Sculpins are eaten by smallmouth bass, rainbow and brown trout and are therefore of interest to the fly fisherman. Their habitat is the bottom of rivers near boulders and rocks where they can seek protection for hungry predators.
SCULPIN STREAMER FLY PATTERNS. Hook size 2 - $US each
Sculpins are bottom lurking minnows that live under stones in well-aerated water. Trout and Smallmouth bass that lurk in pockets of slower moving water under riffles, often feed heavily upon natural sculpins. Many rivers have large populations of sculpins. Wade into the river just below a riffle and cast across and slightly downstream of it. Give time for your sculpin streamer to sink, then strip in fishing line about six inches every six seconds. This makes the fly appear to swim along the river bottom. Only cast five to six times from the same location, making each cast five feet further downstream. This overlapping technique should expose your fly to most of the lurking fish and hopefully one of them will be deceived and attack my offering.
If the water is only about three feet deep and there is a stony bottom, look for a shady bank. Work your way downstream about 30 - 40 feet away from the bank and try and cast your sculpin streamer tight against the bank. These are prime feeding areas for bass and trout. Stay alert as a strike could come at anytime. Some good fishing with sculpin minnow patterns can also be had along the edges of the grass beds and where the gravel bars taper off into water from three to four feet deep. Trout and bass often prowl along these areas on heavily over cast days as well as at dawn and dusk. If you are lucky enough to see the tell tale signs of bigger fish chasing minnows in shallow water cast your fly about three feet ahead and three feet beyond them. Then work your retrieve right through the middle of them to present your sculpin sideways on to the predator fish.