Hiwassee Angler is the only full service fly shop in the area. We are located in the heart of some of the best fly fishing that East TN has to offer. We offer guided fly fishing for trout, smallmouth bass and striper. We also offer fly fishing classes. Visit our website by clicking HERE.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fishing Streamers

I decided to write this article about how to fish streamers because it seems like 70% of the time when we tell our customers that they are hitting woolly buggers, they say that they have no idea how to fish a streamer. We certainly don't mind explaining how to fish them, but I thought I would post it here for the benefit of our readers and followers. So, here it goes:
When fishing a streamer, remember that you are using a bait fish imitation. Since you are imitating a bait fish, you want to be stripping the fly back in to you, just like the way a spin fisherman fishes a crankbait. When fishing in rivers that have good current, keep in mind that you will have to cast downstream or across the current in order to strip your fly in against the current. If you cast upstream, like a typical presentation, you won't be able to strip the fly in fast enough to give it any good movement, because the current will merely be washing it downstream faster than you can strip it in.
You may have to experiment with different retrieval speeds and even fish it at different depths until you find the right combination that the fish are looking for. If you need to fish it deeper, you can add split shot to your line or cast slightly upstream allowing your fly to sink to the desired depth before you begin your retrieve. Don't be afraid to experiment with speed and depth until you find the right combination needed to get strikes. There is really no "wrong" way to fish a streamer.
While stripping your fly in you may notice that fish are following it but not striking it. Most people will stop or slow down their retrieve when this happens, hoping that the fish will try to eat it if it stops or slows down. This is exactly the opposite of what you should do. Either keep up the same speed or strip it faster in order to entice a strike. You are counting on his predatory instincts to kick in so he will go ahead and try to eat your fly. Just like running from a bear, this will also entice the fish into attacking his prey.
Most of the time when the fish takes your fly, it will be a vicious strike. He is trying to kill the bait fish on his first contact. Sometimes when you get a strike, it will just feel like your line got heavy all of a sudden. Either way, just remember to keep stripping and to raise your rod tip quickly. This is the proper hook set for streamer fishing. If you try to set the hook quickly without continuing to strip your line in, you will not hook the fish well enough to land him.
This was just a quick article that I decided to write in order to maybe help some people who had questions about how to fish streamers. These flies can be the most productive type of flies that you have in your fly box. However, working in a fly shop, it didn't take long to realize that most people don't fish them because they don't really know how to fish them properly. As a guide, I have clients that ask me all the time to show them how to fish a streamer. After a quick lesson they are usually catching fish on them and telling me that they had no idea how easy it was to fish a streamer. They are also amazed at how effective they are at catching fish. Give them a try and see what you think.


  1. Ton of great info here! Awesome blog, you got a new follower

  2. Thanks Dustin. Glad to have you following.