I have been asked, “Whats the key to streamer fishing for big trout?” This could be a lengthy discussion, but to me it really comes down to one thing…getting them to eat when they don’t want to. The best streamer fisherman I know do this on a regular basis. When streamer fishing is “on”, its a pretty easy way to catch trout. The big trout are out hunting. Those days are often few and far between. The majority of days the average streamer fisherman hits the river will be when a big trout isn’t in the mood to run something down. He’s not out hunting. Maximizing your chances during this time will bring more big trout to the net.
Now that we know that, it will be easy right? Well no. Not even close. If it were everyone would do it. I am willing to wager that streamer fishing is picked up and dropped more than any other method of fly fishing. The lure of big trout draws people to it. Countless hours of not moving or catching a fish pushes them away. A large trout is a predator. This is nothing new. There are couple ways to exploit their predatory instincts.
- 1. Invade its domain.
- 2. Be weak.
A large, predatory brown trout owns his domain. Anything that enters his domain is doing so at its own risk. Sometimes he ignores the invasion. Not in the mood to deal with that nonsense. Sometimes he flexes his muscle. He will charge, slash…puff his chest out, letting the inferior prey know it almost made a life ending mistake. But catch him in the right mood (or wrong mood depending on your perspective), and you can piss him off enough to kick your fly’s ass. The most effective way to do this is make him feel as vulnerable. Invade his territory. Knock on his door and he might let you off with a warning. Enter his house and you increase the chance of pissing him off. Piss him off. Thats what you want. Poke the bear. Open the door, turn over his couch, and run like hell.
Predators are like the roided up asshole at the bar. He looks for the smallest guy in the bar to pick on. Predators are born with the instinct to take out the weak. They are drawn to weakness like a bug to light. In the right moment they can’t resist it. A large brown trout is a badass…and he knows it. A weak or dying prey is something he is genetically programmed to kill. Trigger this instinct and he will make a poor decision before he has a chance to stop himself. Make your fly look weak. This could be a panicked flee because it found itself on the wrong side of the railroad tracks. Or your fly could be a dying prey. One that kicks for life, only to pause and slowly sink, yet find enough energy to make another erratic kick or two as it tries to find safety. A prey’s highest priority is safety. A predator wants to prevent it from getting there.
This is the hardest part of streamer fishing for large trout. Trout that are measured in feet. Improve your game in this area and I guarantee you will increase the number of large trout that find the bottom of the net. Poke the bear, and it might poke back.