5wt on a coastal stream

Kyle Smith

DBA BozoKlown406
Howdy everybody. I will be visiting my parents in Greys Harbor over xmas, and I hope to be able to fish while I'm out there. My only problem is that my heaviest rod is a 5wt (a Loop that fishes more like a 6) paired with a beasty 6wt reel.
I'm hoping to fish a certain coastal stream (not a large river) south of there known for its sea runs, but there's always the possibility of hooking a steelhead or silver. Does this sound silly on a 5wt?

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
Kyle, I haven't been fishing the rivers lately (been surfing and hucking bait for surf perch), but I still plan to hit 'em a few times this season. I live about 6 miles south of Westport, and I have fished the local streams a bit over the years. There should be some searun cutts here and there, and some hatchery steel can usually be found around here by the 15th, if you know where to look.
My 8 wt reel is a joke, and my 8 wt versa-tip mainline is completely trashed, and so I haven't been fly fishing for salmon or steel this year. (Spent any potential ff$ on rebuilding my quiver of surfboards, since i ain't getting any younger, and more fly fear can come later, when I can no longer surf).

I'm nearly in the same fix as you, except that I have a sweet 9'9" 6wt Fenwick Iron Feather that is strong enuff to deal with the 6 to 12 lb hatchery steelhead in the smaller streams. If I fish here for steel, I'll be rigged for nymphing egg patterns and jigs, since there isn't much swinging water in the smaller streams here. A certain small stream I sometimes like to fish for steelhead is extremely brushy and tree-canopied, and I usually walk in to fish only one short series of holes where they seem to hold. It fishes best when coming off of high muddy water, when the visibility starts to improve. You'll need to roll cast (or cast backwards, looking up at the hole in the trees where your back cast must go) an indicator set-up at that spot. Any cutts around usually are in a biting mood, and will hit an egg pattern or small jig. I find hungry post-spawn cutts if I go there in Jan and Feb.

I didn't even fish it last year. To be honest, I'm a bit off my game. I haven't hiked in to fish for cutts yet, since they left the estuaries and upper tidewater pools that I was accessing via paddling. That's partially due to "falling off the wagon and back into my surfing addiction." To be sure, zombie surfers attempting a clawback from the grave aren't pretty to watch, but i have my fun.
If you want some company when you go fishing, shoot me a pm.
Kyle it's not your rod that's critical, it's your terminal tackle. I've caught hot 10lb silvers on the beach with a 6wt cause it was all I had at the time. Even though I was undergunned rod wise, it worked just fine. Match your leader and tippet to the fish you're after and you'll do just fine.


Degenerate Caster
I hope you hook a hot 20+ pounder and get hosed.
I've hooked and landed steelhead on a stout 5 wt- with stronger hooks and 6 to 8 maxima you can put a fair bit of pressure on em.
Optimal. no but doable

Old Man

Just an Old Man
I played around with a big Chum on the Skagit with a 5wt. I had a 10 lb tippet and it didn't break. I had it on for about 20 minutes The rod was bent double several times but nothing went wrong with anything. I got it in next to the bank and was getting ready to take the hook out when it came out on it's own. It was a blast as long as it was on.


Sculpin Enterprises
Kyle, it depends on the location of the fight. If you have a nice clear stretch with reasonable current, you can catch steelies and coho on a 5 wt. I landed two hatchery steelhead on the Cowlitz this fall while fishing for searuns there. The fight in both cases was back and forth; I might be concerned at overplaying a wild steelie or coho with the lighter rod. But, if there is a downstream rapid or a brush pile that the fish could swim into, you won't have the backbone to stop the fish.


Kyle Smith

DBA BozoKlown406
I'm definitely concerned about overplaying wild fish. Though the thought of intentionally breaking off a fish makes me cringe, it seems the ethical thing to do when it's just not going to happen. All this assuming I'm getting into big fish feels like bad luck.
Thanks everybody!


Active Member
Just do it! ...... Nike 8 weight 4 piece coming out soon with new nano resin and IM12 Technology..soon! OK never mind....Just do it any ways ...with what you have!

I know some guys who do a little fun fishing with some "Snoopy" rods on the Bogachiel river in December. Weather permitting....... I guess it is a hoot to hook one on one of those rod and reel combos.... Maybe on the light side but it works......

Jon Brengan

flyfishing addict
Fishing is fishing...for years I fished with my only rod, a cheapy 6 wt. coupled with a crap reel. I caught more steel and salmon with that setup than I have with my current setup. Yeah I broke 'em off too, but I landed a crapload of fish too. I say bring the rod, fish some here and enjoy the time on the water. Yeah it'd be a gas to hook a huge fresh fish, just up from tidewater, but your 6 wt. will do in a pinch. Just make sure you've got a bunch of good backing on the reel and you'll most likely be alright. There's a lot of naysayers on here that will say "it'll never work" but some of us locals know that we all fished with crap for years before we actually got some decent gear. I say "go for it", enjoy the day!!

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