So I am almost to the pt of only fly fishing for steelhead

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by sandspanker, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. sandspanker

    sandspanker Member

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    LOL right have been said a ton right. I like to side drift for steelhead, bobber and jig fish for them. I need to figure out a way to side drift for them with my sink tips. LOL So those who have walked these same steps how did you do it?? I have yet to catch a steelhead with any kind of fly gear.. but on the other hand a few weekends ago I went 4 for 3 while side drifting. Makes it kind of hard to commit. Now dont get me wrong I dont eat all these fish but it is nice to have some photos and when my kids ask me its nice to say yes and not no. Thought about hiring a guide but cant really swing it right now lack of the $$$$$$$. Thanks for your time,
     
  2. The Duke

    The Duke Been around

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    4 for 3? Holy shit! I'm using the wrong setup.
     
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  3. sandspanker

    sandspanker Member

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    Sorry 3 for 4. Side drifting has been good at times
     
  4. JesseC

    JesseC Active Member

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    Why do you want to fly fish for steelhead?
     
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  5. Cruik

    Cruik Active Member

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    Before you switch exclusively, you should understand the differences. Because covering water with a fly inevitably takes longer and only certain runs fish effectively with a fly, a good fly angler needs to be very good at reading water and very discriminating as to which runs to fish. If you're good at reading water, you're probably already in a better position to catch fish than some guys with $1,500 spey setups who take 8 hours to fish one run (that they've chosen because they never have to be more than 100 yards away from their SUV). Fishing gear lends itself more to run-and-gun, indiscriminate fishing - which works! Don't expect anywhere near the amount of success that you will find with gear. There will probably be a lot of areas you'll find that you know hold fish, but cannot be effectively fished with a fly. Manage your expectations and know your limitations.

    Honestly though, I don't know why you think you need to be exclusive. I will often take a fly rod and a gear rod on a trip with me and swing the runs I think can be effectively swung, gear fishing all others. Or, I use gear until I've hooked one and then fly fish the rest of the trip. Another is to fish familiar areas at familiar flows with fly gear and search new water or familiar water at unfamiliar levels with gear. A lot of very good fly anglers started fishing for steelhead with gear. I think doing both gives a unique perspective and can greatly improve one's fly fishing.
     
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  6. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    Sandspanker,

    If you NEED to catch a steelhead, fly fishing is a poor choice. If how you catch a steelhead matters to you, and you decide you want to catch one on a fly, then a good start is to leave all the gear rods at home. Edit the river for fly fishable water, and forego the rest. That's roughly how I did it. I decided I didn't need or want to catch a steelhead badly enough to resort to my gear rod. It was that simple, except for the part where I went fishing and got skunked a lot.

    Sg
     
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  7. golfman65

    golfman65 Guest

    Best advice I heard from a fly shop was when a young guy came in and asked the same question..guy at the counter (timdog I believe) asked him if he was bored with catching steelhead? Told him, fish gear and catch as many steelhead as you can...when you get bored with it and are looking for something new, then come see us...

    Seems it would save on a lot of the frustraded faces I see on the river humping their spey rods around with gear attached to it....The articile in the last issue of the drake by Rose was one of the better ones I've read and could be applied to most local rivers as well!!! Way too many people out there seem so miserable fishing with fly gear..Why?

    If you come into the fly with the knowledge you've gained from reading water and being successful with gear the transition will be easier...Most of the best steelheaders I've met were gear fisherman at one time...accepting it as a greater challenge and enjoying it for that will make it a helluva lot more fun for you...IMHO that is...
     
  8. David Dalan

    David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

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    All sound advice. I've not touched the gear rod in over a year, but probably will this weekend. Why? I want to put some fish in the box for the family, and honestly its time for a little variety. If all goes well, i'll fish using a float, the two hander and a drift rod. Do what you like and have FUN.
     
  9. Peyton00

    Peyton00 Active Member

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    I am in the same boat as the OP. I have gear fished all my life for steelhead. I read water and know where fish lay and can find the travel lanes etc.( only from years of hooking fish in those sections of the river) I have no problem getting skunked either. I started fly fishing for trout years ago, because it was easy to get them with spinners, spoons and bait. I am ready to step up and develop another method to land a metalhead. Here i go spending $$ on the new fly gear etc. Does the addiction ever end?
     
  10. sandspanker

    sandspanker Member

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    So let me clear things up a little bit. I do not slay the steel with any methods used gear or fly. But I do find myself looking for different ways of attemping to catch them. My brother is always upset at me when I choose the jig method over eggs, or flies over bait,yarnballs,etc.. I feel that anyone can catch them at times with hotdogs. (bait) I like the thought of being a guy who could catch them with flies when others use bait. I understand that if I need to catch steelhead I should look elsewhere then the use of flies. But I feel its the fight not always the net job. Hell I bow hunt for that same reason its hard and when it all falls together it makes a guy feel like he did something right. That is why I posted the frist topic. Just thought other may have felt the same way at some point and could share there thoughts.
     
  11. golfman65

    golfman65 Guest

    Don't think you can't catch them with the fly..oh you can...and like the bow, when it all falls together it's pretty damn amazing....If it's the journey your looking for this is one that you can spend the rest of your life traveling down...There are many facets of this sport..to many to really go into but like steps they each lead to whatever path you want them too...Everything from skagits to long lines...intruders to classic flies...wet flies to dry flies..

    Some guys like gear because it catches fish..A guy I knew very well was I would bet the best spoon fisherman on the west coast..Name of Jerry..guy outfished all the bait and other gear guys I knew..He loved spoons and had every variety and was always experimenting with them...When I started fly fishing he asked me..."Why do you want to be one of those guys, don't you like catching fish?" I told him yes...but that they were the only guys on the river who I would always stop and watch..and it fascinated me...I paid my dues, which is something so many don't seem to realize comes with it...when I started to catch fish he told me he thought that was pretty damn cool...I'd found my "thing"...

    Jerry passed away too young from cancer...I still have his email on my computer and still think about a lot of what we talked about....Sorry, this really has nothing to do with what your asking...but just kind of brought back what it was like when I decided to take up the fly!!
     
  12. Phil Fravel

    Phil Fravel Friendly

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    Curik, salmo-g and golfman nailed it

    Hope not to ruffle too many feathers here. Instead of being a gear chucker, Chuck the gear. Go to the fly, just like a fish.

    Were you thinking about a spey rod. If you are enjoy the ride. Learning to cast can be a blast, then learning to reed water and adjust with tips for that appropriate run. All a ton of fun. while some would say not as productive as nymphing I might agree but I have been noticing the more years that I have been at this, my fish counts are going up.

    Probably cheaper to get into would be nymphing. While I don't seem to find it as much fun, It is productive.

    If you keep your eye out here and over on Spey Pages you can get into a used well balanced setup pretty reasonably. If you don't find the whole Fly fishing thing to be your game you can always put the stuff back up for sale, Without too much harm to the $$$
     
  13. sandspanker

    sandspanker Member

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    I am thinking of all aspects of fly,spey. rods....My rod layout is as fallows. I have 2 spey rods (7wt,8wt) a 8wt single handed rod, thinking of converting one of my bobber rods into a switch rod. Its a 10ft 9 in 2 pc. 6-10lb line rated spinning rod. I have fished with them all over the last few years. but am feeling the draw more and more to fun of casting and reading the water. On our yearly trip down the klickitat last year I couldn't touch a fish on either day. I had fun but told my brother that I will be taking my fly gear instead next fall because if I was going to pull blanks then at least I would have a funner time casting and reading water. These are my thoughts. Just as with the bow here is a thought for all you who dont get the bow hunting thing. If you were to put 2 hunters side by side and then have them looking at a bull elk say 200 yards away. The rifle guy thinks this is meat in the freezer and thinks of nothing more. The bow hunter frist thought is how do I get closer and looks at the terrain and the wind etc.... That is what fly fishing for steelhead for me is. trying to figure out the puzzle. and Yes it is frustrating but can be rewarding as well.
     
  14. Brooks Werner

    Brooks Werner Member

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    One thing I've seen in several other posts is that confidence sure seems to go a long way toward hooking Steel on the fly. It sounds like you have good knowledge, so why not give it a go?! If you enjoy trout fishing with a fly rod, you'll likely get addicted to chasing Steel with one too, and then you're screwed :)

    Plus it's always a kick when someone walks up to you and asks "you can catch those on a fly rod?"!
     
  15. Phil Fravel

    Phil Fravel Friendly

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    Go for it your ready. You got the equipment so it wont cost a ton. PM me I have a reasonable guide.
     
  16. hydrological

    hydrological beads are NOT flies and snagging is just ghetto

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    we all fish for different reasons. if you are a bow hunter, you know about the thrill of the chase. every good cast, every time i feel that electricity on a great swing, i get a rush that i could never get, even if hooked up to a steelhead on a nymph, or bead, or gear. so, for me, when eventually i do get a just a grab, its better than 10,000 fish hooked, or even landed. and after days on end, to finally hold 10 or 15lbs of perfect, wild chrome, and feel that tremendous kick on the release, i feel like i just shook hands with sasquatch.

    the tug is the drug;)
     
  17. Achilles

    Achilles Member

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    Directly to the point.......
     
  18. Achilles

    Achilles Member

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    I really liked golfman's post above. I like guys like Jerry. I have a similar story that is probably tangential to the post but thought I'd share.

    I was 15 when I caught my first steelhead on my 6 weight fly rod. 6 lb leader, floating line, reel with no drag, etc., bare bones. I felt as if I achieved the greatest feat of any human in the history of earth. I finally landed the fish and it was getting dark in the canyon. It was a very warm day but was starting to get cool. Bats were starting to fly around and you could see them against the blue-black sky. Nobody was around to witness my monumental and spiritual achievement but I felt so elated I did not care. I was so happy I probably would have said that day that I could now die a happy man. Since that day I fly fish probably 95% of the time and 100% of the time I wish I was fly fishing. I tie my own flies, incorporate things I've learned about my rivers and my fish into my patterns, and I feel more connected to the whole thing. That being said, I love to catch fish and I still think I'm going to catch one on every single cast. Of course, I don't. I usually catch them when I decide to take a gear rod and always tell myself "Oh yeah, he was hanging below that rock in 3-4 feet of water, could have got him on my spey rod..."

    I know a lot of gear fisherman that feel just as connected to steelheading as I do so it's not a fly-only club.
     
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  19. Shad

    Shad Active Member

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    Catching steelhead is cool, no matter how you do it. I don't like drift fishing (too much breaking off and retying), but I enjoy fishing spinners and spoons from time to time. Gives me options, which lets me catch more fish and learn more about steelhead behavior in the process.

    On any given day, I let the river conditions and my fishing destination determine what gear comes along. If I'm fishing down low, in moderate to low flows, I'll pack a Spey rod and a variety of tips. If crowding or conditions dictate that I will be fishing up high, I usually bring a one-handed 8-wt. and a spinning rod. Down low, there tends to be more classic swing water, with fresh, moving fish, so I don't feel compromised with only the Spey rod. Up higher, my local rivers are mostly a drop and pool affair, so the two-hander is tough to fish effectively in most spots. Also, up higher, the fish are often holding in lies for extended periods of time, so they sometimes need a variety to coax them into biting.

    Lately, it's been a boat parade on the lower rivers, so I've been up high, nymphing and retrieving spinners, with the occasional swing session when it presents itself. On three occasions, I've had to dig deep into the arsenal to get bit, with a different presentation winning the day each time.

    I caught two nice fish in the same sneaky piece of water on two consecutive trips. The first time through, I was nymphing through some water that looked a bit fast but had some potential. I noticed that there was one area in the drift where the indicator slowed to a perfect pace, and everything fell into line. I didn't know if there were fish present, but I knew I was fishing effectively. After pounding it for about 15 minutes, I picked up the spinning outfit, which was set up with a #3 brass Vibrax. First cast, two cranks, and WHAM! 14 lbs. of chrome hen running wild. She was a beauty, and she tasted great! Two weeks later, to the day, at the same spot. Water just a bit lower. Started off with the spinner. No love. Set up the one-hander with a medium tip and a marabou spider. Second swing through, I felt a couple very fishy bumps. Next swing, almost at the hang down, a jarring grab almost took me off my feet. Nice, colored-up buck of about 15 lbs.

    Sorry about the long-winded, sort of off-topic reply, but I was especially proud of catching those fish, each on a different type of gear. My point is that, while I do think you should spend some serious time swinging flies until you figure out what makes that presentation work and in what type of water, I don't think you should hang up the gear rod forever. I've learned that steelhead are great biters and will eat flies, gear, and bait indiscriminately. What they will eat in a given situation seems to vary a lot, and it sometimes comes down to what offering presents best in the present location, under the current conditions.

    Fish that come to the swung fly are often the most memorable, but I find getting them on hardware to be almost as much fun and challenging in its own way.

    Have fun!
     
  20. Befishin

    Befishin Member

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    Boy your not kidding about the boat parade. I think the boat manufactures are makeing a killing. But, the only way to access the whole river and finding fishy spots is by boat. Finding bank areas that are not packed is tough. "High up" is about the only area that a fly guy can have any elbow room on our GH rivers.
     

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