RE:Spey Rod Size?
My experience with the 8150 is ditto to Sinktip's - I Love it! I have a custom-built one, so the grip is a little narrower than stock ( i did notice how big the standard grip was - don't know whether I'd like it or not).
Anyway, one danger is deciding you like a rod -or not - based on casting it with one line. I know plenty of people who'll tell you how they hated a rod until they got it lined correctly (for them).
I think we all agree we'd like to go as light and as short as we can without sacrificing the ability to mend/control the line and effectively hook and land the "average" steelhead we can hope to hook in whatever river we're fishing. The reason I like the 8150 is that it's light enough to fish all day for as many days as I want to fish without tiring me out and yet has the length to make serious mends and control the fly at 70-80'++.
A point Juro mentioned about the 7136 and heavier wire hooks (think 2/0 Tiemco) is worth considering as well - you can present the fly, but can you get a good hookset with the 7136 and a 2/0 heavy wire hook? I don't think so - or at least I coundn't. The upside is that I've been experimenting with brass tube flies for winter fishing this year and have been very happy with the results. The brass tubes get the fly down effectively, and you can really feel the contact with rocks much more clearly than with a heavy-wire hook and with far fewer snags.
I've been using #4 Tiemco 105 hooks - wide-gap lightwire hooks designed for tying egg flies. Even when I've been bouncing the fly off rocks, the hook seems relatively unaffected - I check it often and it's stayed sticky-sharp thru several "snags" and many bottom-dredging swings. With this small wide-gap hook, I'm much more confident that if a cold-water steelie grabs my fly and I can "feel" him with the 7136 I can get a solid hookup.
Skookum - I'd be very interested to hear your line formula for the 7136 (similar to Kinney's?). I've been using the Rio Windcutter 6-7-8 and have been very happy so far - I normally find the Windcutter head to short, but actually like the 55' length for the shorter 12-13' spey rods.