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Can anyone give me some suggestions from leader material to low water fly selection that I should have for the Skagit (Marblemount sp. to Rockport)? Sinking head line, or floating? Thank you for any advice, and previous advice given...it is great to be able to tap the minds of experts! :THUMBSUP
 

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Hi Andrew,

First, I am by no means an expert, but I can tell you some of the principles that I've learned about low-water flies (mostly from guides and other, more experienced people):

(1) The water is probably too low for a sink tip right now. You'll hang up everwhere. Use a floating line and a longish leader.

(2) Leaders: Use a leader that is at least as long as your rod - especially if the water is ultra-clear. The murkier the water, the shorter the leader requirement.

One can buy commercial tapered leaders. For low-water flies in ultraclear water I use Rio 9 ft leaders tapered to 8 lb. To that I tie on another 3 ft 6 or 8 lb test tippet.

I also tie my own leaders, especially when I'm throwing heavy flies. The commercial leaders I referred to above, stiff tho' they are, just do not turn over a large, heavy-hooked fly very nicely. See http://www.speyshop.com for a link on how to tie your own leaders.

(2) Fly selection: A general rule of thumb that I've used is that the bulk and transparency of the fly should be proportional to the water clarity. For ultra-clear water, I use patterns that are little more than a hook with some bright thread/floss and little hair/hackle. When water visibility is degraded, for example less than 3 ft, I use more heavily dressed flies (e.g. spun marabou).

(3) For Steelhead, you'll want to use fairly heavy tippet (6 to 8 lb is common). But, if you hook into a chum, the 8 lb probably won't cut it.

Hope this helps. Please understand that there are as many approaches to line/fly configuration as there are members on this board. Try 'em all.

Cheers,

Michael
 

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This is for steelhead I assume. I've caught over a dozen steelies in the last month with no more than 18" of leader off a sinking tip. This is also has been in very low clear water. I use the maxima ultragreen 12lb with big marabou tubeflies.
 
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