When fall approaches, It’s difficult not to think about streamer fishing for trout. Not only do the leaves begin to change but trout, especially big brown trout, get protective of their territory and become extremely aggressive. As trout feel the winter months approaching, they become willing to chase and eat bigger meals, whether it be minnows, leeches or crayfish that they feel are invading their space. Fall is the time of year that some of the bigger fish in the water are more likely to make mistakes and come out to play.

Over the years, hundreds of different streamer variations have been introduced to the fly fishing world so we asked five of our team members to tell us what their favorite streamer to use in the fall is and why. 

Read more about all five below: 

Woolly Bugger chosen by Zachary Pope, CEO

I have a soft spot for the classic Woolly Bugger, especially here in the Driftless Area. When streamer fishing, I typically go for black, brown or tan when it comes to color. For me, the versatility of the wooly bugger is the key. You can dead drift it for the leech or even worm effect and the next cast you can quick strip it for the strike trigger. I also love the weighted cone head options to really get into the depth. The Woolly Bugger seems to be effective in all seasons (maybe not winter)!

Link to purchase: https://farbank.com/products/rio-bh-woolly-bugger-fly

Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow chosen by Tanner Stofferahn, Director of Marketing and Brand

While many trout streamers are drab colors such as olive, brown and black, the Sparkle Minnow goes the other direction with its flashy looks. The bright reflecting sparkle body is meant to throw the same flash as a conventional tackle lure such as a Rapala and in turn drives big brown trout wild. Like most trout streamers, it is based on the platform of a Woolly Bugger. Fly tyers can use any common streamer color for the body, however gold is my personal favorite.

The Sparkle Minnow isn’t all looks. The construction of the sparkle allows for a slim profile that rapidly sinks to the desired depth depending on the amount of weight tied into the fly. This is perfect for streamer fishing along steep banks or through heavy currents where other streamers struggle to get down to the right zone in the water column.

Link to purchase: https://eastrosebudflyandtackle.com/products/coffeys-sparkle-minnow

Barr’s Slumpbuster chosen by Jeremy Gilbertson, GIS Specialist

Photo credit: Anglers All

My go-to streamer when things start to slow down in the fall is definitely a micro sized Slumpbuster. The fly is essentially just a small bead head, and a long strip of squirrell’s hair tied to resemble baitfish or a leech. I find that this pattern works great for me any time of year, in both lakes and rivers, but especially as we get to the colder months here in Minnesota. Something about over 50% of the fly being free floating creates amazing lifelike action, and can trigger bites from the laziest trout. When all else fails, I’ll usually drag a Slumpbuster through the deep holes, either on slow but sharp strips, or simply dead-drifted.

Link to purchase: https://www.anglersall.com/Barrs-Slump-Buster-Umpqua-Fly

Feather Game Changer chosen by Erik Johnsen, Outreach and Partnerships Manager

Photo credit: Mad River Outfitters

I love the action of the game changer platform and my pick for late season trout is the Feather Game Changer. I tie these with saddle feathers in natural colors but this pattern does well with just about any colorway: all white, all black, or highlights to mimic young rainbow or brown trout. By varying keel weight, adding in foam shingles, or finishing the pattern with a weighted sculpin head, the possibilities are endless which makes the FGC fun to experiment with.

What most appeals to me is the pattern’s versatility: swing it through deep pools, strip it through tail water or coast around cutbanks. By varying your tying techniques, you’ll be able to reach a variety of water levels and be equipped for any scenario.

Link to purchase: https://www.madriveroutfitters.com/c-620-game-changers.aspx

Thin Mint chosen by Matthew Mendini, Marketing Specialist 

Photo credit: Trident Fly Fishing

When it comes to streamers in the fall, my go-to has consistently been the Thin Mint. The thin mint is essentially just a play on the iconic Woolly Bugger with a sandwich of black, olive and brown coloring. The use of multiple colors as well as the peacock herl along the body is meant to give this fly a crayfish look but it can also imitate baitfish, leeches or even dragon fly nymphs. 

I have used this streamer fishing in smaller creeks out in Colorado and have had chases and takes from large, aggressive brown trout that many wouldn’t believe can be found in waters of that size. 

Link to purchase: https://www.tridentflyfishing.com/tungsten-thin-mint-gold-bead-fly.html

As shown by the fact that all five of these chosen streamers are different in some way, fall is a great time to get out on the water and try a variety of streamer patterns to see which one may entice those big aggressive trout in your neck of the woods! 

Contributors: This article was written by Matthew Mendini in October of 2022. Matthew is the Content Marketing Specialist for TroutRoutes.