Great Lakes steelhead question

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Alosa, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. Alosa

    Alosa Active Member

    I'll be travelling to southern Ontario for Christmas this year (family near Toronto) and have booked a guided walk and wade trip in a creek well known for Great Lakes steelhead. Now, I've fished for steelhead before on hte OP and even hooked up with one on the swing last March using my 8wt single handed rod and a short Skagit Spey line with a 15 foot sinking tip. However, the guide in Ontario suggested that there won't be much room for swinging flies, and that we'll mostly be dead drifting nymphs and using indicators.

    I just ordered a RIO GOLD line for my ECHO Carbon 6wt (thanks for the input fellas :) ), and I wanted to get some feedback from you guys about the suitability of that setup for what is intended. Will I be alright with that setup (I mean the line, not the rod...I have full confidence in the rod), or should I consider a different line? Presumably the RIO Gold is versatile enough for the required mending etc. behind an indicator. If I come across a section that IS suitable for swinging I think I ought to be ok to simply throw on an egg sucking leech (or other suitable swinging fly) and have at it. Opinions?
  2. Jim Darden

    Jim Darden Active Member

    Most of the stuff I've read on this fishery indicates that you will be throwing what we call a bottom bouncing rig (tossed here with a level wind) on a fly rod. It didn't look too appealing but I would like to hear your report when you return. I hope I'm wrong.....
  3. PfleugerPhister

    PfleugerPhister Active Member

    The Carbon 6wt might be a little light for the job, that rod isn't exceptionally beefy. I don't imagine you'll run into much heavy water, but an 8 or 10lb rainbow will still kick your ass. Your guide will probably have 7 or 8wts. Southern Ontario is a large area, what Great Lake will you be fishing?

    The problem you might run into with that rod and a Gold is that if you do run into a situation where you would like to swing and throw a tip, the Gold won't handle a tip very well, let along a big bunny strip or coneheaded something or other. The Rio Grand would do a better all around job, with the tips and all.
  4. Alosa

    Alosa Active Member

    I'll let you all know about the type of fishing the guide recommends (i.e., bottom boundcing rig) once I get back. With any luck I'll have some pictures to post. FYI: I'll be fishing off lake Ontario.

    I'm not too concerned about the 6wt. No disrespect to Great Lakes Steelhead, but I'm not exactly expecting to run into any 10lb fish (although it would be great if it turned out that way!). The reason for the 6wt is b/c it is the only 4 piece rod I have that will travel easy in the plane. My 8wt is a 2 pc, so that's out. I spoke with the guide last month and they said the 6wt would be fine. Based on the guides advice, there's very little swing water to begin with anyways, so I might as well just nymph through it as opposed to do swithing rigs to some other line set up. I was really hoping you'd say the RIO Gold would be suitable for swinging. Oh well.
  5. Kyle Smith

    Kyle Smith Active Member

    I have this feeling the Gold line will be fine. I nymph pretty deep out here with indicators and Gold 5wt line, and I'm sure the 6 line would work even better. Those rivers out East don't run nearly as heavy as your big Washington rivers, so you should be fine.
  6. wolverine

    wolverine Member

    In the Great Lakes its mostly "chuck and duck" casting. They use a fly rod/reel/line with an indicator and split shot to deliver the nymphs. The fly line is easier to mend than using spinning gear. Not pretty but efficient.
  7. S Fontinalis

    S Fontinalis Active Member

    i use a 10'6 8wt for swinging ( bigger rivers) and nymphing/indi rigs on great lakes tribs in USA. You could prob go a low as a fast 6wt ( i just picked on up for that reason) but if you 6 is soft, you'l not get many fish to net
  8. Be Jofus G

    Be Jofus G Banned or Parked

    FWIW. I'd be less concerned about the line and the rod than I would the leader/tippet and reel. An easially adjustable drag with a large arbor is money. You'll need to be able to get slack in really quick and move from heavy to light drag while your playing the fish. A lighter drag setting than you're used to and a cloth syle bandaid on your reelhand thumb is a good idea to avoid blisters. Waterproof/ resistant gloves with padded fingertips is an even better idea since it can get wicked cold. As for leader and tippet, i'll just say that the gear guys I know that are the most successfull run nothing over 6lb test fluro or 4lb mono. They do loose a lot of fish tho. IMO It's a lot more like fising for 8-9 lb montana browntrout in skinny water than chromers on the peninsula. You're guide will know about the business end more than I do.

    Also, I don't know what rivers you are fishing, but the biggest brown trout I ever caught was sitting in a GL creek tailout. I caught him swinging a (#10 I think) clouser foxy minnow in green and white. He puked up a mix of 1'' - 2'' crick chubs/baby SMBs and eggs. I'm jealous are going to have a freaking blast!
  9. MT_Flyfisher

    MT_Flyfisher Member

    Hello -

    I spend my summers in MT, but am in PA during the winters, and have been fishing for Great Lakes steelhead (Ontario and Erie) ever since they were first introduced there back in the 1970's. Although I've never fished the Canadian tribs, I suppose they would be similar to the New York side, where I've fished extensively, so I'll offer a couple observations.

    First and foremost is the weather and water conditions at that time of year. In a word: cold. Dress and plan for it, and you'll do fine. While you might want to check further with you guide as to what to expect, I'd be thinking about snow and ice, and particularly icing of my rod's guides. That's one of the primary reasons why I prefer to use a running line, with a fly rod that has oversized guides for fishing that time of year.

    While you can certainly get away with your normal 9', 6 wt fly rod and that Rio Gold line, you'll likely have to be more careful that you don't break a guide or rod tip, and will quite possibly be breaking more ice from the guides than you would if you were fishing a running line and a rod having oversized guides. There's also more chance of breaking off a fish as a result of iced up guides.

    Secondly, the Lake Ontario tribs have many steelhead in the 10# - 20# range that are caught every day all winter - unlike Erie's fish which are more often under 10#. These fish fight as hard as steelhead anywhere. Hopefully, you'll have the experience of seeing for yourself what it's like to chase a few of them 1/4 mile or so downstream before they spool you!

    I know you're going to have fun. Enjoy!

  10. Charles Sullivan

    Charles Sullivan dreaming through the come down

    If your gonna fish gear, then fish gear. It's way easier on you.

    Sounds like you would need to hire a different guide to flyfish.

    I fished there (Lake ont. trib's) for a while. Now I'm here. I did the nymphing thing. It sucks. I wish I had just learned how to fish gear better, but like nymphers everywhere I just kept pounding that square peg into a round hole. It wasn't very fun at all.

    With a good guide, you'll catch fish. There may even be a guide or 2 willing to flyfish if you look.

    Go Sox,
    KerryS likes this.
  11. fly-by

    fly-by Active Member

    At that time of year you will likely be fishing water just above freezing which has a couple of effects. In the fall , with water temps in the 50's, you can swing flies, the fish will move to them, and they are pretty hot when you hook up. A 7-8wt is appropriate. By December, it's cold, you are fishing nymphs or sucker spawn patterns under an indicator, and a 6wt protects the lighter tippet (4-6lb) that is appropriate for this method. The fish, while not exactly lethargic, don't usually make blistering runs at those water temps so a 6wt should be fine. I lived on a Lake Erie trib for many years and have caught plenty of 8-10lb fish during the winter on that combo. While the Lk Ontario fish can be bigger, the averages are pretty similar.
  12. Alosa

    Alosa Active Member

    Thanks for all the helpful responses. I'll be sure to layer up. I grew up near Toronto, so I am familiar with the weather and am expecting some cold conditions.
  13. Thomas Williams

    Thomas Williams Habitual Line Stepper

    Just buy a couple airflow salmon/ steelhead polyleaders. That will give you the option to swing flies into deeper runs and pools all while keeping your floater. I use them all the time they are great. Buy the fastest sink u can as well as a class III. That should set you up to conguer most any situation. About 24$.
  14. Alosa

    Alosa Active Member

    I have a few of those. They'll be making the trip with me. Thanks Thomas.

    PS I think some of those flies you sold me will come in handy;)
  15. Chuckanduck

    Chuckanduck Member

    A 6wt rod is too light for two reasons: First, you may hook into a 15# steelie and second, not sure, but you may be into some combat fishing. If so, you can't let those fish run or you will have a heck of a tangled mess!
  16. Alosa

    Alosa Active Member

    You may be correct about the size of the steelhead, but the guide said I shoudl be fine with the 6wt (lethargic fish in cold water). Also, only die-hards are out at that time of year in southern Ontario, and the guide suggested the area will be more or less deserted. We're fishing on Dec. 27th, so I'm not execting much competition so close to Christmas. Thanks for your input though.
  17. Canada may be different but the NY side of the Lakes it is combat fishing, so many people it is ridiculous and there are no manners what so ever. Beads and Eggs are what you will use mostly. I tried to swing flies a few times when I was there and only hooked up with a King Salmon. The Steelies want the eggs. You won't be making long casts, You should mostly be high sticking. If you do use your 6 weight reel make sure your drag is decent and add additional backing. When they turn sideways in the current even in a small trib they can be 100 yds away in 30 seconds. It is a totally different experience but it will be fun, you should have double digit hook ups each day if your trip is timed right.
  18. Great Lakes Man

    Great Lakes Man New Member

    I am from Erie, PA. Most of the Steel Head and Sea Run Brown trout are taking Nymphs and somthing called suckerspawn. If the water is gin clear you will need to fish with light tippet 6lb florocarbon and drift from the top of the pool to the bottom. Shot about 1ft up from the fly to allow it to get into the strick zone. You can also use silver clouser or streamers if the water warms up. 9ft 8t wt. Some of those browns that follow the steel up are huge. Your six wt is a risk. I am heading your way for Thanksgiving any good streams active right now?
  19. Great Lakes Man

    Great Lakes Man New Member

    Very small presentatations as well.
  20. ak_powder_monkey

    ak_powder_monkey Proud to Be Alaskan

    PS they are not steelhead, just big rainbows.

    A 6wt seems a bit small. Bring enough split shot and the floater works just fine, I don't think I used a sink tip in freshwater at all this year up here in AK (used a shooting head in salt looking for halibut).

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