Something For The Window Shoppers

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Photo by Louis Cahill

Photo by Louis Cahill

By Justin Pickett

A little something to entice those “window shopper” trout that appear and disappear behind your streamer.

Anyone who has thrown streamers for trout has likely experienced the exciting visual of seeing a trout appear behind your meaty fly… following, following, following… only to peel off just outside the oars and leave you empty handed. Yes, it’s better than not seeing anything at all, but it sure would have been awesome to have gotten that fish to eat instead, right?

Why that trout aborted their chase can be due to several reasons. Maybe the color just wasn’t the right shade of olive to entice a strike. Maybe it caught sight of the boat. Maybe the movement of the fly wasn’t just right. Maybe it was too big. Or maybe it just wanted to torture you, getting your hopes up only to squash your morale at the last second. However, one thing I have learned from these non-committal trout, is that one of the easiest things you can do to entice that strike is to offer them a second, smaller fly behind your streamer. 

Smaller, unweighted flies provide trout that might be hesitant at striking a larger fly with another option. Tie these flies onto the bend of the hook with approximately twelve inches of tippet and chuck away. This can be accomplished with articulated streamers as well. Just tie the second fly onto the trailing hook. This may affect the movement of your streamer however, I haven’t noticed much difference so long as unweighted flies are used. This has worked for me tons of times and in numerous locations.

But, what if you don’t have an assortment of streamers on hand? 

I found myself in this scenario a couple years ago. Tossing streamers along the bank, I had several fish follow and then turn away at the last second. I didn’t have my smaller streamer box with me that day so I didn’t have any options when it came to tying on a second, smaller streamer to trail behind my articulated fly. Looking through my fly boxes, and hoping to run into a random fly in the bottom of my pack, I came across a Black/Yellow #8 Stimulator. It wasn’t a “streamer”, but it was the closest thing to it that I had in my pack so I tied it on behind my streamer. It was a “why the hell not” moment, and it worked.

The very next cast laid my flies along the bank. A few strips later and I was hooked up with a nice rainbow trout. This big, tailwater rainbow didn’t hit the big, articulated streamer. Instead, it turned onto the Stimulator and hammered it. This went on throughout the remainder of the day, with me landing several rainbows, both big and small. Since then, I’ve used this tactic to entice those “window shoppers” that appear and disappear behind your streamer. I’ve successfully used Stimulators, Elk Hair Caddis, Stonefly nymphs, Woolly Buggers, and Masked Minnows as trailers behind my streamers, catching both trout and bass. 

Both friends and clients find it a little strange when I first tie on a Stimi behind a five inch Sex Dungeon. However, when they see the results they typically get excited about having another effective way to catch trout. When you think about it, it isn’t a new concept. I fish a nymph under a dry fly 99% of the time. This is just a different application adapted to fit the need with what I had to work with at the time – A Stimulator. Give this a shot and experiment the next time you are out on the water chucking streamers to non-committal trout! You might be surprised at the results!

Justin Pickett
Gink & Gasoline
www.ginkandgasoline.com
hookups@ginkandgasoline.com
 https://www.ginkandgasoline.com/hosted-trips/
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3 thoughts on “Something For The Window Shoppers

  1. This is awesome! I was in Ireland a couple weeks ago, and a guy in the fly shop over there said that they fish stimulators as streamer/wet flies! Excited to try!

  2. Or you could tie the tippet of either a weighted or unweighted streamer to the front hook of an articulated streamer. It sounds crazy, but it doesn’t tangle like you might think, and it doesn’t kill the action

  3. I like to strip stimulators on lakes and ponds for rainbows. They go under about 6 inches on the retrieve and the fish get stupid over them.

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