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Streamer Fishing with Bob Jacklin

I first met Bob Jacklin as a new arrival to the Yellowstone region some 20 years ago—he was tying flies at the Eastern Idaho Fly Tying Expo here in Idaho Falls, and I immediately did my best to soak as much of his fly fishing wisdom as I could.

From his shop just outside the west entrance of Yellowstone, Bob still holds court—and I saw him again at the expo this spring. Older and wiser, for sure, Jacklin has cemented his place among the fly-fishing legends in America, and particularly among those of us in the Yellowstone region, where he is spoken of reverently.

Above, in an older video resurrected by The New Fly Fisher, Jacklin offers up some some salient streamer fishing tactics, and he’s fishing, of course, in his backyard river, the Madison, just before it flows into Hebgen Lake. It’s as good of a place as any to chase big browns, particularly late in the summer and early in the fall, as these fish begin their annual migration up the Madison to spawn in the river’s upper reaches inside Yellowstone National Park.

Bob demonstrates a number of proven streamer tactics that still work today. Pay attention if you’re a modern-day streamer junkie, because today, we tend to gravitate to those big, ugly, articulated patterns that move water and grab attention. Jacklin is more of a traditionalist—he’s casting a venerable Woolly Bugger to these big fish … and he’s catching them.

Streamer fishing is evolving, for sure. But sometimes, it’s good to get a lesson from a master … and a fly fishing legend, too.