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Shaq 02-21-2005 08:13 AM

Salmon River
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.

peter-s-c 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.

Shaq 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

peter-s-c 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.

QuebecSporting 02-21-2005 01:03 PM

Good Afternoon
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.. :)

peter-s-c 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.

Shaq 02-21-2005 02:43 PM

in my limited experience
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.

peter-s-c 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.

peter-s-c 02-21-2005 05:26 PM

Dug out the spreadsheet
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.

peter-s-c 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?

Shaq 02-22-2005 08:39 AM

whole heartily agree
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.

peter-s-c 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.

Shaq 02-22-2005 10:10 AM

any thoughts
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

MJC 02-22-2005 10:23 AM

Hey Shaq...
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.

peter-s-c 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.

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