Top 10 Streamers for Northern Ontario Brook Trout

Big Brook Trout get that way by eating lots of smaller fish which is why streamers work well.

Northern Ontario is blessed with incredible Brook Trout fishing in rivers, streams, and lakes. We all love to catch them on dry flies but sometimes you need to present trout with something more substantive in order to trigger a strike. Big Brook Trout get that way by eating lots of smaller fish which is why streamers work well. Over the years we’ve experimented with many streamers and the following top ten list is our favourite patterns for catching Northern Ontario Brook Trout!

1. Woolly Buggers


This is probably the best all-around streamer of all time created by Russell Blessing in the 1960s. Whether tied small or large, this pattern works well because it resembles so many food sources for trout such as minnows, leeches and even dragonfly nymphs. We recommend you tie this pattern in black, olive, tan and even purple! A wide range of sizes is also recommended, from sizes 2 to 10. You can use this fly on a floating line in small streams and rivers, or on full-sinking lines in lakes and big rivers. Retrieve it slowly or fast to find out what the Brook Trout are looking for. A definite “must-have” pattern in your arsenal.

2. Zoo Cougar


Invented by famed streamer angler Kelly Galloup, the Zoo Cougar is a unique design because it works well in shallow and deep water. The key to this fly is to cast it with sinking fly lines and retrieve it with a jerk-strip method. Drives trout crazy and they will violently strike. Great colours are olive, yellow, white and black in sizes 2 thru 6.

3. Meat Whistle


Jim Barr created this fly with the jig hook in mind and it has proven to be an effective streamer from Patagonia to Northern Ontario. Cast this fly against banks or near structures and give it small twitches with your rod tip, driving big trout crazy! The best colours are olive, rust, dark brown and black in sizes 2 thru to 8. We recommend you use a tungsten conehead to help this fly get down quickly.

4. Muddler Minnow


Don Gapen created the original Muddler Minnow to imitate a sculpin found in Ontario’s Nipigon River. Because it lacks mobile materials, it’s best to work with an active retrieve. By replacing the squirrel tail and turkey quill wing with marabou and peacock herl, however, you get a pattern that can be fished slowly. Meet the Marabou Muddler. You can even get results by casting up-and-across stream and mending line, letting the fly drift downstream parallel to the far bank. The spun-deer-hair head causes the fly to orient vertically, imitating a stunned or dead minnow floating along with the current. Brown and olive are best, sizes 6 to 10.

5. Shultzy’s S3 Sculpin


Mike Shultz of Michigan designed this fly for smallmouth bass river fishing, but it has proven to be a deadly pattern for Brook Trout as well.

This is the pattern you want on your line with fishing water that’s holding sculpins or high numbers of small baitfish. Schultzy’s S3 Sculpin brings realistic movement and profile together in an appetizing package. Olive is the number one colour in sizes 4 to 8.

6. Lynch’s DoublE

This one is a favourite of serious streamer anglers. Tommy Lynch, a full-time fly fishing guide in Michigan, developed the Double D for big trout. The Double D has a cult following, and for good reason. The wedge-shaped design cuts through the water, creating a natural flash motion that’s seemingly irresistible to fish. Its full, fluffy body offers a compelling profile as the fly digs through the water. Strip it slow, strip it fast, or mix it up for the full effect. Best in sizes 2 to 6.

7. Clouser Deep Minnow


Bob Clouser of Pennsylvania originally created this fly for smallmouth bass fishing. In reality a fly-rod jig-streamer, this Bob creation has probably landed more different species of fish than any other pattern. The presentation and fly pattern are so exciting, the best presentation is to swim the fly with a lift and drop, or bounce it slowly along the bottom. If your fly isn’t grabbed after three strips, lift and recast. Chartreuse and white is our favourite colour combination in sizes 2 to 6 for Brook Trout.

8. Slump Busters


This pattern was invented by Jim Barr to help anglers trigger reluctant trout into striking. In shallow water use a floating line and strip it with short jerks. When you strip this fly the head comes up and it dives down between strips. In deeper water use a full sinking line, let the line sink for a bit and again strip it erratically. This movement drives the fish crazy, and they usually hit it hard. We’ve found olive or dark green to be the best colour as it looks like a sculpin. Sizes 2 to 8 are best for Northern Ontario Brook Trout.

9. Wounded Cheesy


Another effective pattern created by Kelly Galloup, this all-orange fly was originally proven on streams and rivers around Lake Superior fishing for large Coaster Brook Trout. Today we’ve found it is very effective throughout Northern Ontario probably due to the colour. In stained tannin waters, typical of the north, this colour works well. Use it in sizes 2 thru to 6 on both floating and sinking fly lines.

10. White Zonker


Originally tied for steelhead fishing in the Great Lakes, this pattern has been proven to work with Brook Trout. The sleek profile of a Zonker Fly will imitate a minnow or a leech. This snag-resistant fly is a good choice for stripping along the bottom and is a very effective pattern when fishing with nymphing techniques. Usually tie this in sizes 6 to 12, with size 8 being the overall best choice for Northern Ontario Brook Trout.

Streamer fishing is a fun and effective means of catching Brook Trout in Northern Ontario. The patterns we’ve listed are all proven and deadly, experiment with different sizes to find what works best. Please pinch down the barb on your streamer to help facilitate the quick and safe release of the trophy Brook Trout you will surely catch in Northern Ontario!

About Mark Melnyk

Currently, Mark is the host and producer of The New Fly Show. With a passion of fly fishing, the shows goal is to help both novice and veteran fly fishers everywhere by giving them a top-quality fly fishing series that will make them better anglers. 

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