The current season is probably the best time of year to hunt for truly trophy trout. And streamers are your best bet for hooking one of the Yellowstone River’s monsters. The following short article was written a few years back by former Sweetwater Fly Shop employee, current Sweetwater guide, and enthusiastic streamer junkie Beau Peavey. Some of the gear he recommends has since been discontinued/updated, but just come by Sweetwater Fly Shop and we’ll point you in the right direction:
With fall approaching, it could only mean one thing to people that share a passion for large Brown Trout, STREAMER SEASON! Don’t get me wrong, streamers work year round. However, the fall time is very special because as Browns get ready to spawn, they get particularly aggressive toward big flies. It may be that they’re trying to pack on a couple of extra pounds for winter, or it may be that they are showing their dominance, but either way it makes for a fun time for streamer anglers.
In the fall on the Yellowstone there are two color schemes of flies that I would not want to be without, Olive/White, and Yellow/Brown. It is also good to have flies with lots of motion this time of year; it really seems to cut the chases down, and turn them into takes. As far as patterns go, for single hooked flies I really like the Sparkle Minnow in the J.J Special color, Morrish’s Sculpin in Olive, Bow River Buggers in White or Olive, the Conehead J.J Special, and the Zoo Cougar in Olive or Natural. Articulated flies are sort of cumbersome, but after hooking a fish on one, you will understand why people go through the trouble of throwing them. Patterns such as the Sex Dungeon in Yellow, Olive or Orange are super effective. Swimming Jimmies, Silvey’s Sculpin Leech in Olive, the Bottom’s Up in Olive or White, the Articulated Butt Monkey in Brown and Yellow, and Sculpzilla‘s in Orange or Olive are all excellent choices to entice big trout. (Note: we have most of these streamers in stock at the shop)
The gear required to streamer fish is a little bit more stout than what you would usually use for trout fishing. A 6-8 wt. rod will make throwing these heavy flies much more enjoyable. Also, having a faster action rod may help as well. R.L. Winston’s BIIMX, Sage’s One or Xi3, or the S4 from Scott are all excellent streamer chucking rods. A sink tip line is a must, you have to get down to the layer of the large trout, not to say they wont come to the surface to hit big flies sometimes, but your success rate will be much higher if you stoop to their level. Rio makes a StreamerTip, that works very well and 200 to 250 grains should put you right where you need to be. Also Scientific Angler makes a Streamer Express that is an excellent selection as well. Your sink rate will vary with fly selection, but generally speaking you are looking for a sink rate of 5-7 inches per second.
The bigger fish are going to be in the deeper pools, as well as on structure around the banks.