12-15-2001, 04:16 PM
I have been tying this weekend and forgot about an old fly material tackle box my wife banished to the garage about 5 years ago I guess. I went through it today and found three boxes of the following Mustad hook types (100 hooks per box). Would like to put them to useful purpose.
I picked these up at an out door store liquidation sale 15 years ago and just forgot about them. I used them to tie Michigan king salmon flies where you lose a lot of flies due to snags and them breaking your line. Beleive they held up pretty good to 20 pound kings.
My question is are these strong enough for PNW steelhead flies ? They are too big for midwest steelhead fishing where I never use anything over a size 6.
34007 - O,Shaugnassey Turned down eye - Size 1/0
3399 - Sproat Tured Down Eye - Size 2
Thanks for any input you may have.
12-21-2001, 04:45 PM
.2 cents worth.
The 1/0 hooks could be good for a pattern like "winter's hope" which is a 'searching pattern' usually done up on larger hooks due to size and weight.
The other hook should also work well for winter pattern(s) of most choice(s).
12-21-2001, 05:18 PM
Thanks for the input, yes I did some research at the Mustad site and they are a wet fly hook. So I now have about 200-250 large steelhead wet fly hooks I did not realize. Tied a few patterns over last weekend they will work. Never used them for steelhead here in Midwest, to large, but have used them for king salmon 20+ pounds and they survived these silver freight trains that are fresh out of Lake Michigan. If they could survive these fish they should be able to handle a steelhead up to 20 pounds. They are a fairly strong hook. Tight lines and good holidays to you
12-21-2001, 08:12 PM
We're somewhat the same way here on the Rogue. Lots of guys use large versions of a given fly; and with success. I've found that (summer or winter) that a 'smaller' sized fly (assuming our normal clear water) is still the best. But you can tie a 'size 6' fly on a #1 or #2 hook if the bench so moves you.
Do have some larger flys (hook wise) but 99% of the time all they're doing is filling up my boxes and adding weight to my vest.
12-22-2001, 09:14 AM
Thanks, yes I agree smaller flies, size 6 and below are more effective except in high and colored water situations where I would use sixe 4 or 2s here in the mid west steelhead rivers. Reading about PNW fly patterns you get the impression that anything smaller than size 2 maybe to small for the PNW winter runs. I will be tying smaller flies on the larger salmon fly hooks I recently bought. These are 1/0 and 2/0 sizes. Wanted these for a higher sink rate and they do feel heavy compared to the size 6 and smaller mid west steelhead flies I tie for Michigan rivers. The problem here in the midwest steelhead rivers like the Pere Marquette (PM) is we are confronted with short deep slots to get the fly down into quickly to provide a proper presentation at the steelheads level. Water temperatures are in the 30s for winter fish, they will not move far for anything. There is a short period of drift in which to get the fly down into the strike zone. I have been using fast sinking heads for a long time with the smaller flies, but want to start trying the larger hooks with sparsely dressed flies for a faster sink rate. Have you read Greased Line Fishing for Salmon and Steelhead by Jock Scott, forward by Bill Mcmillan ? A Frank Amato publication. Great book on this subject matter. Recommend for all trout and salmon fishierman. It is a classic for sure.
12-23-2001, 10:09 AM
This book and the one on 'greased line' fishing by Harry Lamire (think that's correct-not at home to check myself) are my two 'go to' books. So much of our fishing is what would be considered 'low water' (dam controlled conditions) that a dry line is effective in large sections of the upper river 9 months per year.
Long leaders heavy small flys, get it down quick and swim it as slow as possible.
One note on the impression from reading about pnw flies - I agree that most publications are prone to using the 2-1/0 range as common hook sizes, but this should not be thought of as limits on either end. Many people fish tiny flies with success, as well as huge flies.
I think the key difference is that in the PNW people move the fish to the fly whereas in the very cold winter fishing conditions I saw on Lake Ontario tribs the fly is moved to the fish, which are barely thawed in the icy water.
In "winter" fishing, flies of #2 to #2/0 or even bigger are well suited to the often glacially tinted rivers of the pacific northwest. Most flyfishing is done in late winter and the seasons are infinitely milder than other parts of the country at that lattitude. There is never split shot or slinkies or weight added so the fly operates on it's own weight and swimming ability is really key as opposed to creating the impression of a small vulnerable object like a nymph which was the more common presentation I saw on the Salmon River in Pulaski NY (made 3 trips there). But bigger and smaller winter flies still work, but are not the most common.
In summer, the use of too small a fly will result in literally hundreds of smolts. You don't want to go too small when the river is bursting with all kinds of juvenile species. I prefer to go with #6 on the small side and #2 on the large side in summer, depending on the hook style and I try to keep the fly in the big fish water. I consider a #8 very small for summer steelhead, and a 1/0 large. For muddlers I use a xlong #6 0r #4, summer bunny rats a #2 TMC, pupa flies #4 TMC 200R. I mostly use Tiemco hooks because of the high quality.
Just to summarize the presentation in the PNW is more like the classic atlantic salmon swing than a deep bottom drift and thus the larger flies are just the ticket for swimming the fly in a tantalizing manner across and down the fish's lie. For more background you could refer to some of the older British texts on tying low water patterns on really large hooks.
12-23-2001, 12:24 PM
Thanks, nothing like having direct on the river practical knowledge from some one. Printed this and put in my PNW steelhead trip planning book, the T. Combs - Steelhead Fishing Book to be precise. Thanks for the early christmas present ! I have already started tying, got my steelhead fly swap flies done, now working on other needs. I bought some EP hair at the fly shop yesterday, think this is usable for PNW patterns ? Bought polar bear white and a black package.
Have a good holiday with your family.
P.S. Cold weather 20 degrees has finally hit Chicago, no snow though yet, just flurries. Maybe we should start a new thread, what was your coldest steelheading day ?