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Micro Streamers

Posted by Sandy 
Micro Streamers
August 10, 2015 02:00PM
I first heard about mini-mini streamers four or five years ago, from my fishing buddy Bill Blackburn. Since then there have been a few magazine articles here and there too. So this isn't exactly a new idea at this point. But it is an under-appreciated idea. Micro streamers are magic at times. Often at times when everything else seems to be hopeless. Or worse.

Spring Creek fishing in Montana seems to be losing its moxey. Twenty years ago it was impossible to get a rod at O'Hairs Spring Creek a few days in advance, in late June and through July. Back then the only way to fish in July was to book a day next year. Now some 20 years later when there are twice as many outfitters and three times as many fishermen you can usually get a rod tomorrow. Or maybe the day after that.

Even so spring creek fishing is still seen by many as the experienced fly fisherman's final test of mastery. The creeks are open all year now, from snowy and icy cold winter days in January through Pale Morning Dun hatches in July and Baetis hatches in October. The slowest time of year is September, after the Summer mayflies are done and the Fall midges and Fall Baetis still haven't started. On those bright hot sunny and seemingly bugless days in early September it can seem almost impossible to actually catch a fish.

Most fishermen try to work with micro terrestrials. Tiny beetles and Letort Hoppers and ever smaller Pheasant Tail Nymphs. Usually without much success. One or two fish in a long day can be seen as a major victory at that time of year.

But there is another way. Not mini but micro streamers 3/4" inch to 1" inch long--and even smaller--can provide excellent fishing, even in the middle of a hot bright bugless day. The following photo is blurry. I bought some expensive new closeup equipment and i still haven't figured out how to use it yet. I'll get there. The scale here is a bit hard to discern too. But you can still see the idea. This is a #16 DaiRiki 280 hopper hook with a tungsten bead and bit of plastic flashy stuff, tied on Thunder Creek style.

In the middle of a hot bright summer day when the hatches aren't happening there is no better way I know to actually catch a fish--than a bare bones simple micro-streamer. Thank you Bill. You've changed everything for me :=))

When fishing nymphs or dry flies I usually like to work upstream. For fishing micro streamers I try to keep my feet out of the water, walking slowly downstream as close to the water as I can. But not in the water, casting down and across, often stripping line out rather than in as the mini-minnow swings across and down. Fish will come out of nowhere, fish that have been totally invisible while hiding in the weeds suddenly appear in micro-second flash and boom. You've got one on. They don't come out of the weeds like that for just one random Pheasant Tail Nymph. They only do that when there are waves of nymphs drifting downstream. To bring them out of weedy hiding places you're far better off with a mini minnow.
Re: Micro Streamers
August 10, 2015 02:01PM
Someone said: "looks like a croppie jig to me"

Interesting comment that helps clarify the main point. This was an idea about size matters more than appearance. Although the above fly does look like a crappie jig it also looks like a classic Thunder Creek Minnow, albeit tied with flashabou rather than bucktail. But that's not the point. What I'm really talking about is any minnow-like fly tied small. I started out making them like this:

...but eventually found even simpler patterns worked just as well. If it was important to remain politically acceptable as a proper fly fishing gentleman you cold make a miniature Grey Ghost. It doesn't seem to matter. I haven't found any one pattern is measurably better than another. Not really. But there are times when small minnows seem to work better than bigger ones. That is substantively significant. I think.
Re: Micro Streamers
August 17, 2015 09:55PM
Very interesting idea, Sandy.

I was wondering if you've used these micro streamers on freestone creeks and rivers and, if so, what you observations are on their effectiveness.
Re: Micro Streamers
August 18, 2015 02:46AM
Algyros yes. They seem to work everywhere. This isn't my idea. I learned about mini streamers from fishing buddy and rod maker Bill Blackburn, before any of the magazine articles appeared. I've never asked Bill if he thinks of this as his idea. I'll run that by him some day.

300 year old wet flies that many think of as drowned mayfly adults can be thought of as mini streamers--especially the gaudy ones with multi-colored married wings. You might think it doesn't matter what we think. Only that certain flies do or don't catch fish. But it does matter. How we view the flies we fish with influences how when and where we use them. And if we drift them or swing them. Or twitch and pause.

Big streamers and even giant streamers have their place in the lexicon. As we know. But so do the mini and micro streamers. I'm starting to view them as the all purpose when all else fails fall back flies. I knocked'em up with mini streamers on the Wise River about ten days ago. Can't get more classic freestone than that.
Re: Micro Streamers
August 20, 2015 12:08PM
This Stuart Williams photo of one of his Idaho Spey flies for salmon over there--is another interesting example about minimalism at work.

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