Oh and I should add... yes it is the perfect fish. It does indeed require the combination of finesse and force and when you hook one it's a lifetime's trophy trout even in their average sizes. It leaps like a tarpon, and runs like an albie. When all is said and done, it's a rainbow trout the size of your leg and a feast to the eyes beneath the shadow of towering cedar trees lining the valley. It occurs in some of the most beautiful places on earth, and is sought by some of the most dedicated flyfishermen. It is a relatively young history of over a hundred years of fishing involving magistrates, generals and notables; yet it already shares the grandeur of the atlantic salmon's four hundred year legacy.
It is never easy to achieve, but seldom forgotton to bring a steelhead to the fly. It's truly one of the most significant milestones in a flyfisherman's career.
For single handed rods I prefer an 8wt 9' 6" RPL Sage or equivalent. This rod is neither too light nor too heavy and the extra length really improves the roll/single spey casting as well as mending and line control. I fish it in fall with a long belly Mastery steelhead taper; and with hybrid custom-made sinktips every other season. Yes, I prefer that for a singlehander but I do not prefer single-handed rods anymore.
Spey rods offer significant advantages over singe-handed rods on the steelhead scene. Many of the rivers are large, and grown to the shores. Mending long lines over the currents is key, and the percentage of time that the fly is swinging in the water is proportionate to the fish you will encounter on the end of the line.
But don't let a Bostonian tell you... what say you guys out in steelhead country?