Streamer Fishing: Beginners Guide & Tips

If you are a fly fish angler, you probably know all about flies, but have you ever used streamers?

Fishing with streamers is a great way to catch trout and other fish in situations where flies may not work. These larger lures mimic a wide range of baits, giving you the chance to target big trout from your favorite stream. So what’s the best way to use streamers? Take a look at these simple tips to get started...


Streamers can catch fish in almost any situation, but they are especially effective for catching trout in high, silty water. If the water looks stained, dirty, and has less clarity than usual, it’s is a good time to try out your streamers. In dirty water, fish will have a hard time seeing smaller flies drifting on the surface. A streamer, however, activates the fish’s lateral line, which senses vibrations.

Another good time to use streamers is when you are new to the area. If you don’t know the water and don’t know what the fish are eating, streamers are a versatile choice to start targeting fish.

Area that have larger prey for trout are generally good places to cast a streamer. If the stream has cray fish, leeches, stone flies, or minnows, trout will likely be targeting these species, as well as the streamers that mimic them.

As you use streamers, you will likely find that some waters are better for streamers than others. This is probably due to the presence of more baitfish in these areas.


Color is probably not the most important factor for using streamers, but if you’re like most anglers, you want to take advantage of every possible detail. To choose the best streamer, talk to your local experts first. Tackle stores, fly shops, and fishing guides will be able to tell you which colors are pulling in fish, and this knowledge should give you a good starting point.

Generally, the old adage of light-colored lures on bright days, and dark-colored lures on dark days is a good idea. For example, if the day is bright, sunny, and warm, go with a white streamer. If it is dark and overcast, go with a black streamer.

Most importantly, don’t hesitate to experiment. Keep trying different colors to find the best one on that day and you’ll eventually come across a winner.


Like selecting which lure to use, there are a lot of options for casting and retrieving your streamer. The most common streamer retrieve is to cast the steamer to the bank of the river and strip it back to you in 6 to 8 inch strips, but you can also go with the traditional fly casting swing.

You can try a strip and pause, which is a good technique for fishing in colder water. This is a good technique because fish in cold water are often sluggish, so the pause gives them a chance to make a strike.

Remember to change your casting angle in relation to the current. Casting upstream will help your streamer sink further, giving you a chance to target fish that may be hanging in deeper waters.


Do you live in an area with no trout streams? You can still use streamers to catch a trophy. Many predator fish will go after a streamer, including northern pike, muskie, and bass. If you’re looking for a fun new way to target fish on your favorite lake, give streamers a try. With a little work and a little luck, you won’t be disappointed!

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