Here in Maine and many parts of New England, springtime means ice-out and smelt runs. In the early spring, smelt are spawning. Looking for tributaries and other feeder streams to complete their duty, trout and salmon will follow suit. Smelt can enter the river in many different ways, including getting tossed through dams, so they can be ever-present in many different areas in rivers, lakes, and ponds. Trout and salmon are hungry from a long winter and ready to feed. Baitfish meals that are full of protein are high on their list. This means it is a great time to get out those streamers. Some of the biggest fish are present and feeding this time of year and some of your best chances to find these beasts is to fish streamers. Here is a short list of some of our favorite ones at the shop!
This is streamer pattern designed here at the shop that is tied to imitate a smelt. This pattern features a wing with a combination of synthetic and natural materials including Raptor hackle, Steve Farrar SF Blend, and peacock herl. These flies are tied on size 6 Daiichi traditional streamer hooks. With smelt runs in full swing during the spring, patterns that imitate this forage are incredibly important to have in your box. These flies will work well on floating, intermediate, and sinking lines depending on the depth desired. Smelt streamers in general work very well when swung, but can induce bites by being stripped sporadically as well. If you think you will be fishing for trout and salmon that are actively feeding on smelt, be sure to pick up a few of these flies.
Check out this pattern HERE
The floating smelt is an incredibly effective imitation of a dead or wounded smelt. This pattern is meant to be dead drifted on the surface to imitate this but can also be swung in the current with succesful results. The floating smelt works best when fishing on tailwaters that have smelt being washed down and injured through the dam turbines. With so many of our rivers heavily dammed in Maine this is a very regular occurence. This fly is tied with E-Z Tubing stuffed with foam and colored with a marker for the dark back. Tied on a size 4 Gamakatsu B10S stinger hook and features Fish Skull Holographic Living Eyes.
Check out this Pattern HERE
As effective as it is famous, it doesn't make much sense to target Maine salmon and trout without a grey ghost in your box. Originated by the famous Carrie Stevens, this is probably the best known traditional Maine streamer pattern, and for good reason. This fly is very productive in the fall for inducing a territorial reaction bite, but is also a great pattern to be throwing during smelt runs. This fly can be effectively fished on a floating, intermediate, or sinking line depending on the depth desired. We offer a marabou wing version here at the shop that seems to be especially productive in our northern rivers and streams. These flies are tied on size 6 Daiichi traditional streamer hooks.
Checkout this fly HERE
Sometimes you just need the biggest piece of white marabou you can find tied onto a hook. That is what the Montreal whore is. A classic and super effective Maine "attractor style" streamer pattern, the Montreal Whore shines not only during the fall but during our smelt runs as well. This fly is a quick easy tie, but produces a lot of fish. Somewhere in between an attractor pattern and a smelt imitation, this is one fly you should be sure to have in your box. Like the Grey Ghost, this fly fishes well in both Spring and Fall months. Our version of this pattern is tied on size 6 Daiichi traditional streamer hooks.
Check out this fly HERE
Bead Head Woolly Bugger
As obvious as it is, this one had to make the list. Woolly Buggers just down right catch fish. And in the spring when the trout and salmon are looking for a big meal after a long winter, they cannot resist this super popular pattern. In the spring we like them on the larger size 4 and 6 hooks specifically in olive, white, and purple. Black is also very productive, especially in stillwater scenarios. We have many different sizes, colors and variations at the shop.
Check out this fly HERE