Salmon River [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Salmon River

02-21-2005, 08:13 AM
Hit the Salmon River on Sunday. It was cold and I had a newbie with me so we stayed in the fly zone. After abandoning the 2 hander because it was "One of those days" and too cold in thwe morning to be untangling the windcutter every five minutes I grabbed the single hander and went back to my roots. Had a good day with multiple hook-ups. #10 stoneflies were the hotter fly although I did hook-up once on a purple spey fly I pseudo-swung off the split shot. Action came in spurts 9:30 after the fog left the water, they turned on, and once more at 1:30pm, they were on for another hour. Great day. I believe I am going to get a double taper for the spey, I tried a guys I was fishing with and those loop contections get tough to shoot when there is ice in the guides. Also the thicker WC tends to manipulate my drifts in ways I don;t want or like, especially in the thicker, winter water. Any thoughts from you guys? Anyways, a great day to be on the water, got sunburned and landed one 11lb hen, she was an early spawner alrerady spouting eggs.

02-21-2005, 09:41 AM
Congrats on a great day -- beats mine, that's fer sure (put a foot through the ice -- without waders).

I've fished a DT floater line once on the Salmon (at the Altmar bridge) and it was a DT-7-F on a 12'6" - 6/7 rod. Though it casted OK, it was definitely too light for the distance I was usually working as the Salmon isn't that wide through that spot. If you go the DT floater route, I'd think about going up a line weight or two over the rating of your WC just so that it short casts OK. Currently I have a DT-10-F that I consider to be about right for an 8 wt. rod when used consistently under 60', especially if you're tossing shot or Polyleaders.

02-21-2005, 10:03 AM
exactly what I was thinking. In fact we were at the altmar bridge but the good spey casting spots were taken so I had to work the head of the pool. Many contrasting currents up there. I was thinking an 8wt double for my 7wt CND. I just didn't have the patience in the cold yesterday to experiment

02-21-2005, 10:21 AM
The other consideration is standard DT vs. salmon DT. The short front tapers on the standard DT lowers their overall weight a bit when measured at the 60' mark vs. the salmon taper. So an 8 wt. salmon DT is equivalent to about a 8.5 wt. regular DT. at the 60' mark. If you're going the regular DT route, you might want to consider a 9 wt. Cortland HT333s are a nice cheap alternative for experimentation.

I tried a regular DT 8 wt. on my SAS 1308 and to say it was on the light side was putting it mildly.


Forgot to mention that I have the WC to DT equivalents at home so I'll post them up later this evening.

02-21-2005, 01:03 PM
Do you feel water temperature influences how fish react??

Is there a "Prime Time Temp" for Steelhead??

(Still learning..... wish I was fishing!) :roll:

A.. :)

02-21-2005, 02:30 PM
This topic is usually one that generates disagreement as our personal experiences are dictated to an extent by how we fish. So if somebody has only fished for winter steelhead with a dead drifted glo-bug, then their rule-of-thumb will be dead drift only in cold water. Those of us who have caught fish on the swung fly in very cold water take an opposite view.

Back in '99, I took a drift trip on the Muskegon in Michigan in early May. I brought along a full suit of streamers but the guide told me to leave them in the truck as the fish would never hit them -- "Too cold." he said. In later years, I've had a bit of success with streamers in mid winter so there's no doubt these fish would've hit a streamer in May.

02-21-2005, 02:43 PM
I have trouble experimenting in water less than 40 degrees. I have to drive 2.5 hours, so the urge to switch back to chuckin tactics are very strong especially if I am on a day trip and I have "ONE OF THOSE MORNINGS". If I have an exceptional day and the steelies are turned on, I go to swinging flies reguardless of the water temp. Sometimes even the chuckin methods yield a hit a day though so it's a long drive for no hook-ups. Better weather though and I will swing all day. The best days I have had were in the 42 to 50 dgree water temp either in the fall or spring. And if there are drop-backs in the river, they'll hit any swung fly.

02-21-2005, 02:47 PM
I got this rule of thumb from John at Grindstone -- during dropping, cold temperatures, the fish will be lethargic and you pretty well have to bounce the fly off their noses. But if temps have been stable for a few days, then they'll be active even in water one or two degrees above freezing. Having hooked steelhead in mid-winter while stripping a streamer quickly, I think John has it right.

02-21-2005, 05:26 PM
Whatever WC you have, add two line weights to the middle number of its rating to get the DT line that'll load the rod the same as the full WC head at 55'. A standard DT will load a little lighter and the spey DT will load a little heavier. So a DT-10 is equivalent to a WC 7/8/9 at the 55' mark.

02-21-2005, 05:54 PM
Shaq, I think we're both wading down the same creek.

Last year, I bought a DT-10-F salmon line for winter work but events conspired to keep me from using it. On our last Grand trip of '04, Dave hooked a nice one but couldn't land it as his guides were so iced up, he couldn't get the running line -- shooting head loop through the guides. I helped him clear the ice but by the time we cleared it, the fish was gone. Had he been using a DT, that fish would've been brought to hand.

When we buy and use PNW type lines (WC and Deltas) during our winters in the GL basin, we forget that we have way more sub-freezing days than they do. When we copy PNW styles, we should limit ourselves to fall and spring 'cause by winter, these lines won't cut it. Imagine getting a runner on, then after it has taking you into your backing, trying to reel the WC belly back through an iced-up tiptop. No such problem with a DT, especially a skinny full sinker.

Time for a re-think, no?

02-22-2005, 08:39 AM
I whole heartily agree with every word you said, We GLers are fumbling through our own style and listening to the western guys isn';t helping all that much. The ice thing is right on.

02-22-2005, 10:07 AM
Should be able to get out Saturday and I'll try the DT setup then. Temps are supposed to be a bit below freezing so the idea should get a bit of a workout. To avoid adding loops to the system, I'll be using just mono leaders and weighted flies plus some shot if necessary and swinging, not dead drifting.

We'll see what happens.

02-22-2005, 10:10 AM
Any experience putting loops on lines? ala the versa tip loop? How is it done? I would like to cut back a DT, put a loop on it so I could still run the tip, but not the three loops lioke the wincutter

02-22-2005, 10:23 AM
Do a search here and on Spey Pages using the search term loops and you will find more info then you may want or need to know.

Here is a couple for starters:

Also if you Google Dan Blanton you will find a good explanation on making your own loops.

02-22-2005, 11:19 AM
MJC has put up some good references on the subject and when I get home, I'll email you some pictures of how I do my loops now -- they're working out pretty good and have withstood some ice abuse, snags, and a few big fish.

But before you do some cutting, try a Polyleader right off the tip -- it could work OK.

02-22-2005, 12:39 PM
I've been meaning to try the sinking leaders. They have a 7 foot 7ips sink rate one that might be perfect for the salmon. I also think I don't need to cut that because I have the WC for tips which for that application it works just fine.

02-22-2005, 12:48 PM
a standard wc with that 7 ft 7 ips leader will work very well on the salmon. with a weighted fly it will reach 6 ft easily. for more depth try a 6 ft hunk of t-14 with a 4 ft fluoro leader and slightly weighted fly. the full wc turns them over well and there is nothing to ice up. the sa short seems like it may load up short a little better but i haven't had enough time to really try it out. a clouser line upped two sizes works very well especialy for around 40 ft. any farther and there is too much stripping.

02-22-2005, 01:15 PM

Have you ever run into the problem of having the WC back taper jam up in an iced over tiptop? A couple of weeks ago, we were out on a cold day just doing some casting and our lines were getting pretty heavily iced up. I put some of my buddy's BMW goop on my lines and guides that didn't prevent icing, but made the ice easy to remove. When retrieving my Delta Long, the backtaper hit the tiptop in a big spray of ice and jammed up pretty good. Thanks to the goop, I was able to pull the backtaper through as it broke off the ice but without the goop and with a fish on, it may not have been fun. All of my rods have caged, ceramic insert tiptops that just makes this problem a whole lot worse.

02-22-2005, 05:57 PM
Here's a few pics on the loops I've been doing lately.

Use acetone to remove the coating from the fly line and the ends of a 3" section of running line.

Tie three nail knots in a row (don't scrimp, two may fail).

Finish with thread and coat with thinned Aquaseal or similar glue.

02-22-2005, 06:46 PM
[Tie three nail knots in a row (don't scrimp, two may fail).

Could you elaborate on the nail knots. Do you use a seperate piece of mono? Or do you use the loop tag ends themselves?

DO you have it on your streamer page?

02-22-2005, 07:27 PM
Sorry, forgot to mention that the nail knots are 20lb. Dacron. I overlay the two ends of the running line core with the main fly line core. I tie the first knot not too snuggly then align them, then tighten it. The next two are then added and the tags of the core and knots trimmed.

02-22-2005, 07:35 PM
Thanks I really like that.

02-22-2005, 11:29 PM
Hey Shaq, Glad you had a good time and were able to get out.
Here are some thoughts in regards to loops and tips. Personally I don't like the welded loops, they hang up more in the guides. I prefer mono or kevlar loops and the way they slide through the guides. A simple and secure way to put them on is to nail knot them with 15 # test mono. I ususally do two seperate nail knots. That is all that is needed if attaching to a floating line. If attaching to a thin sinking line, do the same but coat the knots with Loon knot sence.
The RIO sinking leaders are handy but, there is a draw back. Unlike a level sink tip or a dencity comp. tip the sinking leaders will belly and sink butt first. A weighted fly helps. I prefer a factory one pc. decity comp. above all but, for shorter 5' to 10' handy loop on's I prefer to make my own from S.A. Shooting Tapers (RIO, Cortland may have them also ?) I use a level section to prevent bellying and get the fly down quicker. Of course as you & Peter noted for shorter cast's you can just use a well built tapered mono leader and a couple shot :smile: and I do also.
Hope to get out soon...............cabin fever :Eyecrazy: Things should break here in the next 2 weeks or so.

02-23-2005, 08:58 AM
Peter, i haven't had any trouble with ice on the full lines. i am admittadly a bit of a wimp and don't fish in the true cold very much (too many flies to tie and too many warmer days comming). the tip cages must go for winter fishing, though. you have seen the results and the big saltwater tips are much better. one of my winstons has small tip top and never sees a winter day anymore. i found out from a customer that Pam cooking spray works very well to keep of the ice. as far as we know it won't damage a line either (veggie oil). it comes in small cans that will easily fit in a pocket too. the wc line has a little more gradual taper on the back so i haven't seen it jam, but i bet the sa short head would with that steep rear taper. i would like to try the dt and see if i can get used to not stripping. has anyone tried an overlined long belly instead? i have a 10/11 sa long that i will try on the seven wt and see how it works for short, non stripping casting. cant be too much different than a dt and i could mark it for the right casting weight/distance, hhhmmm. btw nice work on the loops and thanks for posting the pics.
h20- try the t-14 for tips i think it will work for you. or take a 12ft 7 ips rio sinking leader and cut three feet of the front to get to the thicker taper, then they get the fly down quick. it does help if you have at least a lightly weighted fly.

02-23-2005, 09:03 AM
Just to add about braided loops. The Cortland loops are quite small so they tend to bulk up and are terrible for going through guides. The ones supplied by Airflo, Fenwick, and Rio seem a lot better in this regard. Like you, I also nail knot the braided loops but I've found that the end knot will occasionally catch on the guides. If I'm having that problem, I whip finish the nail knot, a bit of thinned glue to seal it and problem solved.

I agree that Polyleaders work best with weighted flies with one caveat. This past fall, we did a fair bit of fishing at the same spot on the Grand and both of us were using a combination of Polyleaders, braided sinking leaders, or the sinktips provided with the multi-tip lines. I was using unweighted flies most of the time while Dave used mostly weighted flies. While the water temps remained fairly warm, I tended to do better than Dave but as soon as the temps dropped and/or water levels rose and dirtied up, Dave did better than me. My conclusion -- in warmer, clearer waters, the fish will rise and chase my shallower running fly but in higher/dirtier water or when temps are dropping, Dave's flies got down to where the fish were and mine didn't. Most of the time, we were both using T-3s so presumably, our tips were sinking to the same level.

02-23-2005, 09:29 AM
About the tip cages and small guides -- they're certainly a curse when things get icy. It's one reason I've ordered a 7/8 Kispiox as that rod comes with large guides and tiptop. It's also a pretty soft rod that won't grossly overpower sluggish winter fish.

If my DT experiments go OK, I'll be buying three or four cheap standard DT-9s in floating, clear, T-3 and T-6 to use on it, mostly for short to medium ranges and no-stripping during the winter. There's a cheap 10/11 cast LA reel on the UK market with cassette spools so that solves the spool cost problem for this solution. This is still just an idea right now and by next winter, I could completely change my mind -- again, but we'll see how it goes. If the weather holds, I'll be fishing a DT floater on the Credit on Saturday in sub-freezing temps -- should be a good first test.

BTW, heard about the PAM trick -- I wonder if SWMBO would have my head if I swiped the kitchen supply . . . . :)

02-23-2005, 11:44 AM
I was casting a DT9F while evaluating a Meiser 6/7. I now have this lined with a Rio MS 6/7. Casting felt about the same in the 50-70' range. Of course the MS is easier to cast. The DT9 might be too light for the 7/8 rod.

I will fish under any condition. When the windchills are below 0 F you need to break ice from the guides. Period. The largest oversized guides help. Your reel spool will freeze to the frame. You need to manually rotate it to free it. Period. Eventually your leader may become encased in ice. Sometimes the fly will. This happens when the line is out of the water too long between drifts/swings or that it's really friggin' cold. Then you need to take a break and let everything thaw out. I really like fishing under those conditions. Every fish is that much more enjoyable.


02-23-2005, 12:13 PM
I was casting a DT9F while evaluating a Meiser 6/7. I now have this lined with a Rio MS 6/7. Casting felt about the same in the 50-70' range. Of course the MS is easier to cast. The DT9 might be too light for the 7/8 rod.

Gary, you could be right -- I'll be trying it first with the DT-10-F that I already have. But I suspect the DT-9 will be OK due to the rod's very soft upper section and that supposedly these rods are built to the new spey standards so it's more of a 7 than an 8. That means a DT-9 should be about right. We'll see when I get it.

About the cold, well you're a better man than I, Gunga Din. I get out in minus Celsius but not in minus Farenheit. Fortunately we don't see too many days like that, but even so, most of the fishable water is either iced over or closed for the season. I'm only getting out to the Credit because the recent thaw and rains blew out the ice. We've had a weird winter.

02-23-2005, 06:14 PM
Here's a DT grain weight calculator. Just enter the front taper length and it'll calculate the grain weight at various intervals.

I've verified it against my DT-10-F Ultra Salmon and for this line the chart is within 1%-2% of the measured grain weight at each length.

02-23-2005, 08:16 PM
If anybody wants to get some cheap lines, on COrtland's website, in the clearance items, they have DT F 333's for $18 and the DT spey lines for $35. It's a goiod price to do some experiementing