Streamer Retrieves For Different Current Speeds

Some tips to make your streamer fishing more productive.

I’ve talked in great detail about streamer fishing since I began writing articles for Gink & Gasoline. Most of my time has been spent talking about color and pattern choice, streamer gear/rigging for both big and small water and how to locate and target prime trout water with streamers. One area of streamer fishing I’ve yet to talk about in detail is retrieve speed and candor with streamers.

I’ll never forget a trip several years ago I made down to Patagonia, Argentina, where my expert guide taught me the importance of matching my streamer retrieve speed to the speed of the water current I was fly fishing. My guide had watched me for several minutes as I stripped my streamer through a very productive looking run, loaded with buckets. Despite completing two dozen casts, I had failed to get even a single follow from a trout. About the time I was ready to give up and move on, my guide walked up to me and respectfully asked for his permission to make a few casts of his own with my rod. He claimed he could catch a fish in the same water I had just beat to death with my streamer in just a few casts. This is when he made me feel like a total schmuck and rookie. It didn’t take him a few casts to catch a big brown trout out of that hole I had just fished. It took him exactly one cast, that’s all.

Grin on his face, he told me, “The water we’re fishing is really fast.”

You don’t want to rip your streamer through that water with long quick strips, because the fish won’t feel like they’ll have a good chance at success running it down.” He went on to add that just like in nymph fishing where most of the time you want your nymphs drifting close to the bottom, you also want to keep your streamers running deep as well. Then he handed my fly rod back to me and told me to make a cast myself. This time however, he instructed me to dead drift or twitch my streamer lightly as it was drifting through the fast water, then impart a short, strip…strip..pause, strip…strip..pause, for my retrieve as I entered the areas where the water speed began to slow and the deep water buckets were located. My first cast, I missed a strike and my second, I landed a nice 18″ brown trout. I was completely blown away that I had previously had zero success on the water, and just by altering my retrieve speed and shortening my strip I had turned it all around. On the walk back to the lodge, my guide wrapped up my streamer lesson by telling me that slow moving water most of the time, you want to do the exact opposite. In situations where your streamer fishing slow moving water he recommended speeding up the retrieve and length of strip.

Years have past since that day of streamer enlightenment in Argentina. I’ve never forgotten those words of streamer wisdom my Argentine guide graced me with. I’ve learned that every day of streamer fishing is unique. It’s very important for anglers to experiment with their retrieve speed and strip length to figure out what the fish prefer over the other. And when you’re streamer fishing and catch a fish, pay attention to the exact retrieve that you were using when you caught the fish.Try to consistently copy that same retrieve as you go on fishing productive water. Doing so, you’ll often be able to identify one retrieve over the others that will trigger more bites. Be prepared to go back to experimenting with different retrieves if the fly fishing gets cold. Time of day, water temperature or type of water you’re fishing can change conditions enough that will, in turn, change how the fish will prefer to forage on food or how they will be triggered instinctively by your streamer.

Lastly, try different retrieve angles and directions with your streamers as well. Quite often, you’ll find a down and across retrieve to work the best when fishing streamers, but sometimes, a  dead-drift with a couple twitches here and there or a quartering upstream cast and retrieve back to you will bring more success. Your goal as a streamer fisherman is to always adjust and experiment with your retrieve and candor styles until you can dial-in to what the fish want. Don’t make the mistake of automatically thinking pattern choice is the only thing that drives success with streamers. It’s definitely something you want to look at if you aren’t catching fish, but quite often, it’s your retrieve and action that you put on your streamer that makes the real difference in success.

Keep it Reel,

How to Tie The Autumn Splendor

Tim Heng is a fixture on the Colorado fly-fishing scene for a quarter century, having founded Roaring Fork Anglers before moving on to manage Taylor Creek Fly Shop. He invented the Autumn Splendor early in his career after watching a client fish a doll-eyed bass fly and move a lot of fish. The problem was that the fish didn’t end up eating the pattern. So Heng sat down at his vise and concocted a trout version of that bass fly. In the twenty-plus years since, the Autumn Splendor has become a go-to streamer for anglers around the country.

In this week’s video, Tim Flagler of from Tightline Productions takes a few liberties with Heng’s pattern, but the result is clearly the child of the father. I love the way that Tim arranges the materials on the hook to ensure that all the materials work together and stay in place. With fall streamer season kicking into high gear, this is a great pattern to have in your arsenal.

          Autumn Splendor
          Hook: 4X-long streamer hook (here a Dai-Riki #700), sizes 2-10.
          Head: Gold cone, 4.5 mm.
          Weight: 16 turns of lead-free round wire, .020.
          Thread: Yellow, 6/0 or 140-denier.
          Tail: Yellow marabou.
          Flash: Gold Krystal Flash.
          Body: Yellow pearl chenille.
          Legs: Yellow round rubber legs, medium.
          Hackle: Orange grizzly.
          Adhesive: Head cement.


See the full video here.

Flutter Spoons: Everything You Need To Know

Flutter spoons are AWESOME Summer and Fall baits for targeting bass that are feeding on baitfish. The technique remains a mystery for most anglers but Tim has refined his methods for both rigging and fishing this unique style of spoon. In this video he breaks down all the details to help you become successful with a Flutter Spoon. 

Whether you want to throw a small 4″ spoon, the standard 6″ or the giant Magnum spoons, these tips will help you be more successful. Tim breaks down several different retrieves as well as the rigging you’ll need to hook more of your bites. 

Below is a breakdown of Tim’s favorite spoons. The main difference between brands of spoon is thickness and weight. You’ll want to try several of them to experiment with fall rates and figure out if the fish you’re targeting prefer a faster or slower fall. 

Nichols Lake Fork Flutter Spoon:
Strike King Sexy Spoon:
Ben Parker Magnum 8″ Spoon:
Ben Parker 6″ Spoon:

Spoon Stinger Hook Rigging…
Owner ST-36 Treble Hooks:
Hyperwire Split Rings:
Spro Power Swivels:
6th Sense Bobber Stops:

6″ Spoon Combo…
Rod- G Loomis IMX Pro 904:
Reel- Shimano Metanium 8:1 Ratio:
Line- 65 lb Maxcuatro Braid:
Leader- 20 lb Maxima Ultragreen Mono:

8″ Spoon Combo…
Rod- Dobyns 795 Swimbait:
Reel- Curado K 7:1 Ratio:
Line- 65 lb Maxcuatro Braid:
Leader-25 lb Maxima Ultragreen:

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Night Fishing For Bass: Everything You Need To Know

Colorado Blade Spinnerbaits and Black Worms are history! Here’s what you need to know about night fishing today! We’re covering colors, moon phases, and a variety of lure styles that will change how you fish for Bass in the dark. 

Are you ready to catch bigger bass at night? Tired of the same old results? Don’t throw the same lures as everyone else! Its time for wake baits, chartreuse crankbaits, swim jigs, and more! 

We break our lures into 4 categories. We’ll discuss slow moving bottom baits, crankbaits, fast moving baits, and swimbaits. Here are our favorites…

Slow Moving Baits…

Worm- 10″ Power Worm:
Creature- Zoom Brush Hog:
Hook- Owner 7/0:
Weight-Brass Bullet:
Glass Beads:
Bobber Stopper:

Jig- No Jack V.2:
Trailer 1- Sweet Beaver:
Trailer 2- Archelon:
Jig Rattles with Collar:


Strike King 10XD:
Strike King 6XD:
Norman DD22:

Fast Moving Baits…

Spinnerbait (Giant Fish)- Revenge Heavy Duty:
Spinnerbait (Average Fish)- River2Sea Bling:
Bladed Jig- Chatterbait Custom 1/2 oz:
Swim Jig- California Swim Jig 1/2 & 3/4 oz:
Trailer- Keitech 4.8″ Swimbait:


Bull Shad Wakebait:
BBZ Rat 50:
BBZ 8″ Swimbait:
6.8″ Keitech:
Beast Hook- Weighted:

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