THE STREAMER" by John Dembeck
If you are going to fish
streamers effectively, don't handicap yourself with
inadequate tackle. Use enough gun!
A six or seven
weight outfit will fish big streamers much better
than a four weight. It's also safer and less tiring
too. Don't limit yourself to only floating line. To
get the fly in front of fish in high, heavy water,
a high density sink tip or full sinking line is a
must. A clear intermediate is often effective in big,
slow pools or for pounding the back from a drift boat.
This is not sissy fly fishing! Use short heavy leaders
(OX or 1X) with sinking lines and long heavy leaders
with floating lines.
Don't be afraid to use very large flies. Many 8 inch
trout are eaten by their brethren. In high water last
June on the West Branch there was a week when BIG
fish were feeding almost exclusively on 7 inch alewyfes,
and we experienced some difficulty hooking up because
our flies were too small. When the bait was dominated
by 3 to 4 inch herring, we pounded big browns.
To consistently catch the biggest trout on streamers
requires as much line manipulation and attention to
presentation as dry fly fishing. Since you usually
can't see your fly, it's more difficult to judge your
presentation and make corrections. Unlike dry flies,
you can't see the many fish that follow your fly or
In high dirty water (your best shot at large fish)
the fish hold near cover that breaks the current and
lie in ambush. Fish to the banks, fallen trees, islands,
below points, and pool tail outs. Big fish are lazy,
make it easy for them. Cast where they will be.
In low clear water fish the deepest heaviest currents;
especially if large rocks are present. At dawn and
dusk work the edges of these heavy currents. Cast
your fly well upstream of the targeted lie and mend
line to get it deep. Try to retrieve the fly cross
current (broadside to the fish) as it enters the lie.
Erratic retrieves are usually better than smooth steady
ones. The speed and rhythm of
the retrieve is critical and what the fish prefer
changes daily. In general, the colder the water,
the slower the retrieve. Experiment! Every
guide has had two anglers of equal skills in the boat
and yet one will catch all the fish because of some
slight difference in the retrieve.
Fish the fly all the way back to your rod tip whether
wading or in a boat. Fish often follow a streamer
a considerable distance. If you spot a fish behind
your fly don't slow down, instead speed it up. Predators
expect prey to panic and flee; don't give up. When
you get a strike, Hit'em Hard! A soft dry fly
strike won't even move the fly in the jaws of a big
brown. Strike hard enough to put a size 2 heavy wire
hook through a boney jaw. If you miss a fish; immediately
put the fly right back to his lie. Trout often hit
bait to stun them, then swing around to kill and swallow.
Giv'em another chance to hook up. The best way to
learn streamer fishing is to hire an experienced guide
and float the West Branch during high runoff in early
spring or heavy dam releases in mid summer.
My goal is to make you
a threat to the fish and have fun doing it.
My philosophy is to learn
as much as possible about the fish and environment
every time out; and to pass that knowledge on to you.
Above all, we have fun! When you fish with me, learn
all that you can and please laugh at my jokes. I'll
learn from you and laugh at yours. We'll both be better
I grew up on the Delaware
River and caught my first trout on a fly in 1964.
Commercial fly tying helped me pay for college. I
worked as a marine biologist for an environmental
consulting firm which is how I arrived in the Lake
Ontario region. This opened up a whole new fishing
world populated with giant salmon and steelhead. I
fell in love with the area and decided to raise my
kids there and established a fishing business in 1983.
I've guided on the Great Lakes tribs, the Finger Lakes
and the upper Delaware ever since. Come join me.
John F. Dembeck
NYS Guide License #0189
CPR, First Aid,Water Safety Certified
1522 County Route 3
Hannibal, NY 13074
(315) 564-6366 email@example.com