The Big Junk Streamer

Featuring Lance's Big Junk

This is one of those patterns that, on several occasions, has turned a slow fishing day into a stellar fishing day but it took us a few times out before we realized just how good it was.

If you check out one of the floats we did on the Green River last year, you'll see it in action.

Anyway, see what Lance has to say about it below...

Basic wooly bugger type streamers (see also, humongous) are my go-to streamer patterns. Sure, giant articulated streamers are cool and fun to tie, but when I want to entice many Trout to take, rather than just 1 or 2, I tend toward simple, easy to tie streamers with lots of motion. The Big Junk is exactly one of those.

You are likely wondering how it got the name “Big Junk” when it’s more of a schmedium sized streamer?? Well, to be honest, I don’t remember exactly how it got it’s name, but it has been known as such for about 4-5 years now. I first used this color combo and style of fly on Utah’s Provo river. When fishing the Provo I often dislodge rocks and place my net immediately downstream to see if any large stoneflies, mayflies or caddis are particularly plentiful. When doing so, I often catch sculpins.
Top & Bottom Sculpin View
Over the years one takeaway I’ve had from looking at many, many sculpins is that they have lighter belly coloration than back coloration. Most sculpin patterns I see are tied too dark in my opinion. This lighter color can range from a pearly white to pure ginger, with the ginger color most prevalent. With this in mind I lighten up the overall color of my sculpins and often use a two tone tail like the ginger and olive tail on the Big Junk. Try this color combination and I’m confident you’ll add it to your confidence fly list.

Some notes about fishing this, and many other streamers. First, consider using heavy tippet. 3x is super light and should rarely be used for streamers in a river situation. Start at 2x, and with larger streamers consider 1x or 0x. You’ll find the flies cast easier with the added stiffness and mass of thicker tippet and you’ll have less break-offs. Also, depending on the line you use, various leader lengths can make or break your streamer fishing. If using a floating line (my fav is the Scientific Anglers MPX taper for a good all-around performance line) consider a longer 7-10’ leader to allow your streamer to sink better. If using a sink tip line, like the Scientific Anglers 25 cold, use a short leader. Somewhere between 4-6’ for a single fly and add 3-5’ between flies if you’re fishing 2 patterns. I often fish 2 flies on larger rivers (as shown on our green river vlog from last summer -- see below) and fishing this way can be deadly. Use a dropper tag for your top fly, it’ll swim better than if tied inline and it allows the fish to eat the fly without running into tippet tied to the front and back of the hook.

Leaders for sink tips are easy to make. We carry the Umpqua “streamer leaders“ which are a great option if you don’t like tying your own, or, if you enjoy building your own leaders (like me) my advice is to buy a couple sizes of Maxima Chameleon and have a 2-part leader butt that terminates at a tippet ring and then add whichever size tippet is ideal for the flies and conditions you’ll encounter. Most commonly I’ll add a short length of 15 pound Chameleon and blood knot some 12 pound to it, then add the tippet ring to the 12 pound. Uni knot some 2x-0x tippet to the tippet ring to your first fly. With a sink tip line your total length from fly line to top fly should be no more than 6 feet. If adding a second fly space it 3-5 feet behind the first fly.

Don’t be afraid of varying the colors of this basic bugger pattern. Though the colors shown are my confidence colors, the beauty in tying your own flies is that you can adapt them to your waters or your preferences. Happy tying and happy angling!

Material List
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Hook: Hanak H 950 BL Streamer XL Hook - 8
Thread: Danville Flat Waxed Nylon Thread - 140 Denier - Light Olive
Eyes: Double Pupil Lead Eyes - Large - Red w/ White & Black
Tail 1: Wapsi Strung Blood Quill Marabou - Ginger
Tail 2: Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou - Sculpin Olive (UV)
Tail Flash: Lateral Scale - 1/69 Lateral Scale Opal Mirage #1733
Body: Wooly Bugger Chenille - Sculpin Olive - Small
Hackle Option #1: Whiting American Rooster Saddle - Grizzly Dyed Olive
Hackle Option #2: Whiting American Rooster Saddle - Grizzly Dyed Yellow
Hackle Option #3: Whiting American Rooster Saddle - Grizzly Dyed Golden Olive
Ribbing: RIO Powerflex Tippet - 6X
Dubbing: Arizona Simi Seal - Dark Sculpin Junk

Other tools from the tutorial:
Renzetti Master Vise
Fly Tyer's Z-Ment