There are LOTS of products and gear that you can use for spey fishing steelhead, but on a recent trip I decided to DUMP my gear and share with you the list of what I am fishing, and how I often set it up! In addition to the video, here is the list of what I was using on this last trip.
Equipment Used and Mentioned:
Fly selection will vary dramatically based on rivers, season, water temps, and whether you will be cross targeting salmon. The best way to get flies IMO is to use our DEADLY DOZEN strategy. Let us know where you are headed, when, and we'll choose patterns that favor that destination but still play well all year long.
Sound advice however would be to have a mix of bright, dark, unweighted, and a few weighted patterns. Dry flies in August - October. Flies for spey fishing steelhead.
You'll hear this in the video. Get the best rod you can justify or afford, you'll be casting it thousands of times, maybe a thousand in a day! Having a rod you love the feel of, that performs well keeps you on the water swinging flies when others casting clunky rigs are "taking a break" or heading home. A wonderful casting rod keeps you in the water longer, further, more, and focused on fishing. If I were choosing a single rod, it would probably be a 13'6" 7 weight for doing it all. I have a 6 piece Sage SONIC that I used on this trip as well.
- Sage X 7120-4 Rod (Recommending 525 Grain Skagit MAX Power)
- Sage X 8130-4 Rod (Recommending 600 Grain Skagit MAX Launch Head)
A reel with some weight to it will eliminate fatigue. My first choice is the Sage SPEY reel, love the full frame design and the weight. It makes a crappy saltwater reel, so if you plan to use this reel on your 10/12 weight tropical rods as well - consider a reel that can play both ways to maximize funds.
Lines and Shooting Heads:
Your floating Skagit Heads (RIO Launch or MAX Power) will be your most useful shooting heads. You can dry line and throw heavy sink tips on the same head. I strongly encourage you however to invest in multiple heads, Skagit floating, Scandi, Skagit 4D. There are "traditional" spey heads as well, but these are typically reserved for the most advanced casters.
- RIO Skagit Max Launch Shooting Head (most versatile)
- RIO Steelhead Scandi Shooting Head (best for long casts, smaller flies)
- RIO Skagit MAX Gamechanger 4D (cold water, deep swift runs)
- RIO MOW Tips (use with Skagit Heads)
- RIO Spey Versileaders (use with Scandi Head - I like 10' in several sink rates)
- RIO 12' 16# Salmon/Steelhead Leaders
- RIO Elite Metered Shooting Line .032"
Maxima Ultragreen is sort of the traditional favorite, and its GREAT tippet! The packaging and spools it comes on suck though. It always seems to tangle up and come unraveled off the spools. I have begun to use the RIO products and its tidy, plenty strong, ties easy, and snaps together so that I can have a few diameters all interlocked.
- RIO Steelhead Salmon Tippet 16# and 20# (consider lighter tippets for clear water)