: Great Lakes Steelhead Flylines
06-14-2002, 05:04 PM
Well, just want to hear some different opionions on favorite lines that you guys use in the Great Lakes region with spey rods?
Our rivers in the Great Lakes region are generally smaller, tighter, and contain more obstacles than western steelhead streams. Although, there are exceptions with waterways like the St. Mary's river, Muskegon River, Big Manistee and Niagra River. Spey fishing has become popular in recent years, but many anglers perform double spey, single spey, and roll casts using european, fast action rods. This allows anglers to high stick nymph as well, yet use their rod in larger rivers and in the surf too.
I do alot of indicator nymphing with my spey rod, and a floating line is needed to nymph effectivly. A line that has a long belly is best, since it will allow better mending and roll casting when presenting the fly. Often, a long belly line such as a double taper will not have enough punch to cast indicators and splitshot. This lead to the question....do I buy a DT line for mending, roll casting, and better presentation, or do I rely on a short head nymphing line that takes alot more effort to mend line and roll cast? I looked at the Windcutter but it had a long tapered head that intergrated into a longer belly, which allows to cast into the wind and punch, but has a harder time with casting splitshot and indidcators, and does not support enough belly to handle cross body roll casts. I looked at the steelhead/atlantic salmon flylines and I found one that was perfect. The RIO Atlanitc salmon/steelhead flyline. A friend of mine is a guide and gave me a casting demonstration to show how slick the line was. It has a head that is 85ft. long, and it is really thick up in front to punch with ease.
I also like Airflo's quick descent sinking lines that are very thin and cut through the water easily. I use them for throwing speys in rivers and also to get down deep in the surf.
Let me know what lines you guys use and why you like them. :D
Here is a thought for you, most of us out here make our own sink-tip set-ups by cutting the factory line where the front taper ends andattaching a loop to loop system. On an Accellerator for example, this is 17' from the tip, here we attach the section of sinking line as the thick belly will turn it over. A good buddy of mine occasionally upstream nymphs (which is not too common here in BC), what he does is loop his leader directly to this main belly - it really works. What he usually fishes is a heavy brass tube fly and a 14' leader. The rod loads very easily as the heavy belly is right there and the short-line technique is easy to accomplish.
It sounds like this might very well be a solution for you. Plus, if and when you want to fish dries or surface presentations you simply loop the original floating front taper back on. As well, if you want sunken swings you can make up some shooting heads - you'll be ready for anything!
If you want a little detail I went into some in a recent thread on the Flyfishing Gear Review board. Or PM me if you want.
06-19-2002, 06:59 AM
Isn't that the same thing as taking a floating line or running line and attaching a sinking tip/sinking shooting head?? You can loop to loop them too. I find that the "fatter" flyline doesn't shoot as well or cut through the water as well as a running line, so I usually have my running line and several heads.
Well, just wanted to hear opinions!:p
The "fatter" part of the line will be out of the rod tip, thereby loading the rod immediately and allowing you to make a variety of casts with a short line as well as easily shooting the rear taper. Having the belly attached to the nymphing leader would also allow you to turn over the long leader and nymph. I do not have any experience with the "Great Lakes style" of flyfishing with running lines and slinkies so I'm not sure what your needs may be, but if any actual flyline could turn over this kind of a set-up would have to be such as I've described. Otherwise, my suggestion would be a centerpin reel and dink floats:eyecrazy:
06-19-2002, 10:46 AM
Basically I have been using what Kush describes but with a much shorter leader and weighted nymphs. (No slinkies) I have a number of custom made sinking heads I made up with loop to loop connections and connect to a WF sinking tip. Thats what I am using now on the new spey rod which worked OK this past spring. Have to get those weighted tube flies in nymph patterns designed and implemented. Thats a bit to do on my steelhead fishing list.
I am always looking for new wet fly and nymph options such as the running line and shooting heads, and or the new sink tip spey lines becoming available. Dan does that Rio Atlantic/Salmon line come with multiple sink tips as there other lines ? I have heard a couple of other good things on the Rio Atlantic/Salmon line from others but never seen or touched one.
Thats the problem out here not many fly fishing shops carry a lot of spey tackle or focus on it since we are few. Nor do we have spey claves at which to see the different types of rods and lines etc. Looking at a line on the internet does not provide much information to make an informed decision.
Kush I have never seen a PNW center pin and dink reel used in the U.S. great lakes side. Canadian side of great lakes probably yes. And you will be glad to know that great lakes fly fishers like Dan, me and others are trying to convert those who are still doing Chuck N Duck slinky fly fishing methods, etc... I am seeing less of that technique and more indicator and sink tip techniques used for fishing steelhead and salmon with speys flies and nymphs.
Some day you will have to come out here and show me how to get strikes on 15 lb test leaders since I have failed with anything higher than 8 lb test over the last 20 years, except for summer runs which I think 12 lb test has been the highest I ever hooked them on.
Oh well, such is the "Sum of the Challenge" (R.H. Brown), thats what keeps me coming back for more chrome.
I am aware that there are some significant changes going on in parts of the Great Lakes fishery re swinging flies. Dana in his school back there was suitably impressed with what is happening (as well as being impressed with the fishery itself!).
The centre pin remark is probably a bit cheap. I float fished for many years before converting to the fly. It is a deadly technique and it transfers nicely to nymphing tecniques. We do little of the upsream nymphing out here as it doesn't cover much water and on the big waters I fish he who covers the most water catches the most fish. On the "tighter" waters that you guys are faced with I can see how it makes sense. As well, the larger numbers of fish concentrated in constricted areas would make running a nymph down a slot deadly.
As for info and flyshops I see how that would pose a problem. We went through that stuff when spey fishing first came back into prominence - nobody really knew anything. At least you guys can glean some stuff from out this way. I don't remember the name of the shop that Dana was working within Ontario, but they are right into developing the "traditional" steelhead techniques in the Great Lakes area, I'll find out and let you know.
06-19-2002, 02:57 PM
Yes please do since the fly shops in Chicago barely know what a spey rod or line is. Your waters are much bigger than ours in general. There is nothing close to the size of the Thompson, Grande Rhonde, or Skagit in the mid west that has steelhead.
Michigan fly shots near the good rivers have spey tackle but it is long drive to them.
Muskegon, Big Manistee, are the largest and have good steelhead fly water. St Josephs is big in sections but not really great fly fishing water, only in certain limited areas. All others are smaller rivers but with very good steelhead fly fishing opportunities.
P.S. I used spinning tackle the 1st year I fished for steelhead in 1979 until I got the correct steelhead equipment and to figure out how to fish them. Previously I had been all trout, bass, light saltwater fly fishing back east. Since 1980 I have been all fly rod for steelhead. Actually I have not even caught a steelhead on spinning gear, salmon yes, but not steelhead.
Actually now that I think of it you should get in touch with Rick Whorwood, he seems to be spearheading the effort. I'm sure he could put you in touch with the right people/shops.
I did the school with Grindstone Angling out of Waterdown, Ontario: 905.689.0880. John Valk is the proprietor and head guide, and he and his staff and associates advocate traditional UK and PNW methods. John keeps a good stock of Spey stuff. Rick Whorwood is a good friend of mine and serious student of the two-hander with a keen interest in applying various "long rod" methods to Great Lakes steelhead waters (he also ties beautiful classic Spey and Dee flies and is internationally known for his expertise, but you probably knew that already). Josef Teschl is another good friend and an excellent Spey instructor who has invested a great deal of time studying traditional longline Spey methods. All of these people would be excellent contacts for anyone in the Great Lakes area interested in two-handed fly rods, casting, and the application of classic "swung fly" traditions to Great Lakes waters.
06-21-2002, 02:02 PM
Yes I read about John Valk in the new Matt Supinski book "Steelhead Dreams", talked about his spey series of flies and has them in his color plates. They are on my to do list to tie.
If you want a nice overview of the great lakes steelhead fishery and history this is the best book I have seen to date. For $ 25 in paperback it is a great buy.