Steelhead fly rod what weight?


Active Member
a 9' 8wt was and is my go to rod, summer or winter. an exception is fishing the Deschutes in OR with constant winds. then i switch to my 7100 which was originally designed by Sage for this specific river. also turns out to be a great bonefish rod on Christmas island. fishing the Sol Duc is a place to consider changing over to a spey rod because of the overhang and brushy banks, another exception.


Active Member
What weight single handed fly rod would I need for steelhead? Any advice? Thank you.
Mostly depends on what kind of flies you want to toss at them and if you're fishing summer or winter. If you're going to be using traditional flies, dries and/or fishing on the east side of the mountains a strong 6 or 7 that can pull a sink tip when needed will be fine. If you're wanting to throw big flies and heavy tips, you'll want a 9 weight. If you're wanting one rod to rule them all, I'd start with an 8 and branch out from there. Good news is, the fish can't tell what rod or line weight you're using, so as long as you've got a tool that can get the fly out there you'll be in good shape.

Old Man

A very Old Man
WFF Supporter
I have a 9'6" 8wt. Well it's really 9'3" now. It got tangled in a tree on the N/F Stilly and the top 3" broke off. But it still casts alright. I fished the hell out of it in the winter time. Since I have moved to Montana it just sits in the dark waiting.


Go Beavs
I think a 9 foot 8 weight will cover a lot of bases, from steelhead to jetty fishing to surf perch to...? that would be my suggestion.


Active Member
My favorite single handed rod is an 8wt SLT (890-4) but that is only for dry lines and either grease lined or skating flies.
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Well-Known Member
WFF Supporter
Need is barely one of the criteria for choosing steelhead gear. Given the general lack of abundance of steelhead, you don't really need any rod at all. If you want to fish for steelhead, whether they are present or not, either a 7, 8, or 9 weight rod will do the job of casting suitable lines and presenting the fly. If winter steelheading is part of your intention, a 7 weight is definitely on the light side, considering the size of flies you may want to cast. I have used all 3 of the above weight rods for both summer and winter steelhead fishing, but it didn't take many years of experience to settle on preferring an 8 weight in 9 or 9 1/2' length for winter fishing and a 7 weight in 9' length for summer fishing where I would generally fish a floating line or maybe light sink tip. The greater question is why you would want to take up steelhead fishing, unless you just haven't had enough disappointment in your life.

wetline dave

Active Member
Salmo g I agree with you why worry about a rod. The fish numbers for the most part are rare encounters. So use a rod to practice your trout swing in the winter and you may be blessed with a bull trout or just maybe a mythical steel head. The key word here is maybe.


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