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Trout Spey Techniques – The Bobble Dredge

Posted on June 04 2015

spey fishing for trout
Big trout and spey rod. Photo: Tosh Brown.

A couple weeks back, we ran a post titled, Active Swinging, where we highlighted some of the techniques we use when spey fishing for trout that go beyond the classic downstream and across swing.

However, most of these techniques are limited to slower gradual runs, those most characteristic of a swung fly. As spey anglers, most of us simply accept the fact that fish lying at the bottom of deep, fast flowing runs are off limits to a swung fly.

Well, we’re here to tell you that doesn’t have to be the case! Rapids Camp Lodge head guide, Tom Provost, has developed a few techniques for targeting big trout with two handed rods in the heavy flows of the Naknek River, and today he shares one of those techniques with you. Thanks Tom!

Trout Spey Techniques – The Bobble Dredge

While guiding on the Naknek River at Rapids Camp Lodge over the last several years, I have developed a technique for fishing streamers in heavy, deep flows. I used to change tips on my client’s spey rods for fishing the different runs on the river. By doing this, we could stay as close to perfectly in the “bite zone” as possible. Now I use my new technique on all runs and trade the time spent changing tips for fishing.

The bobble dredge has a few key components. I use long tips, (15-20 feet of T-11 or T-14) big articulated muddler-type flies that float, and short (2-4 foot) leaders. On deep drifts or seams I use a short cast, just the tip and head. This enables a huge mend to straighten and orient everything at a steep angle to the current. Then, with as much as 100′ of running line loose on the deck of the boat, (less if wading) we feed 3-6 feet of slack into the drift, then jack another strong upstream mend on a tight line. This process is continued throughout the swing until the line is tight to the reel and the fly comes out of the bite zone. After each of the mends, if the line is kept slightly taut by slowly dropping the rod tip into the drift while feeding the slack, the fly bobbles, with the water pushing around the hair head of the fly. These are the moments we get most big grabs!

The technique works well in shallower drifts as well, but it requires a steeper angle cast down river. While the tip does touch the bottom at times, the floating fly continues to fish. In fact, it bobbles when the tip hangs momentarily on the rocks as well. In fact, many grabs come during this bottom-rubbing dredge! Buckets and big rocks are prime spots to feed slack and jack big mends. This technique has accounted for multiple 30+ inch rainbows on the Naknek! It also works well on steelhead! I choose the tip based on the overall water level in the river, but this may take some experimentation on your home waters.

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