Salmon & steelhead rods
What would you say is the "minimum" fly rod line weight for salmon & steelies?
The largest fly rod I own is an Orvis Spring Creek WF5F, 9'3".
I have caught 36" northern pike with it and landed them with no trouble. :)
I am going to the Grand river in Ohio this fall, but I will be tempting marital fate if I buy "another" fly rod.
But, a man's got to do, what a man's got to do.
Great lakes steelheading is different than west coast, particularly when it comes to winter fishing. Most G/L anglers use nymphing techniques and split shots with small flies drifted deep. The fish are not quite as maniacal in the winter 30 degree flows, and so most use light tippet and light noodly rods.
The notion of throwing a long belly line across a major glacial river does not apply to influence line weight, infact in Lake Ontario many use a straight running line system because the slinkies cast the fly, not the line loop. I had a guy come into the flyshop where I used to work an ask for a 4 pound tippet fly rod. I asked "do you mean a 4wt?" he said, no a fly rod suited for use with 4 pound test leader. The line was a fine diameter shooting line, the leader was straight mono, and the method of casting was similar to a spinning rod. The fly line was there to meet the local laws that applied to the 'fly only' stretch of the river where the fish were stacked. I found that whole arrangement to be ambiguous, if they are not going to restrict the use of slinkies and weights for casting, sinking and drifting the "fly" along the bottom then why bother at all?
You could probably get away with the 5wt, but if you get a hot steelie in a rapid you might be in a bit of trouble. Most out west have hooked spring natives or hot summer fish that make a 15 foot 10 weight feel like a toy. I wouldn't want to try to land a Thompson River summer run on any 5wt on the market! But hey that's what adventures are made of...
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