with a spun deer or sheep fleece head. I’ll adapt bucktail saltwater flies as well and they work just fine. Large crawfish imitations have proven successful for me as well, maybe the fish just took it as a sculpin though.

 

Another note in the topic of fishing streamers is not to rip the fly through the water. When I see freshwater baitfish, they often move a few inches, pause, then maybe move back a half a foot, up a few inches, etc., it’s rare that they rip from the bottom of the run to the top for no reason, despite a lot of anglers tending to furiously strip their streamer through the water (not saying that you or anyone else falls into that category, just making a statement based off of observations). For things like that, i very often incorporate marabou into the fly somewhere as it breathes very well in current. 

The only time I rip them thru is when it’s shallow water &  full sun I believe bait does not want to be seen by predators 

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