Im getting ready to purchase my first ever steelhead fly rod. I mostly fish for them on Lake Ontario and Erie with down riggers and dipsy divers. I have done some noodling for them as well. And now I really want to give it a go with a fly rod.
From what I understand, I want to go with a 8wt rod? Im looking at purchasing a Temple Fork BVK 9ft 8wt rod, and Lamson Litespeed 3.5 reel. Im going to use Scientific Angler GPX line in Optic Green with weight forward, with 20lb backing. I see most people roll casting for steelhead in the creeks feeding Ontario and Erie. DOes this sound like an OK setup? There is only so much research I can do. I need advice from people like you guys who actually use this equipment.
Welcome Jigstick! I'm sure the guys on this forum will be more than helpful in guiding you in selecting an appropriate set-up, there's a lot of guys on here that really know their stuff (not me though ). It looks like you've got some money to spend, so have fun with it I love my Allen Xa 8wt and my Alpha II reel, if you were to ask me I've heard good things about the Lamson stuff, I've had my eye on the Lightspeed reel but for now I think it's a little out of my price-range.
My buddies who fish Lake Erie tribs say I can get away with a 7wt rod because the steelies don't get much bigger than 10-12lbs there. But I will also be fishing with friends who live in Buffalo NY, and they tell me that the Lake Ontario tribs are full of King Salmon, Coho, Browns, Atlantic Salmon, and Steelies that can easily get up to 20lbs. I don't know what weight rod to go with. I do a lot of bass fishing in the summer as well, and want to use my new fly rod for that as well.
Whats happening Jig, an 8wt will do you justice. You can definitely get away with the 7wt but the 8wt is good for tossing heavy double nymph rigs (with or without the indicator) in a good wind, you can hang a ploy leader off your line and have mini sink tip set up for swinging streamers and wets, and its good to have some backbone early on in the season with high water and flows we'll have around here. Not to mention an 8wt will easily throw large poppers and heavy clousers for bass and has the guts needed to tangle with carp too. Its better to have and not need then well you know the rest. See you out there soon, here the tribs are blowing out as I write this and should have some fresh ones in them when they drop.
Jig, let me know when you'll be in the Buffalo area, I go to grad school in Buffalo but I'm originally from Florida and this is my first fall fishing for steelhead. I purchased an 8wt specifically so I could deal with the whole spectrum of species I might face, from salmon to steelhead to the saltwater species I target when home on breaks.
First off, welcome to the forum. I fish the Erie tribs with a 10ft 7wt and find it to be an ideal setup. Previously I had fished a 9ft 7 and it worked pretty well too, but the longer rod will help pick up line and with your drift, especially on larger water. The fish in Ontario as you know are typically much larger and more aggressive fish, so an 8wt may be preferred if you're looking for something to cover you in both of the GL trib systems. Consider where you'll be doing the majority of your fly fishing, Erie Tribs or Ontario and make your decision on that. If it's split, you may want to go 8, if it's mostly Erie and on occasion Ontario, then a 7 may be preferred.
As for reels, You can't go wrong with Lamson, even the Guru is a good choice if you want to save a few bucks and get a quality reel with a solid drag. You could then apply a few more $$ to the rod or whatever else.
Go to International Angler in Robinson, tell those guys in there where you'll be fishing and let them know your budget. They'll take great care of you! Super bunch of guys and a top notch fly shop. Lake Erie Ultimate Angler in Erie is also a great shop. If you're headed there and in need of anything fly fishing related, stop in.
Good luck and let us know what you end up going with. Steelies are moving into those tribs!
Right now im leaning towards the TFO BVK 8wt. I handled it at Cabelas over the weekend, and it felt just as good as the top of the line Sage rods. It was very light, and balanced perfectly with the 3.5 Lamson Litespeed. I handled some St Croix Avids, Imperials, and Legend Elites. They all seemed much heavier than the TFO. And I could hardly tell the difference between the 7wt and 8wt rods. They were so close.
Ive caught some HUGE steelhead and salmon on downriggers and dipsys in both Ontario and Erie. If im getting into fish of that caliber in the tribs, id definitely feel more comfortable with the 8wt. Im more worried about the 8wt being too much for my bass fishing. I do a lot of bass and crappy fishing in the summer. I guess I could always buy a 5wt later on, and just swap my Litespeed reel on to it?
Jig, welcome to the forum. I see that my buds WT and Jaybo have given you advice here. So,not much more I can add. I've used anywhere from a 6 to an 8 at Erie..and an 8 to a 10 on the Salmon River in NY. It's the weight of the rig vs. the fatigue on my forearm anymore(old man syndrome here). This year, I'm using a 7. The 9 footer Jaybo mentioned in fact. WT is right about the tribs. Blown out well right now. A run is on the way I'm sure.
Jig, welcome to the forum and to flyfishing for Steel...The rod choice you're looking at will be a good all round rod for you; thinking the 8 because of the Salmon is the way to go. One suggestion for you TFO makes an 8wt that is 10 foot; you might want to check it out. Most of my Steelhead arsenal consists of longer rods....