spey for steelhead

To each their own

Anyone remember the 20/20 club? Lee Wulff started that. You had to catch a 20lb fish on a size 20 hook to qualify for membership. Lee Wulff also advocated short, light bamboo rods. Atlantic Salmon on a 5 or 6 wt stick and light tippet. Although he later admitted the error of his ways, no one ever bad mouthed Lee Wulff for not being a true sportsman.

There are methods, flies and rigs, that I wouldn't be caught dead using. Some being very effective. And others take great pleasure in catching fish that way. We each fish the way we do, because it turns us on. For one reason or another. That's good enough.
bigtj said:
II'm not saying that it wouldn't be nice to have a 10-wt for a lot of situations, I'm just saying that since 20 or 25 lb steelhead come around very rarely for most people even in places like BC that fishing a 14' 9-wt is a nicely matched rod for most winter situations for me, throwing the flies I like and fighting steelhead in the 6-12 lb range on average.

Exactly, same here in the GLs for winter steelheading a 9 wgt 14 footer is all that is needed and on our smaller rivers an 7/8 wgt 12-13 foot spey is the preferred rod. Although I am trying a 12 foot 7/8 wgt spey now for winters also.


Old Man

Just an Old Man
black ghost said:
Exactly, same here in the GLs for winter steelheading a 9 wgt 14 footer is all that is needed and on our smaller rivers an 7/8 wgt 12-13 foot spey is the preferred rod. Although I am trying a 12 foot 7/8 wgt spey now for winters also.

The Princess going to let you buy that new rod,BG.:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:


I already bought the 12 foot 6/7 wgt Torridge spey rod, its pretty nice so far.

Here she is with my 20 year old Marryat MR-9 reel on here, looks like a good marriage so far.

:thumb: ;)




Active Member

As one of the folks you debated with on the how the heavier and longer 2-handers were overkill because I have been using the faster, stiffer, longer and heavier 2-handers, you have stated very well why I like and use faster, stiffer 2-handers of 16'-18' most of the time. And it still comes down to personal preference, just use the rod with the length, line weight, and action you like and you will be a happy camper. But the faster, stiffer, longer rods do have a performance advantage once you learn how to cast them and take advantage of it.

I missed all that stuff a couple weeks back but don't worry it's no big deal. Everybody is entitled to their opinion. I can see where your thoughts were coming from, I respect what you said and your side of the story has a lot of merit, and I consider your apology to be a nice gesture and a sign of your good character. From my perspective I don't consider your apology necessary but I appreciate it.

I wasn't for one second recommending light rods for steelhead for everybody. The only point I was trying to make is that spey rods are pretty massive sticks compared to what has been used to land fish in the past by a lot of folks. Put a 6126 side by side with your average 8-wt and you'll see the mass and flex are comparable.

If you knew me, my ethics, and my fishing background, I think you might understand where my comment came from. In Alaska I have personally landed a 10-lb silver with sea lice on it in about 5 minutes with a 8' 4-wt Scott F-series fiberglass rod with absolutely no harm to the fish; in fact, I would argue strongly that fish was in a lot better shape than some fish I've seen landed with an 8-wt by folks who don't know what they are doing. (I happened to be fishing for 3-4 lb pinks at the time, which are a freaking blast on a 4-wt, the Silver came out of nowhere and I didn't hook it intentionally). With any rod, it's a matter of fighting the fish hard with the attitude that you dont' care if the hook pulls out and using the flex of the rod to it's full advantage. I still stand by my comment that, under the hands of a competent fish-fighter, landing a 10-lb steelhead quickly with a 6126 on the deschutes is no big deal. In fact, my main nymphing rod for deschutes-sized i.e. 4-8 lb steelhead (I fish for summer runs on the Trinity a lot) is a 10' GLX 6-wt, which I have landed hot steelhead up to 10 lbs. and silvers to 14 pounds without ever breaking the rod or over-stressing the fish. I'm talking 4 or 5 minute fights and fish that kick butt on their way back to being released into the river. No bull I do it all the time and the fish don't suffer for it and more than the guys fishing with 8's and 9's.

As far as getting spooled goes, in nearly 20 years of fishing for anadramous salmonids, 8 years of which I was guiding in Alaska, and landing litterally thousands of kings, chums, pinks, sockeyes, silvers and steelhead in aggregate, I have never been completely spooled, and have only once lost a fly line. In case you're wondering, the rod I was using when I lost that line (a 9/10/11 windcutter) was a 10160-3 spey rod (16' 10 wt) which is an absolute cannon. I'm not 100% positive exactly what happened, but to the best I could tell at the time, I had accidentally snagged a ~25-lb king and before I could get a handle on it, the fly line was out of the guides, and the backing broke near the knot, I must have nicked the backing when I put the line on. The funny part is, the following day one of my dudes hooked that same king, and I got everything back except the first 15' headd. At any rate, this could have happened with any weight rod. Based upon my experience and what I've seen with a lot of clients over many seasons, how you were spooled 11 times by summer steelhead with a 9'6" 8-wt boggles my mind, it's like nothing I've ever seen or heard of. But it makes me think that under certain circumstances all gear used for steelhead fishing has its limiations and nothing is guaranteed.

If you don't agree with my experience and approach, I respect your right to express your own experiences and opinions that differ with mine. If we all agreed all the time, life would be very boring.



Active Member
Sorry William, whine if you wantbawling: ... but I'm not giving you back those two wonderful custom Burkies I bought from you.;) Got anything more collecting dust I need to know about?????:cool:

"Again this is but one person's opinion after a 'quest' of untold $$$'s wasted in gear that collects dust when the answer I sought was right under my nose. Too proud to accept a different route. Smaller, shorter, lighter, softer would make it fun."

Red Shed

"junkyard spey"
Fred, I have a lot of things collecting dust that you need.:cool:

To me the most important statement in this whole thread is by JD (speyfisher): "We each fish the way we do, because it turns us on. For one reason or another. That's good enough."


Active Member
inland said:
"It really depends on where you are fishing and when. What size flies you want to cast and with what lines. And how far you plan on casting. And under what conditions. You can compromise on some fronts but give up something to do so. Some don't mind the compromise and others can't stand them." - William

"I am from Oregeon and spend June through November on the Deschutes anything less than a 7 wt for steelheading is a poor choice,..."

I think the two 'quotes' above pretty well sum up 'what rod should I use, and when.' On one hand the Rogue can have very low flows (as low as 800-900 cfs) late in the summer due to 'dam control' and the Deschutes (also dam controlled) will easily have 5 times the amount of water coming down stream.

Would a 9wt 15' spey be "over kill" in one river and quite appropriate on the other? I'd think so.


Active Member
Red Shed said:
Fred, I have a lot of things collecting dust that you need.:cool:
Joan says: "One more post like the above and I'm going to put Red Shed on your 'ignore postings list.' :hmmm:

Sounds just like a woman doesn't it .... (but what she doesn't know about is the new 16' spey I picked up from Bob Meiser last month ... sn igger, sn igger.:thumb: )
Cascadekiller, I have yet to get a spey rod, I will probably continue to use a single hander until my arm falls off, I just like the feel of a fish on a shorter rod more, I also like the feel of a good double haul. Realistically in a few years when I have money I will probably get one and try it on the Skagit and Sauk.

If you like the feel of a good double haul, wait until you get a fast-actioned 2-hander to flex down into the but with a big 'ol D-loop. It's like launching the space shuttle!

Good luck to you,