Super clear water: How many steps between swings?

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by golfman44, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. golfman44

    golfman44 4-Time Puget Sound Steelhead Guide of the Year

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    Obviously in dirty water its just like 1-2 steps between swings but when the water is insanely clear would something like 6-7 steps make sense? To illustrate my point, here is a pic of a bull trout i swung up the other day:

    bull2.png

    There is at least 40 feet of visibility in this water (to our eyes), and if you were only taking ~2 steps between swings, a steelhead holding somewhere in there would see your fly 5-10 times before it got infront of his grill. I assume this would drastically reduce the chances of a strike, right? Does me taking 6+ steps cause me to miss some fish? I love working water fast and prefer to do it this way so I can then swing thru the run a 2nd time with a different fly, but am wondering if I have been missing fish this way...

    ....Or am i over thinking this whole thing....
     
  2. JohnB

    JohnB Active Member

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    One thing to think about is that the water often looks super clear when you are looking down into it, but if you were to put on a snorkel mask and try to look across a pool I bet the visibility would be surprisingly less. That said I know shit all about swinging for steelhead.
     
  3. Sean Beauchamp

    Sean Beauchamp Heavies...

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    There is nothing wrong at all with 6 ( or more) steppin'! I wish more guys would. You have to keep moving and covering ground to hunt down an aggressive fish. I'd rather fish through twice quickly than once at 2 steps any day. I seem to end up following guys a lot who seem like they never move? Drives me nuts. Really really cold water MAY be an exception but i would rather take my chances and find that fish that swims across the river to eat my fly.
     
  4. Charles Sullivan

    Charles Sullivan dreaming through the come down

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    I rarely 2 step. 4 steps is the norm. 7-8 steps happens.

    I slow down in certain areas of certain runs, and when I feel something.

    Go sox,
    cds
     
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  5. 6 steps after one traditional swing and then that bitch is going broadside
     
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  6. DanielOcean

    DanielOcean Steelhead Virgin

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    After fishing with a seasoned expert on the Skagit Sunday I now will always take a minimum of 5 steps.It was made known right away that I fished too slowly so we corrected that. From what I understand casting 15 times at a potential non player is most likely a waste of time. Cast, step, swing, retrieve. If you did not find a player on the current swing then move on, and cover water. That is what I learned so we will see if that pays off or not.
     
  7. troutdopemagic

    troutdopemagic Active Member

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    Most of the time I take 4-6 steps (obviously that varies based on river bottom conditions) in clear water. I figure that a player is going to see my fly and move to it in the first swing or he won't at all since as long as your bug is at the right depth, the fish is going to see it. I dislike remaining static and swinging water that might not even hold a fish. Keep moving and hunting for that player. About the only times I slow down is when I'm covering a bucket or place that gives me "feels".
     
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  8. Chris Johnson

    Chris Johnson Member: Native Fish Society

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    If it's really good water I'll only take two steps. I love to soak my ass in righteous water.
     
  9. Derek Young

    Derek Young 2011 Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide Of The Year

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  10. Tacoma Red

    Tacoma Red Active Member

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    It's not how many steps you take it how you do it!

     
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  11. Red Arch

    Red Arch Active Member

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    If I'm alone I like to take my time dissecting the runs or pools. I'll start with the one fly and search every spot I can before stepping, and then follow cast 2 step 2 until there are interesting spots again. If I know fish hold there I work through at the normal 2 and 2 before going to the top again and switching up.

    Only If I don't like the water will I take 6 steps etc...
     
  12. HauntedByWaters

    HauntedByWaters Active Member

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    +10000000000000000000

    Twice quickly, different flies is my strategy. The flies should fish differently, one bright and one dark. Also different sizes, one big, one small.
     
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  13. KerryS

    KerryS Ignored Member

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    I used to move fairly quickly through a run but now I am older and I don't wade as well as I used to. Clear water, dirty water doesn't matter much to me. I take a step per strip between casts which usually translates to somewhere between 4 to 8 steps depending on how much line I have out. That is the way I have been doing it since the beginning. Basically you are looking for players. A player can to move to the fly from a long distance and he or she may move to a fly on multiple casts. They may even take the fly multiple times without the fisherman even knowing it.

    If you can find some high ground above a run you know holds fish, sit up there and watch as somebody swings it. You well be amazed at what you see.
     
  14. Randall Clark

    Randall Clark Active Member

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    ^That^

    Because of the fact that when I am swinging, I'm doing so with a dry line, so I cast from the same spot I finished my last swing and take 5-6 steps down during the swing to achieve more depth during the swing, so it's more of a product keeping the fly down for me, but regardless, I tend to move pretty fast through the water.

    for the record, I fish nearly as fast while nymphing as well (at least a bit faster than the majority of fishermen I see out on the Deschutes regardless of whether or not their swingers or nymphers).
     
  15. ChaseBallard

    ChaseBallard bushwhacker

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    In clear water I'm all about the 5 or 6 steps after every other cast, element of surprise and all. I definitely like to slow it down in the tailout or other fishy sections though.

    Some of the best steelheading advice I ever got was instead of fishing a run once slowly, swing it through quickly, drink a tallboy of beer on the bank, then swing it again quickly with a different fly. Steelhead love tallboys.