Top 5 Best Streamers for Trout – And How to Fish Them

Video best streamers for brown trout

What are the Best Trout Streamers?

There are thousands of different types of streamer patterns available today. However, many of these flies will not catch fish when pursued with the most common methods used by practical fly fishers in trout streams across North America.

As a general rule the best trout streamers are:

  • Autumn Splendor Streamer
  • Slumpbuster with Cone Streamer
  • Zonker-Grizzly Streamer
  • Muddler Minnow Streamer
  • Muddy Buddy Streamer

If you’re looking to add some variety to your trout-fishing arsenal – or perhaps want to put some additional “pluck” into your prey – here is a list of five great streamer patterns to use in local trout streams.

Tom Dosoff Catching Nice Brown Trout

1. Autumn Splendor Streamer

The Autumn Splendor might be the most famous bugger design ever created, developed on the Roaring Fork by Tim Heng. One should not be fooled by the name because this bug catches fish all year round. It is based on a straightforward principle that works with most fish species from trout to bass and pikes, the basic idea of catching something.

The Autumn Splendor Streamer is a streamer that was originally tied in the Roaring Fork Valley of Colorado, but it has since gone viral from coast to coast! The Autumn Splendor is a more active and flamboyant version of the flash bugger that’s just as good for trout as it is for bass.

There are different ways to make this fly work, but most people use it as an indicator/strike indicator for fishing nymphs or wet flies downstream, where you fish it high in the water column on sinking lines and let it sink down on its own.

Streamer Fly Fishing for Trout Video

As far as colors go, darker colors definitely seem more attractive for fish in low light conditions, but that’s just one factor among many others that are equally important when you’re fishing streamers or buggers – it’s not just about color.

According to some anglers, another benefit of using a certain kind of flies is that they behave differently on the water, making it easier to target fish by reading their reaction and adjusting accordingly through matching their pace or speed. That’s why most fishers choose streamers over other types of flies – they can either mimic different species at once or behave like selective baits all on their own.

The Autumn Splendor isn’t the only one that’s high on demand among those who choose streamers as their go-to method of choice, you can find any number of different patterns.

2. Slump Buster with Cone

The Slumpbuster is one of the few new streamer patterns that are much more than a Wooly Bugger variant. To create a fish attracting jigging motion in the water and its matuka-style fur strip wing seductively breathes without fouling, the front end of this fly is heavily weighted.

Slumpbuster Fly Fishing Streamer in Green

The Slump Buster is an excellent choice if you’re looking to cast upstream and let it drift slowly towards you or do some jigging with it. In shallow water, use a floating line and strip it with short jabs. The head of this fly rises as it is stripped and goes between strips.

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Slump Busters are meant to be fished on fast-moving rivers when fish feed near the surface, but when salmon appear in deeper areas, this bug could serve as an indicator fly for nymphs or bottom bugs too. Slumpbusters work best at depths where you need a stiff leader to get them down just a few feet from your weight upfront.

Large Brown Trout Caught on Slumpbuster

If you’re having difficulty landing a fish, try switching to a Slump Buster and casting, retrieving, and hanging on. It has the ability to move erratically through the water that excites fish.

  • Use a floating line in shallow waters and strip it with short stomps.
  • When you strip this fly, the head rises up and it dives down between strips.
  • In deeper water, utilize a full sinking line; let it sink for a moment before stripping it erratically.

Olive or Black Slump Buster streamers are perfect for all fresh and saltwater fishing adventures. Unlike zonker strips of rabbit with their very long hair, these skin strips were short-haired, nicely mottled, and thin-skinned for easy wrapping.

There’s no doubt that this fly is a great choice if you want to fool a fish with a highly visible streamer at slower speeds. Slumpbusters are perfect for shallow water fishing but can be used in all kinds of conditions.

3. Zonker-Grizzly Streamer

A Zonker Fly’s slick profile will imitate a minnow or a leech. This snag-resistant fly is ideal for bottom fishing and is a great pattern to use with nymphing techniques.

Zonker Fly Fishing Streamer - Grizzly Color

One of the most popular patterns ever, the Zonker-Grizzly Streamer is a technical fly type – it has what’s known as a high-risk profile. Especially in clear water with light penetration, this is one of the best streamers out there because it functions beautifully on depths where you can’t measure your fly line or see your indicator.

The Zonker is a great streamer that is highly effective in both still and running water. It’s usually fished with longer leaders and heavy tippet, so it can get down quickly to fish feeding near the bottom or lie on top of it if you want it to mimic a crayfish or crawfish. The black Zonker is best in clear to slightly stained water, whereas brown is great for very dirty water.

Rainbow Caught on Zonker

The Grizzly Zonker is a beautiful minnow imitation. This traditional streamer has a lot of pulsating action while swimming and is ideal for big trout, bass, and various other species.

A zonker is a fly constructed from a piece of fur. Zonker strips are strips of hide that, when wet, soften and create a fly with bulk that pulsates when retrieved. It’s great for bigger flies, such as streamers and pike fly patterns.

The Zonker Streamer is one of several popular patterns often used by fly fishing guides for steelhead and salmon. It has an extended body section that makes it very easy to tie this fly onto any size hook. This pattern’s profile reminds predators of minnows that live near stream bottoms or slow-moving rivers or ponds, thus making them eat this fly instead of your regular dry flies.

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4. Muddler Minnow Streamer

Developed by Charlie Fox, one of America’s most successful anglers at longtime, Muddler Minnow Streamer is a classic and among the best flies for large, aggressive fish like pike and musky. As you might guess from its name, it’s simply a streamer that resembles a minnow, but that doesn’t mean it will only work on trout – even though there are other patterns that work better for them.

Muddler Minnow

This particular pattern can also be fished as an indicator fly for nymphs or wet flies downstream when you have a sinking line to cast with or attach it to a leader/tippet knot and drift it over the surface of the water.

One great thing about Muddler Minnow Streamers is their durability because they’re tied with deer hair instead of feathers, so they should last you a while and not tear apart too easily. Unless you break them against the rocks and logs, that is!

5. Muddy Buddy Streamer

Muddy Buddy streamers are an excellent and versatile option for any fly fisher and can be used in both fresh and salt waters. This particular fly has a weight-forward design which makes it useful when fishing deeper areas where you cannot see down to spot fish.

Muddy Buddy

The Muddy Buddy Streamer comes in several colors and if imitation is what you seek, try out the black or olive muddy buddy streamer. These colors are ideal for fishing in murky water when visibility is limited.

The black color of this streamer is perfect for the area with the most silt in river water which is usually in the deepest part. Since this fly has a larger profile, it can be used as a comfortable choice when going for larger fish.

Large steelhead caught on streamer

This fly is effective during the warm summer months when many saltwater species are feeding near the surface of the water. The best time to use this streamer is from early morning until late evening, but keep in mind that you should be aware of changing currents if fishing with this streamer.

When casting this streamer, you will want to try and keep your line as straight as possible which will help the streamer ride horizontally through the water column instead of floating vertically.

Muddy Buddy streamers are great if you’re looking for an option that can be fished in both still and running waters, sink at different depths, and imitate virtually any type of prey fish. Their weight-forward design makes them effective even when cast upstream into the current or used as an indicator fly for other nymphs or wet flies.

What Flies Do You Use for Fly Fishing?

When fly fishing, the type of fly used depends on the situation. For example, in the late summer, when the water is low and warm, mayflies, midges, and stoneflies are a good bet for catching trout. On cold winter days, midges, eggs, and worms are also effective flies to use.

Catch More with Streamers

What Is the Best Fly for Fly Fishing?

The best fly for fly fishing depends on the season. For example, when trout are feeding on nymphs and emerging insects in the early spring, an excellent fly to use is a stonefly. The best time of the day to fish is around the warmest part of the day for this type of situation.

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In addition, when caddisflies start hatching in May and June, try using a fly that imitates them, such as Griffith’s Gnat or Pheasant Tail Nymph. On hot summer days when there isn’t much insect activity, you might want to use an attractor such as Royal Wolf or Elk Hair Caddis, which work well because they imitate aquatic food items such as crayfish and minnows.

Seasonal Hatch Chart for Fly Fishing

What Flies Are in Season for Fly Fishing?

The flies in season vary greatly, but for the most part, the best time for fly fishing is from May through September. Fly fishing in the winter and spring months can also be successful, but the type of fly used will typically be different. For example, caddis and stoneflies aren’t commonly used in the winter months.

In addition to these essential flies, there are many other options that work well at certain times. During cold weather in winter, try using egg patterns or small nymphs such as Pheasant Tail Nymphs. When trout are near the bottom-feeding on crayfish in summer, use Woolly Buggers or Worm Patterns.

How Much Do Flies Cost for Fly Fishing?

In general, flies cost anywhere an average of $2 to $3. Flies typically cost more the larger they are, and those are made of materials such as peacock herl, marabou, and mink fur. Flies can also be bought in bulk to reduce their price per fly.

The cost of flies can vary a significant amount depending on the materials used. Some of the most expensive flies are made from.

Fly fishing flies in nice box

What Are Fly Fishing Flies Used For?

Fly fishing flies are used to catch fish. Flies are typically used in trout fishing and come in various shapes and sizes that imitate insects. Flies will typically draw fish to the top of the water where your fly is or imitate things that fish feed on below the water.

Different patterns of flies are used based on the time of year, water conditions, and location. Flies come in all shapes and sizes with various materials used to construct them. Materials for fly construction can be very expensive with fur being one of the most expensive pieces.

Matthew Bernhardt


Streamer patterns are also very good for fly fishing beginners because of their size and the fact that they can easily imitate a big baitfish which is one of the most common prey in rivers and lakes, but they’re mainly used to target large trout. This article discusses five great streamer patterns for trout fishing:

  • Autumn Splendor Streamer
  • Slumpbuster with Cone
  • Zonker-Grizzly Streamer
  • Muddler Minnow Streamer
  • Muddy Buddy Streamer

Streamer patterns are among the most popular fly patterns for fly fishing. They are fantastic attractors and can be easily tied in a few minutes; they can imitate anything from baitfish to leeches, crawlers, nymphs, and more.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>