This morning we woke up to clear skies and some crisp temperatures. It’s finally starting to feel like fall in Central Wyoming! Flows continue to hold steady on our three North Platte tailwaters; Grey Reef~1,000cfs, Miracle Mile~880cfs, and Fremont Canyon(Cardwell)~72cfs. With these cooler nights the water temperature has begun to drop. With that, we are starting to see some of the bigger fish get more aggressive towards streamers. Big fish eating streamers…sound pretty fun, right? As you would suspect, we have been fielding a lot of questions the past several days in regards to fall streamer fishing, so we thought we give you another round of FAQs….
Streamer fishing the North Platte tail-waters, FAQs…
What is the ideal streamer rod(line/weight) setup for Grey Reef, Miracle Mile, and Fremont Canyon? This is kind of like asking a bowhunter, “what’s the best broadhead?”, or a golfer, “who makes the best club?”. Everyone has their loyalties and their preferences. But lets start here, rod weight/length. Heavier/bulkier flies are going to require a stout rod. We suggest rod weights of 6-8 and a length of 9-9’6″ feet. Granted, there has been a few 5wt models that can get the job done(i.e. Scott S4S 905/4) but we still prefer a little stouter rod for two reasons, heavier/bulkier flies and wind. If you enjoy chucking streamers from a drift boat, a 9ft rod is gonna be the way to go. Shorter rods are going to be more accurate! So if you idea of a perfect streamer day involves picking apart structure and banks, you gonna want to stay with a 9ft rod, or shorter. Now, for those of you who prefer wading, a 9’6″ rod will give you that added length you need when your waist deep. A 9’6″ rod is just about perfect, it gives you that extra 6″ without really sacrificing the action of the rod. What bout a 10′ rod? We have found that most 10′ rods are just too soft.
Floating vs. sinking…what works best? Again, this is one of those “personal” questions. Let’s start here…fall on the North Platte means low water, traditionally. That being said, a 300 grain, 30 ft head, sinking line-might be a little overkill. This paired with an unweighted fly can work, has worked and will work but be prepared to strip your ass off! For the fall we prefer either a light sinking line, a full floating(with a weighted fly) or our favorite-an intermediate line like airflo’s 40+ fast intermediate. Weighted or unweighted flies, this line keeps your fly in the zone, it just seems to be the perfect blend.
What is the best fall streamer pattern for the Platte? With a handful of us having 16+ years of experience in this field, we have tried just about everything out there…from store bought to custom, big to small, white to black and everything in between. So what’s our pick? Unfortunately we don’t have an “everyday” pattern but we do have multiple patterns, colors and sizes that produce fish, day in, day out. Colors; black, white, olive, natural and yellow are our go-to colors in the fall. What size? If it’s all about the grab and you want to stay entertained, smaller(relatively speaking) is better. Slim profiled baitfish and crayfish patterns in sizes 4-8 are going to get em’. I have personally spent countless hours throwing 8-10″ of feather and fur…and at times we have caught some tremendous fish playing that game. But grabs are few a far between, so if the monster fly is your program be prepared to put in your time.