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Swinging for Pennsylvania Steelhead.

Joined:
2012/2/3 16:30
From Clarion co.
Posts: 258
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Ok, I have been an avid steelheader for ten years or so, but I have always been a dead drifter. Lately I have been semi-seriously considering doing some swinging and i don't mean little nymphs and midges I was thinking big #4-6 bright wet flys like those used in the northwest. Before i tie a bunch I wanted to see if any of you guys have tried that style of fishing and what was the outcome?

Posted on: 2012/12/11 8:47


Re: Swinging for Pennsylvania Steelhead.

Joined:
2006/9/13 22:36
From Tioga co. formerly of bucks co.
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99% of my steelie fishin in NY is swinging. I don't go to the erie area so I can't say for sure, but if the water is big enough then swing they'll take the fly..

Posted on: 2012/12/11 9:14
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Re: Swinging for Pennsylvania Steelhead.

Joined:
2010/2/15 19:09
From Ohio
Posts: 734
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In Erie, you're probably limited to Elk when its high and off color. Swinging big flies is not very effective when the water has cleared. Try the Grand River in OH or the Catt in NY, that's good swinging water. This is not a method to fish for numbers. It's a searching method for big water.

Posted on: 2012/12/11 9:28


Re: Swinging for Pennsylvania Steelhead.

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2012/2/3 16:30
From Clarion co.
Posts: 258
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Yea, I figured Elk creek and Conneaut would be the only two in Pa.

Posted on: 2012/12/11 10:03
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Re: Swinging for Pennsylvania Steelhead.

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2006/9/11 11:30
Posts: 580
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Swinging smaller flies can be effective too, especially when the water gets lower and clearer. I usually use 8s and 10s and know some successful fishermen that go down to 14's. Some of the best flies I have seen are simple soft hackles. A light hackle with a bright red or chartreuse body or a copper body and a black hen hackle for subtle days are small fly options. Some basic salmon flies like Blue Charms and Undertakers seem to work well. BTW, when I first went to Newfoundland for Atlantic salmon fishing I tied up mostly 6s and 8s with some 4s and 10s thrown in for good measure. My guide was shocked at the huge flies I had brought - they mostly used 10s and 12s and caught big salmon.

For me swinging flies is a way to search for big water, but the best steelheader I know swings flies in front of known lies - like certain rocks at the tails of pools or seams- and mends to let them hang a bit. He catches way more than his fair share and I can't duplicate his success. But swinging can be a more focused way to target steelies. However, it takes more skill to steer a fly to a fish and I can rarely do it. I have had my best luck targeting undercut banks on smaller streams. Cast down and across to an undercut, let the fly sink and mend to keep the fly in a sweet spot. Let off line to let the fly drop back a few feet and mend to keep it against the bank. Can cover a long section of undercut this way. Can do something similar to swing a fly under a tree. It was something I learned decades ago from smallie fishermen, and it is the one swinging technique that works for me, probably since I am comfortable doing it.

The one time big flies are an unqualified pattern for me is for the spring drop backs. Those fish are hungry and want a big meal.

Posted on: 2012/12/11 10:15


Re: Swinging for Pennsylvania Steelhead.

Joined:
2006/9/13 10:18
From LV
Posts: 7536
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My buddy has caught steelhead on brassies so small flies do work. I've always used streamers for steelhead both in NY and out west. But those rivers are much large then what you have in Erie. I do believe with the right size fly you'll do fine with streamers.

Posted on: 2012/12/11 10:19
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Re: Swinging for Pennsylvania Steelhead.

Joined:
2009/2/11 13:14
From Lehigh Valley
Posts: 1269
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Corn,
Size 4,6 will work, even better before the late november an now. I would tie em on #10 and #12's salmon irons
Whole thing for swinging is line control and fly presentation. Believe me the take is addictive.

Posted on: 2012/12/11 14:09


Re: Swinging for Pennsylvania Steelhead.

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2006/9/10 12:21
Posts: 44
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Gang, for the un-initated, what does "swinging" mean as far as technique goes? How is it different from dead drifting?

Posted on: 2012/12/11 16:27


Re: Swinging for Pennsylvania Steelhead.

Joined:
2012/2/3 16:30
From Clarion co.
Posts: 258
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Well I was speaking of the down and across swing. Stand in the water cast down stream at a 45 degree angle, mend your line and let the current "swing" your fly across the water until it is directly below you, let it hang for a few seconds. take two steps down stream and repeat. You are searching the water.

Posted on: 2012/12/11 16:57
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Re: Swinging for Pennsylvania Steelhead.

Joined:
2012/2/3 16:30
From Clarion co.
Posts: 258
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Dead drifting is just tossing your fly up stream and letting the current bring it down stream. just like a dead body floating down stream, hence "dead" drift.

Posted on: 2012/12/11 17:13
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Re: Swinging for Pennsylvania Steelhead.

Joined:
2011/5/9 15:37
From Ohio
Posts: 1094
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I caught a couple on the swing this year, but I wasn't making any long fancy spey casts or anything. Just kinda let my bugger swing across the current at the end of the run and the fish just happened to take it. The take is pretty addictive. Now I do swing flies all the time for stocked trout and bass.

I have been looking into some switch rods lately though, especially for the OH tribs. There goes another $500 lol

Posted on: 2012/12/11 17:26


Re: Swinging for Pennsylvania Steelhead.

Joined:
2009/5/29 6:40
From harlansburg
Posts: 4423
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I swing for steelies if conditions are good for it. like said above, slightly higher water. no need for a special rod or anything, and you can swing lots of different flys, not just traditional wets, in fact, those big and loud northwest steelie flies might not work on our stupid hatchery steelies, heck, last week I had some takes on egg paterns I left hang at the end of a drift.
swinging wets will also work on smaller streams, I swing wets on brookie streams all the time, usually working my way back downstream after using dry flies upstream, casting down and across riffle areas, it's surprising where you'll find fish using that method.

Posted on: 2012/12/11 17:34


Re: Swinging for Pennsylvania Steelhead.

Joined:
2012/2/3 16:30
From Clarion co.
Posts: 258
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That is a pretty good point biker. You never know what the hell to expect from these fake steelhead.

Posted on: 2012/12/11 18:58
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Re: Swinging for Pennsylvania Steelhead.

Joined:
2010/1/2 15:17
From PA and NH
Posts: 713
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My limited time spent steelhead fishing was all swinging, stonefly and other nymphs and small, size12 and14. It brought them right up at the end of the drift.

Posted on: 2012/12/11 19:20


Re: Swinging for Pennsylvania Steelhead.

Joined:
2006/9/9 11:22
From New Castle, PA
Posts: 1619
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For the Erie tribs you are doing nothing different than you would for swinging wets and streamers for trout. Having enough water to need or even effectively use switch or spey gear, or any specialized gear for that matter, is rare in PA.

On the other hand I would not want to swing flies without a two-hand rig and appropriate line and sink tips on most Ohio tribs.

Kev

Posted on: 2012/12/11 19:28



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