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  1. Default Larger fish equipment question-Salmon -steelhead

    I have 6/7 wt fly rod/reel, great for trout, bass and pan fish, maybe a larger fish if it strikes.

    My question is, what should I go up to to handle Salmon and steelhead. I am looking at a cortland 8/9 with a vista reel and a Okuma infusion f-904-8.

    What would your suggestion by for wt, size and reel/drag? Any thoughts on what you need, what would be prefect and what a guy needs to know with these fish.


  2. Default Re: Larger fish equipment question-Salmon -steelhead

    Good Question :

    For me I have a Thomas/Thomas 10' 7wt Steelhead rod
    that works great for me several ways. I specifically use it
    for Steelhead & Smallmouth. Plus I have a 9' 9wt for Salmon &
    Largemouth Bass. Both have reels with excellent disc drags.
    If your thinking of going after Salmon I'd recommend a
    9wt rod. You may want to also spend a little more $$$ to get
    a reel that has the drag system to help hold/land that strong
    of a fish, especially if they are fresh in the river. They will get
    into the backing rather quickly.

    Also you may want to find a inexpensive 4wt outfit to fish
    for panfish. A 6/7wt rod probably does not flex too much with
    that size of fish. It's a pretty general rule-of-thumb : the
    lighter the fish the lighter the rod. Plus it's more fun on a
    lighter rod.

    Make sure to hold on when those Big Boys hit,

    Tie One On

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Central Florida

    Default Re: Larger fish equipment question-Salmon -Steelhead

    Hi dogger,

    Now you are talking my kind of fishing. Salmon and Steelhead are big boy fishing. You need good equipment if you do it very much. I am sure you have read that all the reel does is hold the line. That may be true for Trout, Bluegills and Small Bass. With Salmon and Steelhead you need a good reel with a good drag. S&S should be played from the reel as quickly as you can get rid of your slack line. These fish can run you up and down the river and you don't want any fly line laying at your feet. That is the quickest way I know of to lose a big fish.

    The size of the fish has a lot to do with what weight rod is best to use. I caught a 40lb pound King on a 6wt rod. It was not fun. I had no control over the fish and I just held on as best as I could. That was just a 40lb fish and Kings up to 90lbs are caught in Alaska every year. In Alaska I caught most of my Salmon and Steelhead on an 8wt rod. It was good up to and including Silvers. I see that you live in Wisconsin so I assume You are talking Great Lakes Salmon. For every thing in your area except King Salmon I would go with an 8wt or 9wt as "tie one on" suggested. For Kings you need a 10wt to 12wt depending how big the fish are. If I were you I would decide what my primary fish will be and size my outfit for that fish.

    I don't think the Vista reel is going to get the job done. Take a look at the Tioga reel. It is more money but would be a good choice for a low priced reel. Size 8 with Large Arbor is $155 list price.

  4. Default Re: Larger fish equipment question-Salmon -steelhead

    correct, Milwaukee is the nearest city people would know.

    So Lake Michigan and the rivers that run into the lake.

    What makes a good drag, what should I be looking for in a description about the reel? You see many "Steelhead" and "Salmon" rods and reels, but what makes them good!?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Central Florida

    Default Re: Larger fish equipment question-Salmon -Steelhead

    Hi dogger,

    To day we are lucky to have the best assortment of good reels that has ever been available. The use of CNC marchining has given us a flood of wonderful reels that are not too expensive. For Salmon/Steelhead fishing I would want a draw-bar type brake. The best brake material for fast running fish that you might find in Saltwater is probably cork. The problem with cork is it has to be maintained so it is not usually used in a sealed drag. Not that you need a sealed drag. Salmon/Steelhead are not speedsters but they will make long runs and use the currant against you. I would think any of the better made reels would be good regardless what material the brake uses. Choosing a reel for S&S has a lot to do with how much you fish. Someone who makes a trip up north and fishes for two weeks doesn't need a reel as tough as the full time fisherman. I would get a Mid-Arbor to Large-Arbor reel. A standard arbor holds more line but a LA gives you an advantage on retrieval speed. Here is an article you should study. It tells you all you need to know about drags.

  6. Default Re: Larger fish equipment question-Salmon -steelhead

    Thanks Frank,

    Good article and advice...............

  7. Default Re: Larger fish equipment question-Salmon -steelhead

    Hi Dogger,
    I have an inexpensive, but excellent reel for salmon and steelhead (Pflueger Medalist 1595 1/2). I fish some tough water on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State and this reel has hauled in several "hogs" and has yet to fail me. Here is a link about salmon/steelhead reels by the excellent guide Dennis Dickinson of Washington Reels for Steelhead Flyfishing by Dennis Dickson. Good luck.


  8. Default Re: Larger fish equipment question-Salmon -steelhead

    This is slightly off-topic, but I'm about to pick up a rod/reel combo from Cabelas. It's going to be a TFO 8wt TiCrX combo with a Cabelas SR large Arbor reel. My plan is to use it down on the Texas Coast for flats fishing for Reds, Specks, and anything else big enough. And also to use it as a Largemouth Bass rod since I'll be able to through huge honkin bass bugs around with it.

    Cabela's -- Temple Fork Outfitters Lefty Kreh TiCr X/Cabela's SR Fly Combos

    The question is this, would the TiCrX 8wt do well up in the land of Salmon and Steelies, and would the SR reel work if anyone has any experience with it? TFO offers a rod extension to turn the 8wt into a two handed spey rod. I'd seriously consider this as well as over lining the rod.

    My wife and I are headed up to the NW next May/June for a couple of weeks. Does anyone think this rod/reel combo would be good for my limited time? I'm not an everyday fly fisher even though I wish I was...


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Central Florida

    Default Re: Larger fish equipment question-Salmon -Steelhead


    The TFO TiCr X is a very fast rod. You may find it to be a little stiff at first. The combo you are looking at includes a SA GPX fly line and that is 1/2 over weight. That should be a good line for this rod. I think the Spey handle for that rod is a great idea. It is a simple way to try out Spey casting. One thing to consider is the reel you are talking about may not have enough capacity for a Spey line and enough backing.

    I don't know the Cabela's reel but it seems to have a good design. You will have to judge the quality. If it was me I would go with a Tioga LA but it is 3 times the money. With the Tioga you could buy a spare conventional arbor spool for the Spey setup. The trouble with this approach is you sacrifice the Large Arbor advantage and if there is any place you need a LA reel it would be Spey casting.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    South Texas

    Default Re: Larger fish equipment question-Salmon -steelhead

    I think that conversion kit to turn that rod into a Spey-er is designed to make it into a good overhead casting rod as well. If I'm remembering that correctly, that means an integrated shooting head line would work well with it. Those are also known as "Teeny Lines".

    You'll have to get the timing of the casting stroke just right, but with that 2-hander, you'll have no trouble throwing a T-300 100'+. (that line can't be "spey" cast though, that's a whole different animal)

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

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