Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by mwdehaan, Sep 4, 2012.
Yep, yep and more yep.
I only use my spey rods for throwing bobbers
What is a 'spey rod'?
A trout, once released, goes back to its lie, rests, and then starts eating again. A day later its like it never happened.
A steelehead is running a marathon of epic proportions . At this time of year it has a couple months to head upstream before it can even do its dance. Then if we are lucky it goes back out to the salt.
When your playing that fish think what lays ahead over the next 6 months. I know I want those genetics to survive...
Yes, you can land one of these fish on a 5wt or less, but think about how much more fat reserves it burns on those extra runs because your rod doesn't have the backbone to turn it.
The more of these fish I catch, and the lower the numbers get, the more I find myself upgrading tippet and rod size to give these fish the best chance to pass on their genes.
If you want to do light weight fishing, go find some carp.
Couldn't agree more...what's the downside to going heavier? There is none!!
What's the upside of going lighter? Lost or stressed wild fish of your lifetime.
Do we care?
"Yes, you can land one of these fish on a 5wt or less, but think about how much more fat reserves it burns on those extra runs because your rod doesn't have the backbone to turn it."
Like some of the other posts, you're making a flawed assumption or two. In no way am I advocating that we fish interior summer steelhead with 5 wt rods. However, doing so doesn't need to cause the fish to burn a single extra calorie, and the graphite 5 wt rods I'm familiar with have all the backbone necessary to land Okanogan steelhead in the same number of runs (mean = 0.2) as they will if one is fishing a heavier weight rod. Most of that backbone is located near and in the cork, though.
Believe it or not, but a hooked steelhead has no idea what rod the angler it's attached to is wielding. It only feels the resistance being applied. The tippet strength is the limiting factor determining the maximum resistance that can be applied. Using 8 or 10# tippet permits application of a lot more pressure than 4x or 5x. The rod is only a factor in this equation if you choose to make it so.
If one has options, however, most anglers find a 7 wt to be the most comfortable all around summer steelhead single hand rod. The OP apparently has only a 5 wt, and that's the only reason I have for assessing the feasibility of using it on the Okanogan this fall.
Beef in rod or beef in tippet or a combination of the two, both will assist an angler in landing and releasing steelhead more quickly. This is not debatable.
considering that the Okanogan is a bass pond and flows are non existant for the most part.. ive landed fish in an extremely timely manner with a super stiff 4wt. That being said Ive been taco'd with a 7wt on the same river. IF you use the 5 just put the screws to em and either land them fast or break em off. The vast majority of the fish you will run into on that river are hatchery fish.
the point shouldnt be for a bunch of you to toot your own horns because you can land steelhead on a 5wt or whatever. if the guy is inexperienced enough to have to ask on this forum whether or not he can fish a 5wt for steelhead then he is certainly too inexperienced to try.
my point is to inform the person that if you put the wood to them with a 5 wt that they already own they will be fine NO horn tooting intended. If you want to listen to me toot my own horn pull up a chair we'll be here for a while. Im awesome.
Here's how I would do it. Get a cheap 7 or 8 wt ($50). Cabelas has them for that price. That way, if you find you hate steelhead fishing you're out less than $100--or less if you turn around and sell it. If you really like steelhead fishing, you'll probably upgrade to a spey/switch rod soon anyway--and again you haven't invested heavily in your single hand set up.
Using light rods will not necessarily harm steelhead, but they increase the chance of an extended battle.
I just might do that Derek. I've already fished for steelhead just not with a fly rod. So I'm pretty positive I would enjoy it, but spending a lot for a short season might not be worth it. But then again, how big a chinook could an 8wt handle? I've seen ~12 pounds in the Okanogan but I wasn't sure if any of the larger ones in the 30lb range got up there or over in the Methow too. I know they can be down in the Brewster Pools which isn't far away at all. Thinking that if a 8wt could handle steelhead, larger bass, and smaller salmon, it might be worth investing in something quality that I could get years out of as well as having a great feel that I'd enjoy.
With all the comments regarding getting steelhead in and released in a timely manner brings another question to mind, how fast is fast and how slow is slow? I know every fish can have that extra bit of spunk in it, or even think it's a whale, but generally how long should a fight last? Estimate this on the higher range, say a wild steelhead full of energy in the 6-8 pound range.
Thanks guys, I'm extremely appreciative of all the comments. I feel I'm learning quite a bit from this, I hope others are as well.
I would go on youtube and watch experienced/pro steelheaders land fish. And pay attention to how long it takes in the videos. It would be nearly impossible for me to accuratley put a time on it, as I'm totally lost to the world as soon as I know I have a steelhead on. I've never timed it, but probably not more than a couple mins--5 on the low end and 10 on the high end. I would bet money that people often overestimate how long a fight is. But that's just an educated guess, others may disagree, or have other experiences.
As for the Cabelas rods, they're surprisingly nice and it won't break your heart when it's collecting dust (as my heavy single hand rods are).
I've never timed it but my guess would be about the same as Derek's.
This question always comes up. I have caught steelhead on my 4 wt. LL "by accident" and was able to successfully revive the fish. That being said, my rod of choice in almost all situations, save trout fishing, is an 8 wt. for all of the reasons mentioned before. I'm not proud of any fish I kill unless that is the initial intention as in the case of salmon when I want one for the BBQ or the smoker. I haven't kept a trout in nearly 30 years. When I fish in Mexico, I take 12 and 14 wt. rods for the big fish. I adjust the rod weight to the fish I'm seeking but most often, I start with the 8 wt. I own two, one for the salt and one for fresh water.