By: Harlan Kimball
MYTH 1: LEADER STEALTH DOES NOT MATTER.
Almost every streamer blog I’ve ever read has something about “fish are not leader shy when it comes to fishing streamers.” In some situations this may be true, but for me it’s one of the things I contemplate the most before rigging up. Fish are inherently leader shy (especially in Colorado), so taking the time to think about the water your fishing should translate to how long and strong your leader is. Call me crazy but when I’m fishing skinny/clear water like we see in the fall; I’ll go as long as a 9 or 10 foot leader. Over the years I’ve seen an increase in takes and strikes with a slightly longer leader.
MYTH 2: BIGGER STREAMER = BIGGER FISH
Dont get me wrong, large articulated streamer patterns are fun to fish, but is it the best strategy all the time? Personally, I’d say no. I’ll take a good look at the type of water I'm fishing and base my streamer selection off the water flow, clarity, and most importantly the size of the river. Big streamers have their time and place. Spring runoff on the lower colorado? Yes I’ll get out the meaty streamers that push water to get the fish's attention. Fall flows on the Williams Fork tailwater? Small sparkle minnows, Thin Mints and Wolly Bugger streamers that'll land soft and sink slower.
MYTH 3: FISH STREAMERS DOWNSTREAM
Fishing streamers downstream is not necessarily a myth. It’s a great method to use in certain scenarios. If you can’t tell already, everything is almost always situational based when fishing streamers. I just see this method done so often in the wrong situations that it makes me cringe a little. On a small creek where bigger fish reside I like to fish my streamers upstream to avoid walking down on fish and spooking them out of their lies. Casting a streamer upstream and stripping back towards yourself can also make a fish "turn". Turning a fish seems to be a great way to make them commit to your streamer. They've already committed to moving out of their lie and chasing a streamer downstream, so why not eat it after exerting all that energy?
MYTH 4: SLAP THE WATER TO GET THEIR ATTENTION
Slapping your streamer on the water may be effective in some places, but for the most part you shouldn’t need to cause any more surface disturbance than normal. Colorado has some of the most pressured fisheries in the country and it'll only help if you can be more descrete than the angler before you. I like to land my streamers softer than usual to prevent fish from spooking, especially when fishing low water.
MYTH 5: STREAMER SEASON IS HERE!
To many, streamer season begins in the fall. To me, streamer season is whenever you want it to be! With the right tactics streamers can be fished effectively year around. Don’t overlook winter and early spring months as fish are looking for a big meal among the plethora of tiny midges and baetis. If you're fishing streamers during spring runoff, a good rule to follow is "low and slow". During high flows and off-color water you want to get your streamer down into the strike zone as well as slow enough for fish to detect it in the muddied water.