Originally Posted by robbyz5001
I am debating the same thing you are. I am new to fly fishing, and this post cleared up some confusion.
I started this thread in 2011 when i first started fly fishing for steelhead. Now that I have hooked and caught a few on a 5 weight, I can answer my own question. As indicated by others on this thread, it can be done but it is certainly not the preferred equipment. I lost two or three fish that simply had me outmatched with my 9 foot 5 weight.
I suppose fishing a 5 weight would be a better experience in a more remote stream, but on the crowded streams around Erie, Pennsylvania I would avoid it if possible. In those waters you just don't have the room to fight a fish for 20 minutes and chase it down stream without disrupting other fishermen and losing your spot on the water.
I actually met another guy fishing a 5 weight on Elk creek one day. We fished together for a couple hours until he hooked into a big fish - it would have been his first steelhead on a fly rod. But, when he was trying to hold back the initial run, his rod snapped.
I assume his rod had some defect but I am not surprised that the rod was pushed to its limit. Those a fish are STRONG!
I will not be fishing my 5 weight for steelhead again and I also agree that a ten foot 7 weight should be ideal for that water. I picked one up used last winter. Now if I can just hurry up and decide on a reel!
With all that said, I still had a blast fishing my little 5 weight last year and it still helped me learn a thousand lessons and I even caught a few. There are a lot of things to learn when it comes to fishing steelhead on a fly...but the reward is worth it!