Creek and Stream Fishing The Sierras
By Dave Finkelstein
Creek and stream fishing with minijigs and powerworms require a different technique to use especially in fast moving currents. Several times a year, I go up to the Eastern Sierras. I go up Memorial weekend to June Lake Loop. In the fall, I go to Bishop Basin and fish the South Fork and North Fork of Bishop creek as well as SouthLake,Sabrina and North Lakes. My fall fishing partner is none other than Marlon Meade. He is by far , the best jig fisherman I have ever met. We can be fishing the same rod ,reel,line and jig and he’ll outfish me 5-1 in the fish count almost every time ,standing 10 feet away from me!! Sounds like bragging but what I’m telling you is true. I’ve known this man for many years and a lot of people ask me what does he do that is so different than other anglers when fishing jigs that makes him so successful. There are many factors to his success but the one most important factor to me is his presentation.This is why some guys catch 90% of the fish and others 10%.
Can you imagine standing on a rock in the middle of a rushing stream and continuiously casting a jig over and over and over again to a fish until you finally hook it an hour or more later? That fish may well be an Alpers that is over 5 lbs. and I myself have have done this same routine. I pulled a 9 lb. Alpers out of North Bishop Creek on 2 lb. test using the same technique as Marlon. Sometimes I just watch him fish as a pupil to a teacher in hopes of learning something new.So how do you fish jigs in a rushing stream? Well, lets start off with some basics. I tend to use 3 or 4 lb. Maxima ultragreen line for streams. The rod needs to have some backbone and usually I fish with a light-med.rated rod at least 6’6″ in length. You need to be able to turn a large fish in heavy current so that you can have a shot at landing them otherwise your in trouble . I like to postion myself up stream of eddies that I feel hold fish . I then drop my 1/32nd jig into the whitewater ,let out some line to where I think the fish are holding and then close the bail and use my rod as a guide to moving the jig in and out of the eddies close to the whitewater. Its harder than it sounds and takes a lot of practice. This method works well in fast moving waters.I like to use a pearl white jig in this type of water.It seems to work more so than many other colors. Another color to use in a pink-brownish salmon roe color. This one works well also. And of course , my favorite all round jig color green perch. When the fish bite it feels like you snagged something like a rock but then you feel the weight of the fish and it gives some and you know its a fish. Again ,you need to adjust your drag accordingly and never too tight. I always have a large net close by when I stream fish. You may not get much opportunity to play these fish under these conditions so don’t play these fish too long. Get them to the net and in ASAP , but under control not hap-hazardly.
In slower moving streams you can go down stream and cast upstream and work your jig in by reeling very slow and steady. If you see a fish chasing your jig then slow it down but donot stop the movement of the jig. A lot of times these fish will chase a moving object but turn away when the object stops moving. So keep this in mind when you see a trout chasing your jig. Again, if your not getting hits then change colors. This method works with powerworms as well and sometimes even better especially on Brown Trout and brookies.Several other friends I know use the bobber method in streams to control the depth of the jig. This method works well in medium moving streams and allows you to adjust your jig to the waters depth.The bobber aids in a visual strike indicator. For the spinning lure fans you can use these methods in streams as well with very good results except with a bobber.