Thinking about Steelhead

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Noah Pefaur, Sep 19, 2004.

  1. Noah Pefaur New Member

    Posts: 130
    Mill Creek, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I recently moved to the east side of the state. There aren't nearly as many places to fish for trout, which has been the only thing i've fished for since I took up FF about 3 years ago, but there are a lot of rivers over here have steelhead. And so the time has come. Here's my question, and i'm sure that this has been asked before. To spey, or not to spey? The rivers i'm planning on fishing are the Yakima, Walla Walla, Toucannon, Klickitat and the Grande Rhonde, they are all within an hour or two from me here in the Tri-cities. Could you guys give me some opinions on whether it would be advantagous to spend the extra cash on a spey rod or not? I've never even seen a spey rod up close, but they seem to be the way to go.
  2. Old Man Just an Old Man

    Posts: 21,757
    Dillon, Mt
    Ratings: +1,709 / 0
    Spey rod fly fishing is not just picking up a spey rod and going at it. It would help to have a few lessons. I have tried it and found it wanting but then that is just me. There are quite a few here that will tell you that,that is the way to fish. You can use that rod on the Yakima and the GR,but thoses other rivers are too small for one.

    But this is just my .05 worth.

  3. miyawaki Active Member

    Posts: 3,231
    Kent, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +880 / 1
    Before the current popularity of speyrods, there were single-handers. In fact, the history of steelheading from Northern California to British Columbia was written by men and their "short" rods.

    I would suggest that you go fish with what you got and learn that it's the fisherman and not the rod that will catch steelhead. When you figure out what you want to do and how you want to go about it to catch steelhead, you'll know the answer to, ". . . to spey or not to spey."

  4. Tim Cottage Formerly tbc1415

    Posts: 1,691
    Outer Duvall
    Ratings: +248 / 1
    This is excellent advise, every word of it. Focus on the basics first. At this point in your adventure a spey rod is not likely to help much. There is so much more to learn. There are some advantages to long rods but be aware that you don't have to make such a black and white desicion like "to spey or not to spey". Google switch rods. They offer a bit of both worlds.
  5. SpokaneFisherman Member

    Posts: 339
    Ratings: +12 / 0
    I totally agree with the previous posts. It sounds like you've received some very good responses so far. I asked myself the same questions recently and I ended up buying a Spey rod. I'm curious about the underlying question here. It sounds to me like you're asking, "Do I need a spey rod to catch steelhead?" and that answer is definitely no.

    With that said I prefer the Spey Rod. Given the choice I will fish with my spey rod before I'd string up my single hander. Go ahead call me an elitist. iagree. But for me there's something very rhythmic and relaxing about Spey casting.

    Of course at the end of the day all that matters is, "Are you confident?" As long as your confident in your tools and your ability to use those tools, you'll catch fish.
  6. ak_powder_monkey Proud to Be Alaskan

    Posts: 3,209
    Eagle River, Alaska
    Ratings: +112 / 0
    Speaking of speys how hard is it to cast uber heavy lines (say an 850 gr. shooting head) with longer rods? I'm thinking that a spey would be a great tool for the lower kenai, what about saltwater use, can you cast em farther then shorter rods or are they just line management tools for big rivers?
  7. TerryD New Member

    Posts: 31
    Auburn, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Focus on the basic

    I agree with everyone and here is my additional 2 cents.

    I also started the fly game on trout, around the Pendleton area, and got very good at catching a good number of fish everytime out on the rivers. However, I found the switch to the steelhead game to be a long road before I found constant success on my own. Note, the path was well worthy it in the end and has improved my patience greatly.

    Before spending a lot of money on new equipment, focus on learning the basics on reading the water and how to fly fish for steelhead because there are maney different ways to do it (sink-tip, floating, nymphing, etc.)

    I suggest starting with a 6 or 7 weight singlehander, because if you find that you don't like steelheading you can always us the rod for lake fly fishing in your area. Next, read books, learn the runs in your area, talk to the folks at the fly shops, take a on-the-water class, book a trip with a guide, and most important fish, fish, fish.

    Hope this helps and be warned, once your hooked on steelhead there is no way of throwing the hook.

    Good luck :thumb:

    Terry D.
  8. Steelheader Only 3 more years until I can think like a fish.

    Posts: 274
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I to have considered going to a two hander, but like said before. Some of the rivers you have mentioned are to small. I couldn't see somebody fishing the Toucannon with a spey.
  9. Nooksack Mac Active Member

    Posts: 1,956
    Bellingham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +115 / 0
    I'm sort of nuts about spey rods and spey fishing, but I agree that they're not often needed in the smaller rivers you describe. (Light to medium speys are popular on the G.R.) My rule of thumb is that they're not needed on rivers that average less than 50 feet wide.

    If you get into steelheading, you're going to have a lot of other things to learn; so I'd postpone the interest in spey rods for the time being. During the next year, you'll probably see spey rods in use, and will probably talk with their owners. For now, a 9-10-foot 7-weight single-hand rod will work fine on those eastern WA rivers. And if you get into spey fishing later, that "short" rod will still be very useful for lake fishing.

    "Switch" rods are a new, transitional category: rods around 10-13 feet that can be used either single- or two-handed.
  10. pwoens Active Member

    Posts: 2,570
    Spokane, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +5 / 0
    I would stick with what you have now. There is no need to try and add more to your "need to learn" list when fishing for steelhead, as you will have enough "need to learns" just fishing for these metal heads. I agree with all the above post, with the exception of the elitist gentleman from spocompton :p
  11. papafsh Piscatorial predilection

    Posts: 2,229
    Camano Island, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +63 / 0

    Not nearly enough places to fish for trout on the east side? Man, if all you ever fished was the Yak, you'd have plenty of trout to keep you busy. You should check with a few local fly shops, I'm sure you will find all the trout opportunities you can handle, in fact when I want to fish trout I drive the hour and a half just to get to the east side.

    As for the Steelhead/Equipment issue, the others have already given you good advise. iagree Learn to catch'em first with what you have, because a spey rod won't make a bit of difference until you gain the knowledge base and confidence necessary with the species.

    Good fishing to you! you won't believe the difference between a steelie and a trout!

    I would also suggest you consider a guide, it will really help, and could shorten the time usually associated with hooking up to that first steelie. Will be worth the cost!