One thing I have often seen while guiding spey fisherman is that they just wont move. I’m not talking two-stepping here but simply working a run in a methodical and timely manner. Under most conditions I prefer to move three to four feet between casts which has several benefits.
1) By steadily working your way through a run you will cover more water throughout your day than the person who only moves a couple feet every few casts. Remember, we are looking for players, the fish who are aggressive enough to eat your fly on the first pass.
2) Constantly fishing new water it is simply more interesting and I tend to stay more focused as I move though a run.
3) We are not trout fishing – you will not find a steelhead river with 2-6 thousand fish per river mile, so covering water is the key to finding fish.
I do slow down for several reasons.
1) If I know fish are in a certain area and I feel that they are not willing to move far to a fly, I will slow down my pace and work the fly with different presentations.
2) If I feel a grab but don’t hook up I will cast back to the fish, trying a couple of presentations. If this does not work I will mentally note where the fish was holding and make another pass with a new, smaller fly.
By maximizing the amount of water you cover in a day you will swim your flies through more holding lies. When searching for winter steelhead covering water can make the difference, it only takes one fish to turn your day around.
We use 6wt switch rods for large trout and steelhead. These are light enough in hand to stack mend all day without tearing your shoulder apart, but strong enough to swing smaller flies and poly-leaders and turn big fish in heavy current. You will find it a little under gunned for heavy sink-tip fishing applications, or if you try to throw a large nymph rig to the far side of the river.
- Beulah 10’4″ 6wt Platinum – extremely light, basically a 10’4″ single-hander. killer indicator stick and summer dry fly rod.
- Redington 11’3″ 7wt Dually
- Echo 10’10″ 7 wt SR
- Sage 11’6″ ONE – at 11’6″ we call these “mini-speys.” you can indicator fish them without too much issue, but we find ourselves wishing the rod was at least 6″ shorter to be a better indicator stick.
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