Top 5 Early Season Streamers for Montana
The sun gently warms the back of my neck and tops of my ears, surely the first sunburn of the year will ensue. The moment I'm able to float the river with skin exposed to the sun my desire to watch an indicator shrivels into nothing. Luckily the extra sun and warm weather permit different fishing methods. To avoid the pink floating eyesores known as strike indicators I throw streamers.
The sun gently warms the back of my neck and tops of my ears, surely thefirst sunburn of the year will ensue. The moment I'm able to float the river with skin exposed to the sun my desire to watch an indicator shrivels into nothing. Luckily the extra sun and warm weather permit different fishing methods. To avoid the pink floating eyesores known as strike indicators I throw streamers.
During the winter trout hunker to the deepest darkest holes in the river exerting as little energy as possible to survive. Longer days and warmer temperatures allow the fish to chase bigger meals. This is where early season streamer fishing comes into play. It may not be as good as post runoff or fall streamer fishing but it allows anglers to put their indicators in the bottom of their pack and switch tactics after a long winter of staring at pink.
There are a few certain traits I look for in my early season streamers due to still quite cold the river conditions. I like a fly that gets deep quickly, is not massive, and looks good on the swing. While fish are willing to eat streamers, they are not ravenous. Not a large amount of movement is required to catch fish and moving streamers too quickly can actually be detrimental. Here are my top 5 early season (pre-runoff) streamers for fly fishing in Montana.
Black Baby Gonga
The black Baby Gonga has a slim and short profile but is still articulated for natural movement. It is easy to throw and tricks trout that are cautious about taking bigger fair. Its heavy eyes get it to the bottom quickly, where trout are hunkered and the materials used to tie the fly are sparse and do not prohibit the fly from sinking. It is certainly worth having a few black Baby Gongas in your streamer box in the Spring.
Whitebait Precious Metal
The RIO Whitebait Precious Metal works well throughout Montana in the early season. It is extremely flashy which gets the attention of trout in any conditions. The strong hook will never bend out (on a fish) and its weight and sparsity allow it to get right where the fish live, fast. I always have these as the counterpart to my black Baby Gonga. If one doesn't work, the other typically will. Whitebait Precious Metal is a great fly for swinging.
Olive/Copper Grandmaster Flash
Another great swinging option, the olive/copper Grandmaster Flash is my go to when white or black flies won't get it done. I use this pattern mostly swung but really slow stripped behind another streamer seems to be productive as well. The stinger hook on the Grandmaster rarely misses a hook-up.
Yellow Peanut Envy
On the "Large Entree" menu for the early season, the yellow Peanut Envy starts early and works hard throughout the entire year. Still thin and easy to throw, the fish see it well and like the movement provided by the articulation. Yellow is my overall favorite streamer color and articulated with a thin profile is my favorite all around shape. The rubber legs provide some extra action that really tricks the big browns into munching this fly. It is still important to move the Peanut Envy slowly in the early season.
This is probably just the best streamer money can buy. Perfect size, shape, and price. Easy to throw, easy to tie, and easy to see for angler and fish. If you don't have at least four of these at all times you don't have enough. It may sound like I'm just blowing smoke but fish the Goldie this spring to find out for yourself!
Stop by our Bozeman fly shop for all of your fly fishing needs this season.