Small Stream Rod Selection [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Small Stream Rod Selection

10-10-2001, 07:00 PM
Ok, now that I am completing my first season flyfishing and have a decent 5WT, I find myself already thinking about my second rod. I seem to be really enjoying small streams and trying to determine what would be best for me. Some questions:

1) Some have advised getting a line weight 2 down from the 5 wt and others 3 down (a 2 or 3 wt). It certainly makes sense to get at least a 3 (as opposed to a 4 wt) but, how does one decide which?

2) And about length - the 8'9" 5 wt definitely gets in the way at times with limbs, etc. Are there any guidelines for determining just how short to go?

Any suggestions based on your experience will be most appreciated.



10-11-2001, 07:01 AM
I fish alot of small streams and use a6'6'' 2weight,iuse a weight foward line on it to be able to cast under branchs and to load it a little better with less line out.It won't throw big flies but for fishing dries,it works great. you can downsize buggers and stuff like that ,size 10's and smaller.Hope this helps you

10-11-2001, 07:21 AM
I have a Diamondback All-American 6'6", 3wt. loaded with a 3/4 Teeny WF floating line and love it for small stream applications.
Dave Williams

Dble Haul
10-11-2001, 07:55 AM
Flyman- I have a 7' 3 weight, a Cabela's Greenwood. It's great for small waters, and delicate presentations are easy. I use a WF floating 3 weight line for ease of loading the rod with minimal line out on the water. If I need a shorter rod to get in under some canopies, I simply choke up a little bit on the rod ahead of the reel (kind of like choking up on a baseball bat).

Good luck in your search.


John Desjardins
10-11-2001, 09:30 AM
I see two possible ways to go on selecting a rod for a small stream. Use the standard 8.5-9' rod and dap the fly in most places, or use a short rod. My personal preference is to use the short rod.

I currently use an old 7' 4 wt Pflueger Medalist rod with a 5 wt line for the small streams. This will be retired (given to my son) when I get around to building the 6'6" Lamiglass 3 wt, I have all the parts for.

One of the tricks I have found usefull in small treams is to keep the leader as short as reasonable. If your casting at a spot 15 -20' away its almost impossible to make a reasonable cast with 10-12'leader. Cut the leader down to 7' and you have a lot more line out of the rod tip to cast.

John Desjardins
10-11-2001, 11:03 AM
Oops, I only answered 1 of your questions. I would go with a lighter line to allow a more delicate presentation on the close casts. When you are close to a fish it is easy to scare them, and you need to be a predator (like a cat) to be successful, IMHO. Going with a lighter outfit gives you the option of having a lighter outfit for fishing midges.

10-11-2001, 07:16 PM
Look for a rod that loads easily with very little line out of the tip. I don't usually over line a rod, but for fishing inside of 20', this isn't a bad idea. I also find that fish in smaller streams like to see a big fly(a #12 Humpy)and a 2 weight doesn't usually have enough mustard.
Rod length depends on the streams and your style. I like a 7'3" #3 with a Wulf triangle taper #3/4 with 20" cut off the tip. I also like a 7' #4 bamboo rod on small streams.

10-11-2001, 07:46 PM
Last fall I fished a small stream with a Sage LL 7' something 3 wt with a DT floater... what a pleasure for someone who often considers an 8wt 'light'. I also caught two trout that afternoon, and the fight on light gear made the experience that much better.

Most of the casts were roll casts in tight quarters, and that also added to the pleasure of the day.

10-11-2001, 10:52 PM
I went from a 5wt. to a 1wt.
I have the Orvis Silver Label One Weight (WF1F), what a dream to use. It almost cast itself. I can cast nymphs up to size-8 and small streamers with it without too much trouble. I went back to my 5-weight and it seemed like I was casting a coax cable, what a contrast to the one weight.
I only wished I bought it ten years earlier, its a wonderful flyrod.

10-12-2001, 08:17 AM
While we are talking small streams: Joe Humphries has a wonderful video on small stream fishing. Seeing the guy crawling through the brush, uncorking a 20' bow and arrow cast, loseing the fly in a bush, and then landing a 6" wild brookie is the definition of "The Love".

John Desjardins
10-12-2001, 09:57 AM
I've always stuck with a WF floater for my small stream rod while some of you are using a double taper or triangle taper. Needing to get a new 3 wt line for this purpose I was wondering if you could you talk about the pluses & minuses of those lines?

10-12-2001, 10:49 AM
I am no trout expert as trout experts go, but I bought the DT from my experiences with them learning how to Spey cast years ago. The DT (as you know) is a solid belly with tapers on both ends. The back taper is only used if you decide to turn the line around and use the back end when the front gets beat up, cracked, etc. You never see it till then because you really can't cast the whole line with a DT matched for a given rod.

Since the concept of casting is based on energy transfer from heavier grains and larger diameter to lighter and thinner, the DT is a simpler tool for casting in the general sense. This also applies to mends, which are the other advantage of DT lines.

But if you want to cast *far* the WF is the tool to use. It permits a pendulum effect, where the condensed weight of the weight-forward head portion can be put outside the guides and the thinner running line "shot" for greater distances.

The WF has a back taper 30 or so feet from the tip so it's possible to aerialize the 'head' and shoot the running line to get long casts. This is important in big rivers and lakes, not so important in small creeks. The DT can't shoot diddly!

Once you get the whole head out of the guides with a weight forward, it's really tough to roll cast - whereas the same length with a DT will roll cast easily. I bought the DT knowing I would be roll casting a lot in the Nissitissit, etc.

When Spey casting the DT is so forgiving it lets you get away with a wide range of strokes, even bad ones. You can mend over a huge distance effortlessly with the long Spey rods and a DT.

A long belly Spey line will get you reaching a lot further once you find the stroke it needs, but if you have the wrong length of line out of the guides or don't "hit" the Spey stroke you can forget about a good cast. Once you figure out how to cast a Spey line in the weight-forward style (Rio Accelerator or Windcutter or SA Spey taper or 444 Spey, etc) you will get much greater distances out of the Spey stroke. Well worth the effort to figure it out. In the end the WF style Spey lines are the better all-around solution to the big western steelhead river puzzle hence their popularity.

=> If you never strip out more than 30 feet there would really be no difference except the WF will give you reserve distance and the DT will increase your line handling and roll casting.

John Desjardins
10-12-2001, 12:01 PM
Thanks for lending your experience Juro. I am leaning towards either a DT or TT for the roll casting and mending performance.

10-12-2001, 04:51 PM
The triangle aper is the best roll casting line 35' and in tht I have used. Past that it is not so hot. I think that for over all line control, a DT is hard to beat but having said that, I've been useing a WT. the past few years and I rarely miss the DT. line. I suspect that the new soft tip(compound taper) rods probably perform better with weight forward,and the older(progressive taper)rods can handle the heavier bellies of the double taper lines.

10-13-2001, 05:36 AM
Go with the double taper...I think it gives much softer presentations with small rods..I fish a 3wt St Croix avid, almost exclusively this year I might add, and with the Orvis Wonderline DT on it, it is a fantastic setup!