Winter steel...All I have is a 6 wt

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Alexander, Dec 11, 2013.

  1. Alexander Fishon

    Posts: 1,035
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    I'll be on a 2 week forced leave from work - (plant shut down :() So I thought I may be able to dedicate a few days to chasing steel in about 1 more week. BUT, all I have is my 6 wt. My friends don't fly fish so no loaner rods. Think I'll be seriously under gunned/screwed?

    Or if you don't mind sharing, maybe put me onto some rivers with good Trout fishing? I'm in Kitsap CO and the furthest I'd be willing to drive is to Forks. PM me if you'd like.

    The beaches have been a tad slow and I wouldn't mind a change of scenery.. in fact, I need it!

    Opine away!
  2. Danielocean Steelhead Virgin

    Posts: 1,476
    Ratings: +649 / 0
    Go to cabelas and buy an 8wt setup from them. After you are done using it from your trip, take it back. I am serious.
    golfman44 likes this.
  3. Randall Clark Active Member

    Posts: 706
    Ratings: +220 / 0
    find yourself an 8wt. Or put up a "want to borrow" add here. perhaps someone here with an extra 8wt can loan it to you. I'm in PDX, but if you don't get anything set up, let me know. I should be able to scrounge together a basic 7/8wt setup and ship it up to you. When does this work stoppage take place?
  4. sleestak240 Active Member

    Posts: 105
    Ratings: +51 / 0
    I would seriously avoid using a 6 weight single hander for steelhead. Despite the fact that it's mainly hatchery season, early run wild steelhead in this area are severely depressed. On the off-chance that you do hook a wild fish on a 6'd basically be handing it a death warrant if you landed it, in my opinion. Part of our responsibility to wild steelhead is landing them as quickly as possible...1 minute or less per pound is a general guideline (i.e. a 10 pound fish should not take more than 10 minutes to land) - 30 seconds per pound is even better. I'm not sure that can be consistently achieved with a 6 weight.

    There are quite a few passable 8 weight outfits that can be had for $150. Or you could call up a local fly shop and rent an 8 weight outfit from them...probably $20 a day.
    John Hicks likes this.
  5. jake-e-boy Banned or Parked

    Posts: 507
    Ratings: +227 / 0
    i'm up in PT and have a single hand 7wt you can use. Down to go fish some rivers for steel too
  6. CLO Royal Wulff Pack

    Posts: 874
    Ratings: +422 / 0
    There should be some cheaper 8 weights in the classified section of this website.
  7. zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

    Posts: 3,235
    Moses Lake, WA
    Ratings: +1,030 / 1
    If you can't beg/borrow/buy a heavier outfit your 6 wt will do ok.
    Keith Hixson likes this.
  8. CLO Royal Wulff Pack

    Posts: 874
    Ratings: +422 / 0
  9. Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

    Posts: 3,861
    Pipers Creek
    Ratings: +1,263 / 1
    At this time of the year I'd fish a 6 all day if that was all I had.
    Lots of 6 wts, especially salty ones are really seven wts in disguise.
    Beef up your leader and take the fight to the fish and you'll be fine.
  10. Blake Harmon Active Member

    Posts: 1,037
    Spokane, Washington
    Ratings: +147 / 0
    Contact Scoones and see if you cant get a bigger stick from the demo program for those outings.
    John Hicks and Alexander like this.
  11. Alexander Fishon

    Posts: 1,035
    Ratings: +325 / 0
    Thanks for the replies guys! :). I'd love to buy another (inexpensive) set-up, but if I did I'd end up stuck here so that would defeat the point. Between gas, cheap lodging and some food there goes what $ I can dedicate to a "cheap" rod/reel setup.

    Sleestak240 - gotcha on the quick catch and release. I pretty much treat all fishing that way no matter what species I target. I'm in it for the sport not for the kill or the picture even. If I'm out gunned I'd break 'em off, I have no issues with that.

    I few years back I was blessed with a guided trip (by my father in-law) on the Bogachiel with Jeff Woodward. Great guy! We gear fished and caught a grip of hatchery fish, that was in mid to late December. Could have easily hit those with the sixer - I think.

    I figure If I fished 8lb test the big ones would break me off while the average ones would be "fair-fight". I think I'm with Stonfish on this one. :)
  12. Rob Ast Active Member

    Posts: 1,916
    West Pugetopolis WA
    Ratings: +237 / 3
    Alexander, I have a loaner 8wt TFO TiCr with a not quite as loaner reel (but also less likely to break) you could borrow. Shoot me a PM.

    Alexander and Blake Harmon like this.
  13. golfman44 Coho Queen

    Posts: 1,749
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    I fished with Dan probably a dozen times this summer. I'd say on about 8 of those outings he had a new setup from cabelas that I would never see again.
    Alpine4x4 and Danielocean like this.
  14. Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

    Posts: 6,494
    Duvall, wa
    Ratings: +1,689 / 2
    If you do go and catch a hatchery fish (what's mostly there now)... Save a wild fish and don't release it.
  15. Alexander Fishon

    Posts: 1,035
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    Though I did say that I was in it for the sport...I should add that when I do see that it's a hatchery I tend to keep it! Unless I catch one right away since I don't want to lug them around with me all day.
  16. Smalma Active Member

    Posts: 2,831
    Marysville, Washington
    Ratings: +707 / 0
    IMHO a 6 weight rod is more than adequate to handle nearly any steelhead you might encounter in PNW rivers.

    However before chasing steelhead with your 6 weight I recommend that you honestly evaluate your skills and equipment and if you can answer yes to the following 3 questions go for it.

    1) Given your casting skills can you effectively cast the flies you are likely to be using the required distances all day long with your 6 weight outfit?

    2) With your 6 weight outfit (including lines) can you present your fly as needed to get a steelhead to take in the waters you are likely to fish?

    3) Are your fish playing skills such that your are comfortable quickly landing ( in less than that 1 minute/# criteria) fish that weight in the double digits? In other words have sufficient experience in handling larger fish (trout, salmon, steelhead etc.) to be comfortable in "taking the fight" to the fish to land in quickly?

    Only you are in a position to assess your skills and to answer the above questions. I have caught a decent number of winter steelhead on 5 weights to be more than comfortable that an experienced angler can catch and release a steelhead on 6 weight rod without unduly endangering its survival. Survival of the fish landed on lighter tackle is more about the skill of the angler than it is the size of the tackle used. It is possible to land steelhead on 6 weight rods in as little time as most anglers do with conventional tackle or 10 weight rods. As suggested beef up your leaders to 8# ultra green maxima and don't be afraid to the take it to the fish.

  17. Alexander Fishon

    Posts: 1,035
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    Thanks Smalma, I should be alright on all accounts.

    Now I have one more question and I know some of you will cringe, but I'll ask anyway! :)

    Any recommendations on rivers with good "fly water"? I'm rolling solo (I kinda like it that way) and I don't have a drift boat or other floating device. Where is the wading decent for a single handed fly rodder? Other than the Hoh I don't know much else. Once whenI looked to wade fish the bogie access seemed rather slim. Any tips?
  18. Yard Sale Active Member

    Posts: 362
    The Hood
    Ratings: +154 / 0
    Couldn't disagree more. A 6wt is nowhere near enough to responsibly land a winter fish.

    Plenty of offers here to get you the right gear. If you don't want to do that tent camp one night and spend that cash to rent a rig. Better yet tent camp every other night and buy your own gear cause you will be back!
  19. PT Physhicist

    Posts: 3,571
    Edmonds, WA
    Ratings: +732 / 2
    99% of the fish in right now are 5-7# hatchery fish. A 6wt bent to the cork will handle those fish just fine. If you don't know how to play a fish, using a 10wt won't help. He'll be fine with a 6.

    I also have an 8wt I could lend you if you felt the need. I'll end up out on the OP and much of the time I'm floating solo in the raft. If you want a seat, PM me your info and when you'll be out that way and maybe we could hook up.
    Don Freeman and Alexander like this.
  20. Keith Hixson Active Member

    Posts: 1,507
    College Place, Washington
    Ratings: +55 / 0
    Caught many 5 - 8 lb fish on a 6 wt. Bigger than 7 - 8 lbs you'll need something bigger. I started out with a 6 wt. It worked fine.