16. Night fishing with streamers (16 of 20)
Big trout, especially browns, do a lot of feeding at night. Night fishing requires special care. First, never fish alone at night. Always go with a buddy. Second, know your water well. Never fish a stream you've not scouted during the day. You need to know where the submerged logs and drop-offs are.
It's easy to see at night during a full moon, and you can try it, but from my experience, a dark night is always more productive when night fishing for trout. This is mainly a game for late spring through early fall. Warm, muggy nights seem to be the best. The best places to fish at night are typically those you would ignore during the day.
Big trout move into the shallows, particularly backwaters and tails of pools at night to hunt for baitfish, mice, and frogs. Your cast should be short, and your leader should be short and stout, about 5 feet of 20-pound test because there's no room for playing fish at night when you can't see submerged snags. Flies to use at night include mice, unweighted streamers, or streamers with a deer hair head that make a wake on the surface.
Black streamers are most visible at night, so keep your flies on the dark side. This is no place for slim baitfish imitations. Most of this fishing will be by feel, so one of the best ways is to cast across the current, and just let your fly swing and wake on the surface. You can introduce little twitches by throwing in a few strips, but keep them small and slow.
Strikes will typically not be vicious. You may hear a splash, or you may just feel a solid weight on the end of your line. Since you're fishing by feel, don't strike if you hear a splash. Strike once you feel the weight of the fish. Don't baby the fish. You've got a stout leader on the end. Get them in quickly before they run you into a snag in the dark.