8wt Line Recommendations for Steelhead?

What type of line/style do you prefer for steelhead & salmon?

  • VersiTip

    Votes: 12 36.4%
  • Floating

    Votes: 11 33.3%
  • Sinking

    Votes: 3 9.1%
  • Sink Tip

    Votes: 5 15.2%
  • Other

    Votes: 2 6.1%

  • Total voters


Swingin' for them shiny steel
So I've caught a few steelhead on a spinning rod but am brand new to flyfishing for them. I just scored a sweet deal on a Sage SP 9' #8 and am now studying my options for line & technique styles.

So I'm curious. If you're a steelhead/salmon fisherperson, what type of line do you use & why?
I pretty much just use spey rods unless I'm nymphing (which I've been doing a lot less lately). If you're planning to nymph, it's hard to go wrong with a Rio Indicator Taper or Steelhead Taper. VersiTip lines for single hand rods don't cast for crap, but can be very useful if you're still trying to dial in how you want to fish.
I prefer a floating line, I will add sink tips to the end depending on conditions. A 9'6" rod or 10ft works for me a bit better than a 9ft. However I pretty much never use a single handed rod anymore unless the water is very small or Im in a boat. The reason I use floating is its more versatile for how I fish. I can add tips if i need, skate dries/bombers, nymph, bead(yes i said bead) I can pretty much do anything with it except really really deep dredging.


Purveyor of fine hackle, wine & cigars!
I prefer a multi-tip line for most of my fishing, however that being said I probably use my type III tips most often and then my type VI's! I usually use a spey rod and for most of my spey's I have at least two lines, a floating and a multi-tip line.

Joe M.

another addict
So it really depends on where and how you will be fishing, but a versi-tip gives you a lot more options. As a one line to do it all, it is a good choice.

Personally I usually fish either a floating line (hairwings, nymphs, dries, and some swinging) or a type IV or III sink-tip for swinging deep.
If you are going to swing or nymph, a SAS by Rio or Scientific Anglers (Orvis had them on sale for as low as $29) is hard to beat for versatility. My 2nd line would be a Wulff Ambush to fish with tips and/or bigger flies. I got one last year and it's really good for single-hand spey and roll casting. Doesn't mend as well as the SAS due to level running line behind the 20' head, but for swinging I set up my 1st mend at the entry of the fly and rarely adjust it after that, use the rod tip to lead or follow depending on what I want the fly doing. As stated above, a 9-1/2 to 10' single hand rod is nice, but since you already got the 9', it'll be fine.
9 1/2 foot or 10 footer with a shooting head and amnesia running line works for me when fishing from shore, when in my pram I use Xi3 Sage 9 foot-9wt for Salmon or Steelhead. a handful of shooting heads in different sink rates will get you right in the bucket. my 2 cents

On my 9'0 8wt I use the Rio's Steelhead taper and it lobs just about anything I want to toss. I have even added a Airflo sink tip and it castes just fine
IMO, if you're just swinging with your single-hander, I feel that it's hard to beat Wulff Ambush. I use it occasionally on my 8' 8wt lamiglas and it does pretty will with T-8 tips. It'll nymph OK in a pinch but my favorite nymphing line for that same rod is actually the 7/8 switch line. IMO, the key when fishing a single-hand rod is worrying more about the buckets right in front of you as opposed to the buckets on the other side of the river because chances are, you'll never be able to reach those with your single-hander anyways. What I've found with my short shingle-hander is that it's a much more intimate experience whether nymphing or swinging. Sometimes you're wading right up next to where the fish are holding just to get a good drift...and that's part of what I love about it.


Active Member
What waters will you be fishing?

For around here I use the SA Steelhead taper, and Rio sink III tip. We dont have our locations on our info anymore, but I'm talking the S rivers in the North of Seattle areas.


Active Member
During the early part of summer like in June/July, i like to carry versitip simple because water level can still be pretty high. From Mid to Late summer, i like to use single handed rod with full floating line and fish it well into mid October, or lat October. And for Winter fish, heavy sink tip on spey rod.