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Old 09-02-2011, 08:50 PM
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Default Rod for Great Lakes Salmon and Steel...need desprite help~

Im taking a friend who IS an experienced fly fisherman (smaller species) Salmon fishing in upper Michigan. His biggest rod is a fast 6 wt. Will he be horribly under gunned for Great Lakes Salmon of the typical variety? I know this will not be ideal, but for a one week once in a lifetime trip should he be ok? Also, if anyone has any favorite ways to fish these guys im all ears! Were talking Betsie river Salmon in particular...never fished here myself. There is the chance for some early steel for which the 6 should do fine...on the light side i suppose.
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Old 09-02-2011, 09:16 PM
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Default Re: Rod for Great Lakes Salmon and Steel...need desprite help~

Contact a fly shop up there and find out what the average weight on the kings is in that river. You'll want to know if the Coho are also going to be present. I've landed kings up to 20 pound on a 9' 7 weight and probably could have done them on a 6. If the fish can run heavy (like 30+) then I would just look for an affordable 8 or 9 weight rig. When fishing for kings the reel becomes important because big ones will burn up drags quick and clickers are out unless you have a Marquis 3 and a glove on the palming hand

I used a 9 weight for kings on NY rivers and was not with too much rod, ever.
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Old 09-02-2011, 09:38 PM
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Default Re: Rod for Great Lakes Salmon and Steel...need desprite help~

Thanks for the input Ard

Ive got the reel situation covered for him, but i only have one 8 weight rod and so i cant loan him one. He is a bit apprehensive to buy one as he doesn't think this will become regular for him...i only go for Salmon once or twice a year myself which explains why i only have one heavy rod...How did you make out with the quakes and all up there?
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Old 09-02-2011, 09:48 PM
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Default Re: Rod for Great Lakes Salmon and Steel...need desprite help~

We slept right through it

You can get an 8 weight from this guy for 79 - 89 dollars. I have a 9 weight as a backup rod and it works fine. Both Nancy and I have caught salmon using it and it did the job.

New! LaCrosse Custom Rod: Montana Fly Rod 9FT 8WT 2PC | eBay

Take a look, these are 2 piece but..............
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Old 09-02-2011, 11:49 PM
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Default Re: Rod for Great Lakes Salmon and Steel...need desprite help~

Years ago I took a friend to the Muskegon salmon fishing. We thought for sure his 7 weight was going to explode. If your friend goes with a 7 weight or under I would recommend a rod with a very good warranty and that he wear eye protection.
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Old 09-03-2011, 08:28 PM
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Most guys up here will use 7-9wt rods for fall salmon and steelhead. 7-8 weights are often used on steelhead and 8-9 weights on the salmon. I fish 9'-0" rods because I don't really specialize in this type of fishing. People who really target these fish will recommend a 9'-6" or a 10'-0" rods.


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Old 09-03-2011, 11:33 PM
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Default Re: Rod for Great Lakes Salmon and Steel...need desprite help~

In my opinion a 6 wt. is not going to do it for Betsie River Salmon as bruisers are a distinct possibility and that rod could be a memory at the end of the trip.

As an aside, I've seen serious snagging equipment when I was up there last year for Steel (that I pulled in as a snag).

Cheers,
Mike.
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Old 09-04-2011, 12:31 AM
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Default Re: Rod for Great Lakes Salmon and Steel...need desprite help~

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyreels View Post
We slept right through it

You can get an 8 weight from this guy for 79 - 89 dollars. I have a 9 weight as a backup rod and it works fine. Both Nancy and I have caught salmon using it and it did the job.

New! LaCrosse Custom Rod: Montana Fly Rod 9FT 8WT 2PC | eBay

Take a look, these are 2 piece but..............
i know it isn't in your weight category, but my wife has a 6'6" 2 weight lacrosse rod and she loves it!
i've fished it a few times and really like it as well.
great rod at great price IMO.


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Old 09-04-2011, 08:27 AM
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Default Re: Rod for Great Lakes Salmon and Steel...need desprite help~

Finding a quick combo to fish for king salmon isn't like picking up an inexpensive fly rod to use on a short trout fishing trip. The size and power of the fish require a better rod and a reel with a powerful drag system. Usually lower priced gear compromises performance when targeting fish of this size. Here, the reel does more than hold line, and the rod will certainly be tested to its limit.

I recently went into Cabela’s and watched a man walk up to the fly shop attendant and ask him if a rod and reel in a box was a good outfit for his trip to Alaska where he was going to fish for salmon. The attendant was polite, however; I wanted to tell the customer he was about to go "hunt bears with a pellet gun" if he purchased that setup, or anything within $150 of it. You don't need to break the bank, but if it is truly a once in a lifetime trip, spend a little extra to get the gear to ensure the memories match the expectations.

I'd recommend a 8-10 weight for salmon up in the Betsie area. If you go heavier, it will help you turn the salmon in tight quarters. A 9 or 10 weight would be usable for pike / musky on future trips and would justify the purchase of a heavier rod. If fishing for steelhead and salmon, an 8 weight would be a versatile outfit and could be used for pike and bass.

I'd recommend talking to Schmidt Outfitters in Wellston, Michigan. The shop is anywhere from 35 mintues to an hour south of where you will be fishing. I visited a few other shops in the Traverse City area, but the customer service and hospitality didn't come close to Schmidt Outfitters. They also have rooms you can rent if you are looking for a place to stay & fish with a guide service.

As far as specific reel recommendations, I would recommend anything in the Lamson Guru, Velocity, or Lightspeed class of reels. All of these reels have the same sealed drag system until you get into the #4 Lightspeed model. The only difference is the amount of aluminum machined from the reel, and difference in standard versus hard alox finish. A Guru 3.5 is $229 and holds 200 yards of 9 weight line. This gets you the best drag with a fully machined reel for the lowest price point in the Lamson lineup. If you need to go cheaper, a Konic has the same drag system in a cast reel.

With rods, you can purchase an Echo Ion for $190 or an Echo Edge for $250, and you get a rod tube with each price class. The extra few bucks for the Echo Edge is justified by saltwater safe componts and a better reel seat. A St. Croix Imperial will run you $220.

Your line will be the most important purhcase you make. Be attentive to depth and current. You may want to look at a line such as Rio Versi Tip to be able to fish multiple differnt depths and currents. This is where fly fishing will become more difficult than just chucking hardware or float rigs through the current.

$490 will get you a Lamson Guru and an Echo Ion 9 weight rod. If you find the right fly shop, you could probably get a standard line and backing thrown in for free on this combo. You could also get free shipping and avoid sales tax if you order it online and have it shipped to you, so your end price point will not drift over the $500 mark.

A less expensive option would include a standard spinning reel and longer medium heavy - heavy steelhead or salmon rod with a float bobber and spawn, or a few Mepps spinners. Again, a St. Croix Wild River spinning rod could run anywhere from $160 - $180.

Good luck on the trip & be sure to post some photos on the Great Lakes board when you are finished!

Last edited by chicagojohn; 09-04-2011 at 08:59 AM.
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Old 09-04-2011, 11:07 PM
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Default Re: Rod for Great Lakes Salmon and Steel...need desprite help~

I believe the perfect single hand rod for Salmon is a 9 1/2 foot 9 weight. You want to be able to protect tippet down to about 8 pound flouro carbon, and you have to be able to lean on 10-30 pound fish in serious current with lots of cover. While you could perhaps land with with a six weight it is far to little rod for either Salmon or Steelhead on MI rivers. The Betsy averages about 800-1000 CFS in the fall, thats compared to a 200 CFS current on most Lk. Erie Steelhead Streams. I'd also suggest a fairly serious reel with a decent drag.

I use two handers and fish indicators. My rod of choice is a 13 foot 8 weight spey rod. I was on the Betsy two weeks ago for about two hours between calls and hooked 11 and landed three. It is loaded with fish right now, I'm headed up Tuesday night.

Last edited by burk48237; 09-05-2011 at 11:34 AM.
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