loco_alto you make several points that i think are on the money for GL tribs. to start with the words "big river" have alot of weight. thats something we are on short supply of here.
with the pressure some areas recieve sometimes the only logical choice would be to fish the hoko instead of the hoh. or in my case secret creek#12055 vs. the big manistee. for the same reason you stated, "crowds".
juro, i wish you had a half day to spare for a drift down the world renowned "pere marquette". if you had an hour to spare while you were here for the M.O. clave and needed a chuckle, its just a short hop north. i would hazard the guess that it would qualify as a "nice little creek" by western standards.
i envy the western residents of this board. hearing freds temp quotes of 50 some degrees in oreg, while i'm looking at single digets on both sides of zero as the norm. (big heat wave right now, its up in the teens)
while i'm trying to get more towards traditional methods i probably wont ever be far from some sort of weight. my idea of fly fishing here revolves more around the line on the spool & the casting methods employed. if using a traditional taper line and casting overhead, roll, or spey, i think that qualifies as "fly fishing". if the spool is loaded with running line, mono, or amnesia, with a gob of shot, slinky, or pencil, propelled by a "lob" then it certainly is drift fishing. i wont say i don't do some(less every year) of that, but its on conventional tackle. i gave up on pretense a long while back.
even lani waller promoted the use of lead twist ons in his trophy steelhead fishing vidio from 3M, filmed on the babine. SG