What is a good PNW winter steelhead rod??

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by sandspanker, May 29, 2011.


what is your PNW winter rod of choice?

  1. 7wt

    25 vote(s)
  2. 8wt

    36 vote(s)
  3. 9wt

    3 vote(s)
  4. other

    1 vote(s)
  1. Have been told to use a 8wt for winter fishing but I have a 7 wt that just feels good with a 540 skagit on it. Plus feels right at home with the tactical steelhead for summer time duties. So what is your winter rod of choice?? 7,8,9,10????.
  2. Just like you, whatever works. Yes, 7/8 is the right range.
  3. Long ago, the writer/African big game hunter Robert Ruark introduced the pithy principle "use enough gun." In my winter steelheading, I followed his precept for a lot of years. I mainly fish the big rivers of northern Puget Sound, and I enjoy being able to cast far and mend a lot of line. So I used the big rods, 15-16 feet. There's a lot of satisfaction in using those big guns, and even now, my favorite winter steelhead rod is a 15 1/2 foot CND Salmo-Salar. But most of those rods are designed for 10/11 lines. Those are the choices of European Atlantic salmon fishermen. But our situation involves steelhead, which are at most half the size of At. salmon. Then too, several generations of new spey lines have shown us that really big, heavy flies and steelhead of a lifetime can be handled comfortably with smaller tackle.

    As I get older, I'm deliberately devolving toward rods like a 13 1/2' for 8/9 lines, giving up a little unessential power for a lot more comfort. If I was an Oregonian, fishing coastal rivers no wider than a country road, I might be happy with a rod of 12 1/2' or 13,' but I'd stick to the same size line.
  4. +1 to what NM just opined.

    Quite a few years back (well, I just turned 69, so a LOT of years back) I used an 18' Bruce and Walker Competition casting rod with a 1200 grain head for King Salmon fishing. I could consistently fish water 150 - 160 so feet out ... but in an hour I was exhausted. Then it was 15 foot 10 wt rods and 1000-1100 grin lines, then 14' 9wts and about 800 grain heads.

    To be honest, I know that none of my 10 wts have seen the light of day in probably 4 winters, the 9wt very occasionally and that's a water flow driven issue. Unless you're fishing 'big water' known for 'big fish' a 8wt between 13 and 14 foot will adequately handle 99% of your fishing winter fishing needs.
  5. I use a 7 or 8. My old Sage 9140-4 is rated for a 9, but it's a bit of a thunderstick on steelhead under 15 pounds. And most steelhead are less than 15 pounds.

  6. + 1 to what Salmo said, if/when I use a 9wt it's the same 'stick.' Lovely rod, but far too often 'over kill.'
  7. I have a 7 and an 8 and will use them both depending on my mood or the conditions. The 8 is shorter in length and I will use it when there is less room for a D loop, or when the wind is blowing stink. It's my broom stick/canon. The 7 is a bit longer and is my 'relaxed' rod. I would probably use the 7 more often but this winter at least it seemed it was always blowing like crazy or I was tucked in under some trees or something.
  8. I have an 8wt for winter work, skagit lines and heavier tips/flies to get down to cold fish that move less. At leat that is what I'm told and why I'm doing it.
  9. Line weight ratings for two-handed rods can be pretty misleading. I use a Sage 9140-4 and a Sage 7141-4 for winter steelhead fishing. My so-called "7 weight" will cast the same lines as my so-called "9 weight". In fact, it probably would handle heavier lines than my "9 weight".
  10. Amen to that o mykiss...

    If I was fishing big water for big fish...i.e. that chance in a lifetime where you "might" hook a 20lb steelhead then todays modern 8 wts would be plenty..

    Sometimes big water can also mean big wind and the heavier rods and lines are what you may have to go to as well..

    I had a talk with Meiser about this recently...I told him my favorite rod is a 14' 6/7 mks but I was fishing an 8wt in case I hooked a big boy...He said that my 6/7 could land any steelhead in any state or province that I fish....

    I always try and bring the 8wt if I'm on a trip somewhere in case of big wind when I'll need it..but fish the 6/7 or 7 wt. exclusively...If your going to fish all day and mulitple days..you'll appreciate the smaller rods a lot more...
  11. Before the "Skagit" line was refined most folks on the Skagit used a 14 to 15 foot rod and the Sage 9140 was likely the most popular. As the line was refined it became apparent to many that the longer sticks were no longer needed nor pratical and many moved to shorter rods. This trend prompted Sage to build the 8124 and it was realized by most at the time that a rod in the 12 to 13, 13 1/2 foot range was the perfect tool for short bellied lines, sinktips and large winter flies.
  12. We love our 12'6 7/8 MKS rods. I like the Skandit line on mine but my wife prefers her short Delta multi-tip.
  13. My head answered 8 wt for winter fish , but my heart prefers the 7 wt with backup rod available. The biggest fish that I hooked this winter totally destroyed my 7 wt.
  14. Destroyed your 7wt?.. Really?

    He got this one on an echo 6wt switch.


    Image is from Idylwilde website....



  15. Dumb statement. Not all fish are created equal. I have had 12 to 14 pound fish push an 8 weight rod to its limits and landed a 20+ pound fish with the same rod without much problem.
  16. True... some steelhead are logs that just roll over and give up, thanks for your incite.

  17. I'm in total agreement with KerryS on this one. Sage's 8124-3 is hands down the finest of the winter water, "skagit style" rods out there.
  18. He was fishing an Echo, though ;)
  19. The 8124 set the early standard for 2 handed rods for winter steelheading with Skagit lines. I am sure there are many others rods made that are equal to the 8124. Likely a matter of taste of the individual. I have a newer Sage 8129 that is a fantastic "Skagit" rod. The point I wanted to make is a medium to fast action rod around 12' to 13' long seems to be the best tool for Skagit style lines, heavy tips and large flies. 7 or 8 seems to be the prefered weight but I would fish a 9 for winter steelhead also.

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