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  1. Default Backpacking Combo needed

    Hi all,

    This is my first post. Normally I lurk and find my answers with search, but I'm in a bit of a pickle. I live in the South East. Near the house I fish a wide river. And when I go backpacking, there's only small mountain streams with lots of trees. For this reason I have a 2-piece 5wt 9ft'er for near the house, and a 4-piece 4wt 8.5' rod for backpacking.

    The 5 weight is great for the big river, and the bulk of two pieces isn't a big deal for a short drive. The 8.5' 4wt 4piece is great for the mountain creeks and for backpacking.

    I just got back from a weekend fishing some private land in Colorado, and had to take my 4piece 4wt for packability. It was really windy, which I struggled with. But the creeks were pretty narrow and ok to fish with the shorter and lighter stick.

    Next month, I head to the Sierras, where we'll be hitting alpine lakes above the treeline. I'm told it's quite windy. I'm worried the 4 wt 4piece wont give me the distance I need for larger bodies of water, and will not be as easy to cast in the wind. And my 2-piece 5-wt isn't packable.

    So I'm in a pickle. Do I just deal with the 4wt 8ft'er that I already have? Or pick up a decent 5wt 9' that is 4-6 pieces?

    If I were to go with a new backpacking rig for out west, I'm considering a TFO Pro II or a Reddington CT. They both go for $150. The reel I'm considering is a Reddington drift. I don't want to go overboard, since I already have two fine rigs for local fishing.

    It's a weeklong 80 mile backpack trip. We do them every year, and plan to head west more often. My family is Colorado, so there's plenty of weekend trips there as well. Is the 4wt liveable out there, or am I really going to get more out of a new 5wt? Are there better choices for my $250 budget? I'm really worried about wind and larger bodies of water.

  2. Default Re: Backpacking Combo needed

    If you can cast it, look for a fast action, small weight fly rod. The fast action should give you a faster stroke ie less time in the air ie less time to get mucked up. There are plenty of affordable "fast action, great price" rods, and you could probably go down to a 3 wt, but it sounds like a 4wt would do just fine.

  3. Default Re: Backpacking Combo needed

    Wow, so you think even a 3 weight will work on a windy alpine lake at high elevation? If that's the case, maybe I'll save the $250 and take my 4wt 8'6". Thanks!

  4. Default Re: Backpacking Combo needed

    What will work and what works well are two totally different things. But I have used a 3wt with DT line fishing size 6 poppers to pounder bass in wind. Not the best thing in the world, but I would save your money and work with what you have.

    Clean your line, keep with short and thick leaders and you should do just fine.

    Oh, and use nymphs vs dry flies if you can. The wind resistance of a dry fly will throw it around like no other, but if you tie some beadheads on with some 3 or 4x fluoro... golden

  5. Default Re: Backpacking Combo needed

    Just practice up on casting in wind. It can be frustrating, but your rod should be able to handle it fine. Then again, getting a new toy is always good (at least short term).
    Corbin Hart
    Auburn University Fly Fishing Club
    War Eagle/Tight Lines

    Make sure to like our facebook page for a chance to win free flies!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    South Texas

    Default Re: Backpacking Combo needed

    For most fish you'll find in the Sierras, a 3wt is a better fit than a 4 or 5wt. They're pretty small.

    Since you're talking about fishing lakes, I'd get a 4wt sinking line. Sinking lines are more dense and thus are less affected by the wind. You'll need a spare spool or 2nd reel, but that's cheaper than a whole new rig. One of these reels from Cabelas should be perfectly adequate- Cabela's: Cabela's Prestige Plus Fly Reel

    I'd rather hunt fish than bait deer any day.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    So Cal - 33.7645 N, 117.7939 W

    Default Re: Backpacking Combo needed


    You might think about rounding out your rod inventory with a 4pc, 9ft, 6wt.

    Will work out for the windy high altitude lakes and larger Western rivers,
    if you get a chance to fish them.

    Some high altitude lakes may be small but you will probably be fishing from the shore or close to it, into the wind at times. The casts can be long, a 6wt is not too heavy. You can probably put your 8.5' 4wt in the same tube WITH the 9' 6wt, that way you have both available. I travel that way all the time.

    Best of luck whichever way you decide. Welcome to the Forum!
    Last edited by imxer; 06-30-2012 at 12:43 AM.

    Nature, Cheaper than Therapy


  8. Default Re: Backpacking Combo needed

    Thanks all! Sounds like I should be ok most of the time with 4wt. A 6wt sounds interesting, but I'm not sure I would use it much at home. I'm thinking of picking up another spool and loading it with a sinking line for more castable weight.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Backpacking Combo needed

    If you go the second reel route check out these. Same price as the cabelas ones but machined and lighter. May not be top shelf reels but the price is right.

  10. Default Re: Backpacking Combo needed

    I'm a CA native and I just finished a 6 day trip through Yosemite NP and the Mammoth area. Last year, I did a day trip into some high Sierra lakes at ~11,000' elevation.

    Your 864-4 is what I would consider the perfect do-it-all rod for the Sierras. It's light enough for the mostly 8" brookies in the high alpine regions but versatile enough to throw small streamers when you're in the mood.

    As for wind, it typically doesn't blow until noon. Here is a shot of a lake taken at sunrise at 11,000' elevation in the John Muir Wilderness. It's glassy. Absolutely no wind with hundreds of fish rising.

    I fished it using my Superfine Touch 7'6" 1 weight...

    It did become frustrating once the wind started picking up. It seemed as if my casts were always 3 feet too short!

    The light line weights do shine for the creeks that flow into and out of the lakes...

    5 or 6 weight would be complete overkill for gems like this... (CA state fish, Golden Trout)

    My designated high Sierras backpacking rod is a Redington CT 7'6" 3 weight. Here it is in action on a meadow creek in Yosemite last Wednesday...

    Here's the result...

    In order to beat the wind, don't fish when it's windy. Even a 9 weight is going to seem insufficient once the winds pick up above tree line.

    Fish from sunrise to lunch time. When the wind picks up around 11 AM, set the rod aside, bust out the camera, and harness your inner Ansel Adams. Repeat next morning.

    I'm gonna be backpacking in the John Muir Wilderness in a couple weeks. I'll be packing my 6'9" 1 weight TFO Finesse for the little creeks for small goldens, 7'6" 3 wt Redington CT for casting dries into the lake when it's not windy, and my 9' 6 weight TFO BVK with sink tip for casting streamers into the lake to target any lurkers. Reality is that I'll probably do 99% of my fishing in the high country with the 1 and 3 weights. The 6 weight is nothing more than a wild card because I want to see if there are any lurkers that will hit a streamer. Most of the surface feeders are sub 12". Setting the hook with a fast 6 weight on a small high Sierra trout will put it into orbit.
    Last edited by Waterborne; 07-09-2012 at 06:35 PM.

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