Guest Blogger: Clay Cunningham, Cody, Wyoming, retired National Park Superintendent
One of the replies to my Minimum Fly Box article wondered what I have as streamers in my fly box. I tied a lot of Carrie Stevens’ patterns that she developed in Maine years ago, and I used them when fishing in Maine and a few of the Lakes of the Adirondacks with some, but not exciting success. I tried a few of her patterns I liked such as America, Carrie’s Special and the classic Gray Ghost pattern as described in David Klausmeyer’s book, Tying Classic Freshwater Streamers. This book, a first edition, is now listed for a used copy at $124.99 on Amazon. Fortunately, my copy was $39.95 in 2004. If you can find a reasonably priced copy at a garage sale, I recommend buying it. If streamers are your love, this is the book to have.
Early on in my fly tying life I only used three different streamers, the Mickey Finn, the Black Ghost and the Gray Ghost. Today, I still carry those three and Carrie’s Special, but they didn’t get a lot of use until Dr. Sebetich, a retired professor of limnology, suggested using a nymph dropper off the streamer. I forgot that trick even though when in Alaska during the 1980s and fishing for salmon. The experienced locals suggested I use an all-white streamer. I did and I was not able to hook many salmon that way, but being primarily a nymph fisherman I added a nymph as a dropper off the white streamer and was able to hook salmon much more frequently on the nymph!
Dr. Sebetich, an ardent fly fisherman spends much of his time on and uses the streamer nymph dropper system regularly with good success on the waters of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. So Eastern fisherman might want to give it a try.
A streamer represents a much larger protein package to a predatory trout so perhaps it does encourage larger trout to strike that lure. I cannot confirm that without some doubt, but in my limited success it does seem correct when the strike is on the streamer and not the nymph dropper.