weighted steelhead flies

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Charles Sullivan, Dec 15, 2007.

  1. Ladies and Gentlemen,

    I'm gonna tie up som weighted winter flies.

    I rearely have used many weighted flies in the past. What patterns deserve dumbell's or wraps? What water do you fish with weighted flies and what tips do you use them with?

    So far I've used them with a long leader and floating line. I nymph the top orf the drift and swing the bottom. I've also tried them swinging with type 6 and a short leader for water to quick to fish otherwise. Nearly always I have used weighted egg sucking leaches. My success rate isn't all that great however.

    How do you all use 'em?

  2. Tie up all the normal patterns that you use. When I do it I just tie up like 6 of the lead eye, 6 brass eye, 6 cone head, 6 bead chain, 6 unweighted.

    Then when I am fishing, if I feel the riffle depth has changed, I will change my fly accordingly. My personal choice is to try to stay away from changing sink tips as much as possible because that cuts into your productive fishing time.

    Winter swing fishing to me means I have to concentrate on the three most important things. Profile, profile, and profile. Other than that I am not picky.

    The way described that you fish is my preferred method for steelhead in N California and for summer runs.
  3. Good tip-
  4. You could try wrapping the hook shank with lead and tying over it. But you have to use the .020 size lead or bigger..

  5. Charles,

    The way you're using them is just fine. As soon as you drift one in front of a fish, you'll know you were doing it right. The water just didn't happen to be occupied. Steelheading's tough due to the lack of frequent positive feedback even when you do everything right.

  6. Thanks guys. ESL's it is. Maybe something in orange too. I've got lead eyes in 7/32 and 3/16. Do you all think that it is sufficient on a floater and 12-14 foot leader? I can add lead wraps as well.

  7. I'm not sure about dumbell eyes alone doing the trick. A conehead fly will do it. You might need one or two size BB split shot as well as dumbell eyes, depending on water depth and speed of course.

  8. Wait, you mean you can tie flies without weight?

    Seriously, I tie weighted flies more often than not. It's just my mentality I suppose. I'll adjust my leader length based on how much, and how quickly I want it to sink, relative to my tip. I'll also use a sink tip more often than not. I like to keep my leaders shorter than longer, (7'-9', if not shorter) and I can't stand split shot, so I rely on a sinking tip to get the fly down, coupled with the fly itself sinking.

    And I agree with Salmo. I think you'll need more weight than that with a floater to really get it down. In skinny water, you'd be fine, but for alot of the winter flows, you'll need to get yourself down more aggressively.
  9. One lead dumbell eye is about 4 of the size 0 of shot. That sucker throws ugly. It very rarely gets tied on though except when rivers are marginal. I think that the weight at the fly inside the fly's turbulence gets it down more than the extra drag on the line. Probably just a different way to say "a half dozen" or "6".

    When I am stick nymphing and swinging like that I found my leader thickness to be the largest factor for how fast I got down and how long I stayed down on the swing. Large difference between 8lb maxima and 3x Seaguar, for how much it takes to get you down. I believe there is about 20% less line to create static drag tension in the water.

    I usually use 12' leaders too with the last 4 feet being 3x Seaguar.
  10. 3x for steelhead?
  11. I have a separate box for weighted/heavy winter steelhead flies. I can't tell by feel if a fly is weighted, so I always tie them with gray thread (sometimes just a band over another color thread).

    I've found it best to tie in barbell and bead chain eyes separately - at least, after some half hitches following the previous step. Such eyes like to wedge between rocks, and often get pulled off, or at least spun out of position.

    Do you know about the Mustad 7970 hook? 5X stout, no less, "weighted" out of the hook box. Tde, sproat bend, about 1x long, not expensive.
  12. Jergens,

    For summer runs I use 3x Seaguar as the tippet on my floater. It is rated higher than 8lb maxima. It isn't as durable though.
  13. Charles. I find that weighted bunny leaches are good. Bunny is pretty buoyant though, so it almost just helps it get down more normally. Weighted Marabous will sink pretty quickly because marabou sinks pretty well. I Fish weighted flies in most water deeper than about 4 feet deep, and definitely fish weighted flies in heavier water. I'm not one to change sink tips very frequently so the weight of the fly ends up determining the depth.

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