Why Register?Signing up could earn you gear (click here to learn how)! It also keeps offensive content off our site.
Welcome to Field & Stream!
Question by Alex Pernice th.... Uploaded on January 19, 2009
Depends on the size of the steel head and the size of the fly. usually big fish= big flies.
If it is a big fish that I am after, sometimes I don't use a leader and tippet, i just use 6 lb. fluorocarbon.
I agree with Charley. Straight fluoro will get it done, but fluoro is a must. Stay away from mono leaders.
Like joe said, dont use mono leaders and flouro will work fine.
Depending on the water conditions you may be better off using fluorocarbon as stated above. When the water is low you want your leader as invisible as possible, but you also want your drift to be extremely natural in which case a tippet may be required so there is not so much drag. If the water is high, just use the fluorocarbon, you can't beat it.
I buy a large spool of 6lb floro at wal-mart. Saves a lot of money and last forever.
I agree 100% on flouro. I usually use 6# also, but depending on the color of the water, I have used a little heavier.
Flourocarbon is the only way to go. I lived in CO for awhile and the water was usually pretty clear. The fish were very line shy. What sold me on it was fishing up by Steamboat Springs one time and all I had was mono. Couldn't get a bite. Drove into town and told the Orvis dealer what was happening and he handed me my first spool of it. Drove back to the same hole I was fishing and caught a trout on my first cast and continued to catch fish the rest of the day.
Don't leave home without it.
Flurocarbon is a must. There are some different brands that can give you a littler diameter but be a heavier pound test. I have started using Rio Fluro Flex. Their 8.5 lb has a smaller diameter than most brands 6 lb test. The downfall is that it cost more. Another thing I am giving a try is to use around 2 to 3 foot mono leader then tie a very small ball bearing swivel then tie a smaller length of florocarbon. It saves on floro and doesnt seem to effect the fishing.
I would use straight 8lb. test flouro.
The techniques employed for steelhead can be varied. The way to ensure success with steelhead is to be able to cover a lot of water in a day's fishing. Being able to minimize casting fatigue can be a real factor. The anglers who have the most endurance have an advantage. Good casting skills burn less energy than poor casting skills. A light weight powerful rod that casts smoothly at all ranges is essential.
Nine foot rods are most popular when fishing steelhead or salmon from a boat. When it comes to single-hand fly rods, nine and one half and ten foot models are most popular when wading for steelhead. That is because the average steelheader wades deeper than does most trout or bonefish anglers. As an angler wades deeper the window between the rod tip and the water surface narrows. This leaves less room in which to perform both back casts and forward casts. The longer the rod, the more it elevates the casting plane above the water, which opens the casting window.
Often vegetation on stream banks leaves little room for an aerosolized back cast, so roll casts and spey casts are necessary to be able to place the fly in the proper fishing attitude. Spey casts and roll casts are subject to all the same limiting factors as aerosolized back casts. Deep wading very much limits the margin for error in in forming a D-loop behind you. That is why spey rods tend to be over 12-feet long.
A new classification, called "switch rods" bridge the gap between spey rods and single-hand rods. They may be fished with one or two hands. Switch rods are normally 11-feet long. Steelheading is a game of long casts while wading in moving water. A longer rod enables more line control after the cast has been made. Controlling the fly is always of utmost importance.
Your fly rod should balanced with the average sizes and weights of flies you are throwing. We have found that eight weight rods are most practical for the widest range of conditions.
Seven weight rods are nice for small streams or even larger rivers on calm summer days. A long, light rod is nice for fishing floating lines and small wets or waking flies. Nine weight rods are an advantage on large windy rivers or when runs of larger than average fish are expected. Larger flies are more comfortable to cast with larger equipment.
A nine weight might be a better choice when fishing British Columbia rivers. On the average, multi-piece travel rods cast as well as their two piece counterparts, and they are easier to transport.
On our local rivers, which have un-manicured banks, being able to roll cast long distances is a huge advantage. Two handed fly rods of up to fifteen feet long are the most efficient on rivers where the average cast is over fifty feet. Many local anglers have adopted the change of direction roll casting called spey casting. The two-handed concept of fly casting is very old. It is recorded in writings from early bronze-age China and figures prominently in English fly fishing literature from 500 years ago.
It only gained wide spread favor on American Salmon & Steelhead streams beginning about 1980. Since then it has revolutionized the way large rivers in North America are fished. Now fly fishing for steelhead is truly practical year round on larger rivers. Two handed fly rods work well with a wide variety of fly lines. As a matter of fact, changeable tip fly lines for two-hand rods have changed the sport of fly fishing for steelhead as much as the adoption of the two-hand rods themselves.
"Two-handers" take the labor out of fishing with sinking tip lines. Sinking tip lines are usually more productive than floating lines in fishing periods with cold water or bright sunlight.
When encountering steelhead, the reel becomes much more than a place to store the line. The reel may have to feed and retrieve long yardage's of backing. Precise, smooth, low-inertia drag-systems really pay for themselves. Reels with waterproof drag systems are best. You will probably never use over 5 pounds of drag pressure when playing steelhead. Three to four pounds of drag pressure is most common.
Smooth operation and being totally reliable are the two most important factors when choosing a reel. The reel as a component is the greatest factor which determines the difference between victory and defeat when encountering really large fish.
Steelhead reels should hold a fly line and 150 yd. of backing. Sealed ball bearings take less maintenance than bronze bushings. Disk drags are proven. Anodizing outlasts any kind of coating. Machined frames are stronger and more durable than castings. The less moving parts the better. The fewest total parts the better. Drags have to work smoothly when wet. Don't hesitate to call for advice: 1 (800) 266-3971.
Because of the variety of river conditions one may encounter, each angler using a single handed rod should be equipped with a double taper or steelhead taper floating fly line, a ten foot sinking tip fly line, and a T-200 Jim Teeny fly line (or equivalent). Highly visible colors are best for floating fly lines on big water. Neutral color lines are essential for low, clear water.
Changeable tip fly lines such as the Rio VersiTip are very popular and eliminate the need of carrying extra reel spools. Anglers using two-handed fly rods might consider carrying a full floating line and a changeable-tip line type system. A changeable tip spey line such as the Rio WindCutter and Skagit are recommended as your primary line.
However, a full floating line that does not have loops is smoother when casting flies that are meant to be fished on or near the surface. For floating line fishing during windless days a longer belly line such as a Rio MidSpey can provide advantages for casters that are tuned to them.
Fieldandstream.com is part of the Field & Stream Network, a division of Bonnier Corporation.
Copyright © 2012 Bonnier Corp. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.