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steelhead setups

Joined:
2013/2/4 17:48
From SW PA
Posts: 33
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Dont no a whole lot about it but i want to try the winter steelhead fishing up in erie since the only fly rod i own is an 8' 6" 5 wt i figure i need a setup for steelhead i mainly nymph with an indicator and i like to feel a fight but i want to be able to have control of the fish would a 7 wt be good? i did some research but i just dont no what im looking at thank for the help
adam

Posted on: 2013/6/16 19:38


Re: steelhead setups
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2006/9/9 9:29
From Monessen, PA
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7 weight is ideal, I think, but not necessary. You can get by with a 5 weight, but controlling the fish will be a strain at times. If you have a good day, your wrist and forearm may pay a price.

Posted on: 2013/6/17 7:58
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Re: steelhead setups
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Quote:

JackM wrote:
7 weight is ideal, I think, but not necessary. You can get by with a 5 weight, but controlling the fish will be a strain at times. If you have a good day, your wrist and forearm may pay a price.


I agree with Jack, above. Your 5wt will work. Make a trip or two and find out what it's all about before buying a steelhead outfit. Save your money for now, learn a little about the game and buy a decent outfit that works well for you in the near future.

Posted on: 2013/6/17 8:50


Re: steelhead setups

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2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
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Yeah, a 5 wt will do it. The downfall is putting enough pressure on the fish, and thus landing them quickly. I concur with others about using what you got to give it a shot before spending the money. If you find you enjoy it, and are gonna make a lot of trips, THEN buy the proper outfit.

1. I'd say a 7 wt is perfect. 8's a little much, 6 is still a little light, but either would be ok.
2. Longer is better. Streams are generally WIDE open, so not much concern about casting in tight places. The fish are extremely drag shy, so the extra length helps keep line off of the water and get a better drift. 10 or 10 1/2 footers are ideal.
3. A soft tip helps protect tippets from fish that WILL break them.
4. Flouro is generally recommended due to abrasion resistance, as teeth are sharp. However, there's no stretch, which is bad for tippet protection. I generally build mono butts and tapers with flouro tippets.
5. Unlike regular trout fishing, the reel is much more than a place to store line. Smooth drags, with stopping power, are a big advantage. As is a large arbor that allows you to pick up line quickly should a fish run at you (you don't want slack line!).

Other than the equipment above, I'd tell you steelhead fishing is all about TIMING. Fishing the right stream at the right time. Fresh and active fish hit, and old fish are tough. In the right seasons, a fresh run comes in every time the water comes up. So being there as it becomes fishable is the key to success. Every stream becomes fishable in a different time period after a rain event. So wait for rain, go up in the days afterwards, and know which streams are still too high, which are already too low, and which are "just right". Stay away from the mouths, where the crowds are nuts. Be willing to walk and explore. And be willing to fish water that's too deep or fast to see the fish. It's easy to set up on a slow pool where 50 steelhead are visible on the bottom, but those aren't likely to be the active fish.

Posted on: 2013/6/17 9:30


Re: steelhead setups

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2007/5/21 20:17
From reading/susq. co. native
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Great advice from pcray! Especially the parts about timing and fishing fast and deep, most of my hook-ups come from where I can't see the fish.
I used my 5wt the first couple times I went out and it gets a little tricky but still manageable. Now I use a 11' 7wt switch, mostly for the extra length advantages.

Posted on: 2013/6/17 10:33


Re: steelhead setups

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2006/10/18 15:46
From Patterson twp, Pa (Beaver Falls)
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ahh... the first steelhead thread of the year. I can't wait already.
(unfortunately with the next kid on the way, I'm already anticipating a lack of fishing it)

Good advise so far. I moved from a 9' to a 10' rod last year and will never look back. It was easier to mend line and had a longer reach for high sticking.

Erie's fish are typically in the 5-8lb range. A 6 or 7wt is just fine there. If you're headed to the Salmon River in NY, then I'd at least go with a 7 as the steelhead are bigger, but you also have ths salmon up there. You won't be casting this rod, it's a chuck and duck game with steelhead. The lighter the rod, the easier on your arm all day, but don't spend an arm and a leg for a rod that you don't ever need to really cast.

For a reel, you want a good drag system. If you're planning on heading up in below freezing temperatures, you can check out some sealed drag systems, but they're not completely necessary. Most fishing is done in October and November for most people. I'd spend more money on a reel, than a rod for steelhead, which can be opposite in trout fishing.

Be prepared with lots of flies and a good amount of split shot. Not the tiny flyfishing split shot, but the regular spin casting stuff with the tabs to remove it. You can lose a lot of flies, and a lot of split shot in a single day up there. That's usually a good thing. Snaping off fish and snags on the bottom are pretty common.

Good steelhead patterns are eggs (glo bugs, sucker spawn, estaz), wooly buggers, other streamers like zonkers, and basic nymphs will get you by all season long. Keep it simple. Sometimes it's color for a certain day, and other times it's just hitting them in the feeding lanes.

We do a steelhead JAM every year and it's a good place to learn from some experienced anglers and learn your way around up there too. I usually organize it but may have to pass that on to someone else this year as I may not make it.

Keep asking questions though.


Ryan

Posted on: 2013/6/17 12:55
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Re: steelhead setups

Joined:
2013/2/4 17:48
From SW PA
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thanks for the great advice guys ill most likely stick with my five weight to get my feet wet but i may upgrade my reel because im just not confident in the drag what i have is my only fly set up because i just started fly fishing in the last year so im still working with a 100 dollar rod and reel combo not that spending more money is always the answer lol so other than the bright color stuff what kind of "buggy" looking flies are productive?
thanks
adam

Posted on: 2013/6/17 19:10


Re: steelhead setups

Joined:
2013/2/4 17:48
From SW PA
Posts: 33
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also when/where is the jam?

Posted on: 2013/6/17 19:37


Re: steelhead setups

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2006/9/9 16:08
From Erie Co.
Posts: 489
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a five weight will work fine. the first fly rod I used for about 5 years was an inexpensive pflueger 8.5" 5 wt with a rim fly reel. Had to palm the reel for drag and use the rod to land the fish. I have to disagree with the longer length rods as you will not be able to net your fish but will have to drag them to the bank to land them and remove your hook.
Best advise I will give you don't spend more than $200 for the rod because the shale, lead and fish will beat it up.

Posted on: 2013/6/17 22:51


Re: steelhead setups

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A 10' 7 wt rod is ideal for indicator fishing for steelhead. A large arbor reel with a good sealed drag would be best. Line it with a 7 wt indicator line or salmon/steelhead line.

Posted on: 2013/6/18 6:46


Re: steelhead setups

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Quote:
so other than the bright color stuff what kind of "buggy" looking flies are productive?


You can catch the ultra-aggressive ones on streamers, buggers and the like. That situation is somewhat rare.

The bright stuff is the staple. Darker, more opague colors like red when the water is colored up some. Back off to whites and pastels as it clears up. At least that's the general rule (what you try first). The reality is that you switch colors often and all day long. It's typical to throw one color and get a hit or two, before they turn off. Then change colors and another hit or two.... And sometimes, an oddball color, like blue or purple, is actually the ticket.

Have nymphs. Small stonefly nymphs are used often. Hare's ears and pheasant tails work. They're trout. Generally I only resort to nymphs in non-ideal situations, when the water is lower than I'd like and the fish are skittish. There are days when it completely changes the complexion of the day. Those fish have seen meat, eggs, and egg imitations over and over and over, and the pod literally parts like the red sea as your offering drifts down through em. But nymphs, apparantly not so intimidating, and sometimes those same fish will inhale a well presented nymph.

Posted on: 2013/6/18 7:50


Re: steelhead setups

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Gear:
Yep, I agree with everyone. My first year I used a 5wt exclusively. Caught plenty of 5-10lb fish without a problem. I purchased a 10' 7wt last year. While I think catching big fish on a 5wt is a thrill in itself, the bigger rod is just more productive. I could care less about breaking strength, because its a very rare day that im fishing heavier than 3x on the tribs. The true advantage of the 10' 7wt over the 9' 5wt is drift(obviously), but without a doubt casting. No false casting a heavy tandem+indicator rig on the 5wt, just pick the line up and put it back down with the 7wt. I have SA's indicator line on my 7wt. Big fan.

Flies:
Yeah, pcray's advice is standard stuff. I dont find them to be particularly picky. Its more about positioning yourself in a solid holding lie to fish over unmolested fish. A good example of this is the cascade pool on Elk. They jam up like crazy at the tail of that pool, and if you are 50' upstream of their holding lie, your fly is never getting close to the fish. Guys will pound them all day and be within spitting distance of you, while you get maybe one stray. Timing and positioning over flies.

Posted on: 2013/6/18 10:20


Re: steelhead setups

Joined:
2012/10/24 19:22
From Da 'Berg, PA
Posts: 1438
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Personally, I'd try to find a friend to borrow a 7wt rod n reel and try it first.

Then if you like the style of fishing invest in some quality 2nd hand gear off speypages, stripersonline or here ( or eBay) . I agree with $200 reel price target, and maybe $150 (used) for an old Sage, TFO, Redington or T&T rod with a medium action in 10.5 or 11ft.

The reason I say borrow before you buy is because a few people don't like it - it can be crowded, cold and monotonous.

It can also be wild, peaceful and exhilarating - sometimes after cold blank days....

Andronomous fishing is my zen, but it's not for everyone hence the dozens of bargains out there online !


Posted on: 2013/6/18 19:47
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Re: steelhead setups

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2009/5/29 6:40
From harlansburg
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FWIW, my steelhead setup is a used true temper 7/8 wt glass rod from a flea market paired with an old medalist, also from a flea market, been using that combo for years, works great on the erie tribs.

like said above you don't need to spend a ton of money to catch steelhead.

Posted on: 2013/6/18 21:48


Re: steelhead setups

Joined:
2006/10/18 15:46
From Patterson twp, Pa (Beaver Falls)
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Quote:

bikerfish wrote:

like said above you don't need to spend a ton of money to catch steelhead.


You apparently haven't seen Hank Patterson's newest episode...


Steelhead fishing is addictive, but not for everyone. Most of your fishing is nymphing, but others swing streamers. Be prepared after you go up the first time and get skunked, to do whatever you can to go up and do it again!

Posted on: 2013/6/21 8:46
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