Blog: Dead Drifting Streamers

sam and big fish

Streamer fishing is a very effective way to create opportunities during winter months.  There are many streamer techniques and dead drifting streamers with an indicator can be particularly productive depending on conditions. Indeed this technique mimics traditional indicator nymphing in many ways.  But there are a few subtle differences that are important. 

Here are 6 tips on how to rig and dead drift streamers with an indicator. 

  1.  Depending on the average depth of the water you intend to fish and the average size fish you might catch, start by using a 5-6 foot straight Orvis Mirage fluorocarbon leader.  This might mean 3x for many trout waters, or it might mean 20 lbs for steelhead streams. 

  1. Peg the indicator right to the top of the leader where it meets the fly line.  This will allow the fly to get down to the bottom which is critically important. 

  1. If the indicator isn't relaying the occasional tick on the bottom, add weight appropriately. 

  1. Mend aggressively in order to keep the fly near the bottom and follow the indicator with the tip of the rod.  This will keep the fly in the zone and allow a more efficient connection from the tip of the rod to the fly. 

  1. Halfway through the drift make a final, slack line mend moving the belly of the line well above the indicator and shake out line in order to lengthen the drift. 

  1. Be ready!  Often just at the end of the drift when the fly starts to lift off the bottom, fish will strike.  Exaggerate the strike by bringing the rod way back over your head in order to take up the slack if necessary. 

Dead drifting streamers is an often overlooked technique than can be very productive during winter months.  By keeping these 6 tips on dead drifting streamers in mind, you'll become a better winter angler. 

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