Re: About tippet for Great lake steelheads
Wow, 5x, 6x or less? I know guys who use nothing but 1x. I use 2x mostly, sometimes when in very clear water I use 3x but that's about it. I guess it depends upon where you fish. I fish smaller rivers. Lots of wood snags. I have broken off 2x trying to hold back fish from running into log piles. You let him go and he's gone, simple as that.
I had one fish this fall get me into a fallen willow tree. I could see my indicator up against the branch. So I waded in and I could see the fish laying under the branch and my top fly stuck in the branch. I've noticed that steelhead seem to just stop and lay still if they have a steady tension on them when they are in snags. I bent over following my line down to the first fly. I ended leaning over so much that water was running in the top of my waders. As soon as I unhooked the top fly taking the tension off the fish took off like a rocket. I am trying to get the fish under control again. Well it didn't last long. He ran about 10 feet and he was into another branch of the same tree. So I waded over and followed my line down again. This time I couldn't see the fish or any of the flies. I just followed my line as best I could. It was a really thick snag full of grass and leaves that had been pushed against the branches by the current. I end up loosing the line in all the fine debris. I fell around some more trying to find the line again while all the time my waders have water seeping in. I ended up feeling the back of the fish. Mr. steelhead was having none of that. He took off like a shot. my line followed him into the snag, suddenly stopped and then "pop", he was gone. Gone with 2 flies and my indicator. He left me standing there with one arm soaking wet and water sloshing around in the top half of my waders. Those wader belts do a good job of keeping the water out of your legs I can testify to that! Only time I can remember loosing and indicator. Every time I have tried to get a fish out of a snag by going in after them it has turned out bad.
I can't imagine using 5x in snag filled water. Its like your conceding to give up on a fish that makes a run. At least with 2x you can clamp down and at least maybe turn the fish then you have a chance of landing him. If your rivers aren't full of snags then by all means try 4x, maybe 5x but any smaller seems to be unnecessary.