Think Small for Big Fish

By Mark Kuipers

We all know how effective small flies can be for big trout.  After all it is trico season and that brings up some big fish eating very small flies.  But what many people in this age of Kelly Galloup mega-streamers don't know is that sometimes a micro-streamer is just what the trout want.
During the hot spell in July, my fishing buddy and I were floating the Missouri below Craig.  He was fishing a hopper and had a few takes, but it was very slow on top.  I wanted to fish a streamer, but I only had a five weight with me and the thought of tossing a 5" streamer on a hot afternoon just didn't feel right.  Fortunately, in my streamer box was a Light Spruce hackle tip streamer tied on a #12 3xl hook.  I estimate I tied that fly in about 1978 and hadn't fished it in all these years.

In the water it compressed to just a sliver of a fly and the hackle tips undulated seductively on every strip.  It was a joy to cast.  But best of all, the fish jumped on it.  I had dozens of follows and lots of hook ups from fish between 15 and 19".  Then about 2 pm with the sun beating down a huge yellow shape rose from the bottom and intercepted my fly.  A few minutes later I landed a true Missouri 2 footer, 24" of prime brown trout.  He ate it with pure confidence.  
So do yourself a favor and carry a few small old school streamers like a Light or Dark Spruce and a Black Nosed Dace.  You might just get the surprise of the season!

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