spey for steelhead

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by Ryan Nathe, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. Ryan Nathe Member

    Posts: 836
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    Hi I am an avid fly-fisherman and I love to fly-fish for steelhead. I maily fish the Deshcutes and am currently working on getting to know the Skagit. I have casted a spey rod a few times on the Deschutes but the rod I was using felt like a canon. Which I guess is good for casting but when you fianlly hook that elusive steelhead I dont know how much fun it would be to haul it in with that enormous rod. The rod I used was a seven weight but still seemed huge for a steelhead that averages 3-5 pounds on the Deschutes. Does anyone have this concern or have insight into it. I ask because I have not hooked one on a spey rod and dont feel like spending the money to find out if it isnt what i am looking for. The advantages are huge I am sure, but I wonder if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
  2. Red Shed "junkyard spey"

    Posts: 517
    Peck, ID
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    There are any number of smaller spey rods that will serve you well if you are interested in lighter two handers. I call them "trout speys". They range in price from $250.00 to over $800.00. To mention a few, Snowbee Tamar and Torridge, Sage 5120 & 6126, CND Spey Tracker 12'2", TFO 12'6"-6wt, T&T 10'-6wt & 11'-7wt, Scott LS2 5wt. There are also small Loomis' and several small models from Meiser and Gary Anderson.

    For my money the advantages of two handers do outweigh the disadvantages. Stop by your local shop and ask to take some test drives on your water.
  3. Zen Piscator Supporting wild steelhead, gravel to gravel.

    Posts: 3,076
    Missoula, MT
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    Ligther rods can be fun, but the big D's fish really average like 5-8lbs, on up. Larger fish also use the lower system. A 7wt might be an ideal rod. Check this out:

    [IMG]

    Going to light for fighting fish and casting flies is wayyyy worse than going to heavy.

    Peace,
    Andy
  4. Red Shed "junkyard spey"

    Posts: 517
    Peck, ID
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    Nice fish Andy!

    I personally agree with you about tackle size. For me it is much better for the fish to be over gunned. As I said I call them "trout speys" and I do use a Snowbee Tamar in summer to fish for trout. However Nathe ask a question about lighter tackle and I answered it. I do not push my personal beliefs on others when it comes to tackle selection.
  5. Ryan Nathe Member

    Posts: 836
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    Don't get me worng guys, I use a Sage XP #8 to tackle steelhead and an abel reel, so they arent going anywhere. But it jsut seems like a spey could really overpower them and take the fun out of it. But thanks for the line recommendations and I will look into some of those smaller two handers you suggested. I am so jealous of that picture.
  6. Ron Eagle Elk Active Member

    Posts: 1,741
    Yelm, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +110 / 0
    Mike,

    Good to see you here on WFF. Enjoyed meeting face to face last fall. We'll be heading to Lowell about the same time this year and look forward to seeing you again and maybe wetting a line on the Clearwater.

    Ron Eagle Elk
  7. Brian St New Member

    Posts: 10
    .
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Andy
    Nice pic you got of Chris Deleone on the D. Rod looks like a custom 9143-3 burkie. Nice fish for the D.
  8. speyforsteel Degenerate Caster

    Posts: 316
    Eastern Washington
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    If you let most or all your fish go it is not all about the fight but also the responsibility to control and release the fish in good health. This year I hooked two steelhead on the yak on a five weight I could have landed those fish if I played them gentle but instead I put the works to them and bent the hooks and felt good doing it.By the way a 20 inch dolly or three pound steelhead will bend my 15 foot nine weight just fine and with good conscious
  9. ssickle1 Slow and Low

    Posts: 171
    Hood River, OR
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Nathe,

    I fish the Deschutes 30-40 days a year with a 7136 type 6 tip, bunny leaches. I will tell you a 7 weight is light for any fish approaching 8 pounds. My buddy fishes a thomas and thomas 7 weight spey. Big redsides will take big line as well. That being said get an 8 weight, you can still get spooled on it and it is a lot easier to cast tips with.

    My .02.
  10. john wells New Member

    Posts: 36
    la conner wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    if your fishing the skagit you won't regret having a bigger rod this years flows are going to be high me thinks were getting the rain and the snow to last awhile right now and I'm sure your looking for a larger fish than 5 pounds {not dissing the D here } I've caught a few sauk -skagit fish they will make you work good luck drop me a line if you meet on the river sometime :thumb:
  11. Davy Active Member

    Posts: 2,021
    SIlverton, OR
    Ratings: +16 / 0
    IMO ,Go heavier than the 7 ,, I fished a 7 predominantly for 25 years. No sweat- a little light at times, last year I got on the fish I had been looking for, for that 25 years on the Sauk,,,,,, I am fishing 9's now. That's all I am sayin.
  12. gt Active Member

    Posts: 2,616
    sequim, WA
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    low water summer flows, i use my 7wt. medium sized rivers, no larger than lets say the hoh, 8wt. if i were to fish BIG rivers i would want a 9 or 10wt just to be able to cover a bit more water. if i had to choose a single rod wt, it would be the 8wt for the PNW.

    i have also moved myself to the shorter 'skagit' rods for winter fishing since this is almost always a T14 situation. i find these short rods cast just as far as the longer rods, handle the tips and big flies without drama, are easier on my aging back but do require me to strip in line.
  13. Zen Piscator Supporting wild steelhead, gravel to gravel.

    Posts: 3,076
    Missoula, MT
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    Btw, i didnt take that photo, just nabbed it from chris's gallery to put up for reference. Such an amazing fish!
  14. Ryan Nathe Member

    Posts: 836
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    Davy, that is one of the saddest fishing stories I have heard, 25 years is a long time to wait for "the one" and then lose it.
  15. inland Active Member

    Posts: 595
    .
    Ratings: +46 / 0
    Davy,

    You bring up the very crux of why I gave up on fishing the 'toy' rods (<9 wt two handers) when fish 12# up to whatever are a realistic possibility. Especially leaning towards the 'whatever'. Over the years I finally conceded 'just in case' is better than 'Oh Crap, wish I would have been fishing my XX wt instead...man I hated blowing that opportunity'. Although the one that gets away is something that always draws me back...the one that violently gets away, while using the heavier wt rods, leaves an indelible gash in the psyche. Mumbling, whining, and shaking come to mind!!! Damn, like I really needed that bittersweet moment to pop back into my conscience and haunt me until October...thanks a lot. ;) ;) ;)

    William
  16. Red Shed "junkyard spey"

    Posts: 517
    Peck, ID
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    I find it ironic that Davy's rod was plenty good enough for 25 years only to lose a fish I'm assuming he would have released anyway.

    As to William, we are not all built the size of a bear and we don't all have the strength to swing a rod the size of a fir tree all day. I'm glad your liking your new toy?:cool:
  17. FT Active Member

    Posts: 1,242
    Burlington, WA
    Ratings: +102 / 0
    Redshed,

    As you know, I am like William and use a rod the size of a fir tree on the Skagit.

    Seriously, I use 10 or 11 wt 16'-18' rods on the Skagit from the end of November until the end of April. If you ever hook one of the 20# steelhead found in the Skagit or Sauk, you will understand why I use heavy rods.
  18. Red Shed "junkyard spey"

    Posts: 517
    Peck, ID
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    Howdy FT,

    Your just giving that "hog" more leverage to kick your butt.:D
  19. gt Active Member

    Posts: 2,616
    sequim, WA
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    the longer the rod, the more leverage applied to your lower back, hit the gym, drop the weight. of course as you get older this simply gets worse. that is one of the real reasons i have gone to shorter rods.

    keep in mind, long distance casting is a requirment for fishing atlantic salmon, they actually hold in mid river positions. steelhead, as we all know, are edge and obstruction holders. you really don't need to make extreme casts to be successfull with steelhead. just sayin'..............
  20. bigtj Member

    Posts: 280
    Victoria, BC
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I think catching steelhead on the spey isn't so much about the fight as it is about the grab, and being able to put the fly where you want it. For me, fighting the fish with a spey has always been a matter of "get it in quick as I can, if I lose it, no big deal". I think it's all about the grab and seeing the fish jump a time or two, that's it. The length of the spey puts you at a disadvantage fighting the fish, there is a lot of leverage going on, that's one area where a single hander has a 2-hander beat, fighting the fish.

    If you really want to feel the rod throb, go old school and fish a 7.5' 6-wt bamboo single-hander. OK I know you're not going to do that, but seriously take a look at even a 6-wt spey it's a massive stick compared to a 7-wt single hander, plenty of rod to handle 95% of the fish on the deschutes. So it boils down to being able to get the flies of the desired size into the drifts you want. For an all-around summer steelhead rod and a serviceable winter rod, a stiff 7 would be hard to beat. Rods like the 6126 would be great, too, but really light for crossing over to winter because it won't be as able to lob bigger flies. Try some different rods out if you can but personally I would feel a little under-gunned in some drifts with a 6-wt as my main summer run rod. It just won't throw the bugs I want to throw as effortlessly in many of the situations I fish summer runs.

    I've owned a few heavier rods up to a 16' 10-wt. The 10's are really nice for throwing huge flies but based upon my experience with chrome, big kings to 40+ pounds I really think a 9-wt rod is enough to land a 20 or 25 lb. steelhead. I've seen a lot of kings in the 30-40 lb range landed with a Sage 9140-4 with only on major rod meltdown, which was due to loose ferrules anyway. I'm not saying that it wouldn't be nice to have a 10-wt for a lot of situations, I'm just saying that since 20 or 25 lb steelhead come around very rarely for most people even in places like BC that fishing a 14' 9-wt is a nicely matched rod for most winter situations for me, throwing the flies I like and fighting steelhead in the 6-12 lb range on average.

    -John