• 5 Signs You Might Be a Streamer Junkie
  • Post author
    Ryan Kaufman
  • fly fishingfly tyingfreshwatersmallmouth bassstreamer fishing

5 Signs You Might Be a Streamer Junkie

Gunnar Brammer Fish-Mask streamers

Photo and flies by Gunnar Brammer of Brammer's Custom Flies.

With Fly Fishing, as With Anything in Life, People Develop Habits and Preferences

There’s the dry fly enthusiast. This person is the true purist. If you’re not enticing a fish to eat on the surface you’re not even really fly fishing. Conversations about shuck materials and wing placement can go on for hours. It’s "dry or die" and bamboo all the way. 

There's the Euro-nympher. This person is out to put a hole in the lip of every fish in the stream. They regard the FIPS-Mouche competition rules as the bible and tungsten beads as their savior. They don kneepads and use nets with huge hoops.

And then there are those who stay up till the wee hours of the morning drinking and attaching more feathers, hair, and flash to a size 4 hook or bigger than you can shake a 10 foot 3 weight at.

The visual experience of watching a big fish chase down and crush a big fly is what keeps the blood pumping through their veins. 

These are the streamer junkies. 

See Brian Wise's post, Fly tying and beer: 4 essential streamer pairings to maximize your mojo.

Are you a streamer junkie?

If any of the following 5 signs apply to you... you might be a streamer junkie.

1. If you sacrifice numbers for size... 

Flymen Guide Program member Norbert Renaud.

…you might be a streamer junkie.

This is perhaps the most notable characteristic of a streamer junkie.

It’s no secret big fish prey on big food, so why go out and catch a bunch of dinkers feeding on bugs when you could entice a larger, more carnivorous specimen to eat a big meaty fly?

Streamer junkies consider picking off fish with nymphs a waste of time; they're targeting the fish at the top of the food chain.

2. If you fish big flies even in small streams...

...you might be a streamer junkie.

This symptom coincides with the first sign that you may be a streamer junkie. 

Here’s the scenario: you’re fishing a small creek with a buddy. He’s picking off one fish after another with a dry/dropper. You're fishing a fly that is approximately the same size as the fish he is catching.

At the end of the day he may have outfished you 30 to 1 but that 1 fish you caught is the only one either of you remember.

3. If you really, really like smallmouth...

Mike Smith smallmouth bass on streamer

…you might be a streamer junkie.

The allure of fishing streamers is really about watching that fish crush a big fly.

Most streamer junkies will expand their addiction beyond the realm of trout fishing. Smallmouth bass provide an easy fix for someone in need of watching a fish absolutely crush a fly with impunity.

Timing is also a factor here. In the hot summer months when the water is low and clear, it may be difficult to entice a trout to chase a big streamer.

4. If you get excited about it raining all day on your next day off... 

Check out the recent post by my coworker Chris Franzen, 5 reasons you should remain a fair-weather angler.

…you might be a streamer junkie.

It takes someone with a serious affliction to get excited about the prospect of spending hours outside in the rain.

If you notice that the forecast is calling for heavy rain on your next day off and you can’t wait to get out on the river in it, you may have a problem.

The streamer junkie doesn’t let a minor inconvenience, such as a major soaking, get in the way of getting their fix. Fishing streamers is best when the water is high and getting out in the rain is just a small price to pay.

5. If you have some impressive calluses on your line control fingers...

…you might be a streamer junkie.

Fishing streamers all day can really take a toll on the body.

One physical symptom of a hardened streamer junkie is a hardening of the skin on the fingers that cradle the line as it's being stripped.

These calluses don't form without some bleeding taking place. A non-junkie might regard this painful sensation as a sign that it’s time to hang it up for the day. Maybe even take a few days off to let those cuts heal.

The junkie will ignore the painful sensation and continue to search for that explosive eat that will ease their mind. Eventually those cuts will turn into calluses and the problem is solved.

Are You a Streamer Junkie?


If any of these symptoms ring true, there's a high likelihood you're a developing or full-blown streamer junkie. 

Fear not – you have a growing number of cohorts to share your affliction with. People get addicted to this stuff for good reason. 

Tying and fishing big streamers for big fish is awesome.

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About Ryan Kaufman:

Ryan Kaufman, fly fishing guide Headwaters OutfittersRyan is head fly fishing guide at Headwaters Outfitters in Western North Carolina. From stalking wild brookies to chasing smallmouth and musky, Ryan enjoys a variety of opportunities presented by living and fishing in the Southeast. He's currently making preparations to instruct his most important future “client,” his six-month-old son, Sawyer. 

  • Post author
    Ryan Kaufman
  • fly fishingfly tyingfreshwatersmallmouth bassstreamer fishing

Comments on this post (10)

  • Dec 29, 2021

    Please subscribe me

    — Tony

  • Sep 15, 2021

    Great read . It’ fun being a junkie of feather and fur and butter.

    — Mike Mailey

  • Mar 18, 2021

    I was woundering what was l doing wrong I know now nothing and proud of it

    — Randy Clair

  • Dec 03, 2020

    Hi , we are wholesalers of hand tied fishing flies , we are looking for market to sale our flies, and if you are interested please come back to us. Thanks

    — patrick nyongesa ojala

  • Dec 03, 2020

    You also lose all concerns about how tight your loops are…all you care about is getting that fly there and don’t give a shit if it scares a fish…cause if it does, that ain’t the one you’re fishing for.

    — Kyle Banashek

  • Dec 03, 2020

    Good reading enjoy it very much

    — Bernard Poirier

  • Dec 03, 2020

    There is nothing more rewarding than tying the classic streamer patterns and then catching and releasing the fish to dupe on another day!

    — Don Ascare

  • Dec 03, 2020

    excellent, describes me completely!

    — Eric Weller

  • Dec 03, 2020

    Good reading enjoy the article.

    — Ken Midas

  • Dec 03, 2020

    Another great article! Just worked at Denver Fly Show and met Rick Stolis who demonstrated you’re products. He is a wonderful representative. I’ve followed his blog for a couple of years and was excited to meet him and purchaser his book!

    — Dave "Rocky" Rockwell

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