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Thread: Backpacking Rod

  1. Default Backpacking Rod

    Hi Everyone! Thanks for the great forum. I have been reading all evening and it has been a lot of fun and very informative.

    Now for a question. My wife and I live in Alaska and fish a great deal. We have a few fly setups that we love (not to mention spin gear, casting gear etc...) but we have begun to do some backpacking and are sticking to VERY light packs, so its time for another rod and reel. My wife already has an okuma and ww griggs 4 piece 5wt that she loves and that will be her pack rod, but I need to get something for myself. One problem, living in Denali there aren't exactly any fly shops around to test gear. So, on to the internet for hours of reading and the eventual confusion of conflicting advise. I thought I would toss it out to the experts.

    Here is my plan. Tell me what you think. Budget: $150 (or so). Target: Mostly greyling and smaller trout and dollys. Maybe the occational 20+ inch fish or the random salmon that for some reason decides to take of with your fly. ;-) I was hoping to also get a case with it that would work well for packing.

    My solution: The cabelas 5 piece stow a way with either the Ross Flystart or the CSR reel. I think cabelas will work well as they are great when you don't like a purchase (good return policy is a must when you live in the middle the interior of Alaska) and I have heard good things about the rod as a low cost pack rod.

    Questions: what do you think? Any suggestion on those two reels? And, does anyone know what flyline they include. I know they say weight forward floating, but I can't find which brand they are including. (in other words, will i be buying new line to replace it right away)? I am also swinging back and forth on a 3,4 or 5 wt. For the greyling, the 3 weight will be great fun, but some of these creeks will have some bigger trout and dollys. As I will be packing I don't want to carry multiple rods. (When we raft our boat looks like some sort of giant golf bag, "please caddie, may I have the 9 wt, I see Kings"). But size and weight don't really matter on the raft. Backpacking on the other hand...

    Sorry for the long post but thanks for the great site. Now back to tying flys and watching the snow melt. Wont be long now till the flys start to fly!
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  2. Default Re: Backpacking Rod

    First of all... Welcome to the Forum

    It sound like the Cortland CL 6pc Travel Rod may be ideal for you. At only $169... thats a great price for a quality pack rod. Cortland makes very good fly rods at reasonable prices. Take a look... Click Here

  3. Default Re: Backpacking Rod

    Thanks for the tip. Unfortunately, by the time i tack on a reel and such it is going to be a bit outside what i have to spend this season. I was looking at the site and the st croix premier caught my eye. That is right in line with what I had in mind, but I have never seen one or heard opinions of one (not st croix, that particular rod and reel). How does it compare with the other stuff they offer and how is that reel? Anyone have any experience with these? And how would they compare to the cabela's stow away?

    Also, any suggestions on the weight? I am leaning in the direction of a 4wt as fun on the small creeks but still able to handle a decent size fish if needed.

    I wish this snow would melt faster!!! Reading about fishing instead of fishing is like methadone for a herion addict.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Backpacking Rod

    Hi denalifishy,

    Welcome to the forum. Look forward to heing about your fishing in Alaska. If you are living at Denali you are close to Anchorage and I would make a trip there. There are some great fly shops in Anchorage. This would give you a chance to check out some rods first hand. Buying an inexpensive outfit will not always get you a good rod. If you have other fly setups can you use one of those reels and and put your money into a better rod and line. That St Croix outfit looks good on paper.

    Cabela's usually has pretty good rods and reels. I have not seen the outfit you are talking about. With a packaged outfit you can expect the line not to be the best choice. You will probably want to change it at some point.

    For Grayling and Trout, a 5wt would be fine. However, for Alaska I think a 6wt is a better choice. With a six weight you can catch Grayling, Trout, Dollies and all the Salmon except Kings. I have caught Kings on a 6wt but it is a poor choice. I had a friend fishing a Powell Bamboo rod for Grailing and he hooked a big salmon and broke the rod horsing the fish. Not to say that will happen to you. The reason I suggest a 6wt for Alaska is the type of fishing I assume you will be doing. Most fly fishing in Alaska is done with sink-tip or sinking lines and I found the 6wt was a better choice for that type of fishing. Chunking and Dunking takes a rod with some backbone.

    If you are not fishing wet flies for Grayling you are missing out on the best way I found to catch big Grayling. A lot of people fish dry flies for Grayling and it works quite well. I found that wet flies far out fished dry flies and they caught bigger fish. I think I am wandering off track. Good luck with what ever rod you choose.

  5. Default Re: Backpacking Rod

    Thanks for the thoughts Frank. I guess in Alaska terms Anchorage is pretty close, only 240 miles from my house. But, we drive 130 to Fairbanks to do the grocery shopping. At least we are on the road and can drive there.

    I guess my thought on the lighter setup was to fish mostly dries for the greyling. Not nessasarily because it is the best way to catch them, but mostly because we do so little dry fly fishing up here with lighter gear. And the greyling up here near Denali seem to go nuts for caddis. It would give me a chance to see some sipping at the surface. My first fly caught fish was like that and it blew my mind. I didn't want to touch my spinning real after that very much. Since then, it has been feeling for the hit feet below the surface.

    As you said, up here it is mostly its big streamers, woolybuggers, fleshflys and leeches with sinking tip lines. Most would say that dry fly fishing is only useful here about 10% of the time. I was hoping for kinda a crossover for the packing since I would mostly be on very small creeks with smaller (8-18'') trout and greyling while packing. And hitting the small mountain lakes as well. Do you think a 5wt would work for fishing a bit of both? How big a fly is appropriate on a 5wt? Or is my pack getting heavier with 2 rods already :-)


    This is a great site since it really gets you thinking about those assumptions and rethinking the plans. Thanks again for taking the time to help!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Central Florida
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    Default Re: Backpacking Rod

    Denalifishy,

    For what you are describing, a 5wt would work just fine. It will handle any of the dry flys you are talking about as well as buggers and streamers. I don't think you are going to need two rods. I know exactly where you are located. I lived in Anchorage for 3 years and in Fairbanks for 12 years.

  7. Default Re: Backpacking Rod

    Frank,

    Do you ever get up here anymore? Should be a great year for salmon according F&G.

    Chris

  8. #8

    Default Re: Backpacking Rod

    Take a closer look at your wifes grigg... I have a 5wt 2 piece 8 foot girgg, Its a very nice rod..... You probably only need one pole unless your both avid fishermen... But If one wants to hog the rod then of course you will need two.... I can tell you what the utimate rod is,, a winston 5 wt b2x.... Handles 5 pounders in stiff currrent with out a flinch, and can chunk quite a bit of junk.. Last week I foul hooked a 4 1/2 pound hen with a 4x tippet and a number 20 midge In a big river with lots of current.. ... What a battle that was, but the 5 wt b2x was made for that battle... They have a wimpy tip to protcet tippet and a strong butt for fighting big fish and chunking junk into light wind.. It isnt a good choice for heavy wind tho..... .. Dave

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Central Florida
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    Default Re: Backpacking Rod

    Quote Originally Posted by denalifishy View Post
    Frank,

    Do you ever get up here anymore? Should be a great year for salmon according F&G.

    Chris
    Hi Chris,

    The last time I was back was the winter of 1994/1995. I was there a few months consulting but didn't get to fish. I do hope to get back up there one of these years while I can still fish.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Backpacking Rod

    You're on the right track with Cabela's Stowaway, but go for the Stowaway 7. It's got better graphite, is a little faster, obviously packs smaller and cast beautifully. It's discussed elsewhere on forum.
    We're all in the same boat. We all come 'ere and we don't know why. We all go in our turn and we don't know where. If you are a bit better off, be thankful. And if you don't get into trouble an' make a fool of yourself, well, be thankful for that,'cos you easily might.--J.B.Priestley

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