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  1. Default 3Wt or 4wt Trout Spey

    I have booked a once-in-a lifetime trip Alaska trip for next year. We will be swinging flies on spey rods and I want to tune-up my two-handed game by spey fishing for trout this summer. My previous attempts at this were not particularly successful. I built a Batson 10'8 switch about five years ago with a 160-330 grain window and lined it with a Commando head and matching tips (I forget the grains but Reds helped me out on it--I assume that they got it right). I expected to be able to throw a pretty beefy fly with this rig but it pooped out with about a #4 CH Woolly Bugger. I also thought the rod overpowered the fish I did catch which were browns and rainbows in the 16"-19" range. Power wise, the rod felt like a 7 wt. Casting wise, I never really found a groove with it--certainly not the easy-going casts I was getting out of my steelhead spey. I've loaned that rod to a buddy and have no inclination to ask for it back.

    Fast forward to today and I'm looking at the current crop of trout speys and trying to decide on a 3 or a 4wt. Most of my fishing will be on broad runs on the Green in Utah and maybe Wyoming, but the Missouri is on my radar and there are obviously other streams around. On the Green I typically fish a 6wt single-handed rod with a type III line. In these big runs I usually use CH Woolly Buggers 4-8, #6 slump busters, sculpzillas, and most recently a #4 Lil' Kim. I'm not expecting this rod to throw Dungeons and Cheech Leeches. My research says to get the #4 spey for streamers but I don't want to overpower the fish I catch. Most people talk about the #3s as being more all-rounders but I'm mostly interested in swinging bigger flies. Thoughts? Downsize my streamers? Or just go for the #4 and enjoy the tug?

  2. #2

    Default Re: 3Wt or 4wt Trout Spey

    Either the 3 or 4 is a fine choice for trout I would say and if "bigger streamers" is your interest the 4 will be the better choice. However , some of the ones you named are pretty big and when wet heavy. You might find downsizing will be more enjoyable and if you tie even better. There are quite a few "Trout Spey " patterns and mini Intruder style flies out there that have a large profile but cast light.

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  4. #3

    Default 3Wt or 4wt Trout Spey

    Hey! Sorry, a bit of a long post..

    A quality long 4wt. Trout Spey is definitely not too much for any trout really.

    The Burkheimer 4114-4 is great, and so is their 5115-4. Get both and use the 5wt. in Alaska, with bigger flies, and on bigger trout streams, and the 4wt. on pretty much any trout stream can be made to work nicely.

    The Burkie 4wt. is a great all round trout spey, I donít like to overload it, like you hear often - with the weight of lines some people use on it? I have OPST Commando smooth 250gn, and 5ft. floating tip and 9-10ft of leader. When the fly sizes and flow goes up, I just switch up to the 5wt. (or even a 6wt. on some of the rivers here in NZ).

    The Burkie 5wt. Is a great big river trout rod, I like it with the Commando smooth in 275gn. with the 7.5ft floating tip. and 10-12ft. of leader. Or just a SA Spey Lite Scandi 300gn. Awesome stick. Good from 1lb.ers to 7lb.ers in a flowing river situation.

    They 4 and 5wt. Trout Speyís are not big game rods, they are trout rods.

    I have a T&T DNA Trout Spey 11í6Ē 3wt. which I use as a summer rod when the rivers are pretty low and lower flow - with small soft hackles.
    It casts best with a SA Spey Lite Scandi 260gn. A strong running 4-5 lb fish has it flexing too much in my opinion - it feels like it flexes side to side over its spine. On anything smaller itís brilliant. Casts very crisply, and long - provided itís not too breezy.

    All the above are nicely made rods. I wouldnít hesitate in getting any of the Meiser trout Spey rods either. I have a 13ft. 4/5/6wt. another awesome trout Spey rod. SA SpeyLite Scandi 330gn. goes over 100ft. with relative ease. I would use it on anything 1lb. to 8lb.

    I also use a Sage X 13í9Ē 6wt. for trout with a 400gn. Scandi. It doesnít feel too much on a 4lb and upwards trout. And covers a lot of water. Tend to use it in winter on deeper runs and pools with long leaders and heavier flys. Will turn a trout in heavy water. Which can still be a challenge sometimes, even with. 5wt...! Lot of confidence right there.

    The Burkie and Meiser rods are nice easy action rods - progressive tapers - nice to throw relaxed casts with all day. And they bend nicely when fish are hooked, so your fish and tippet doesnít take too much shock.

    The Sage and T&T are faster firmer tipped rods, they donít especially throw a ton more line than slower rods but they do reward good timing more than they do off timing - proficient Spey casters will adapt to all rods and these take more effort to keep working nicely over a long day - until you get to the stage where you donít have to think too much - your muscle memory is totally ingrained.

    If this is your first Trout Spey get a Burkheimer 4114-4, you will never regret it, and it is a rod that any Trout Spey guy would love to own and use. Then see where your tastes take you from there.

    If I could only have one rod it would be that one, or the same line wt. and maybe even longer, from Meiser. I would replace mine immediately if anything happened to it - with the exact same one.

    Always a Hardy Perfect reel for my tastes too...! Buy once, have it for life, as with the rod choices. Sooner you get them the longer you enjoy them!

    The fish donít ever change.

    Cheers and beers,
    Luke
    Last edited by LukeNZ; 12-07-2019 at 09:21 PM.

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  6. #4

    Default Re: 3Wt or 4wt Trout Spey

    Do you want to build your own rod or purchase one? I am looking into the exact same thing, a switch/trout spey rod in a 4 weight. I was eyeing up the Rainshadow but am disappointed to hear your review. See Trident fly fishing website and they recently had a 3/4 weight trout spey shootout. Yellowstone Angler had one as well in a heavier weight range. The Sage trout spey rods get great reviews. You can of course buy finished or as a blank. T&T blanks are available at Bearsden. The Winston micro spey is in finished or blank, and while it is on the soft side, is supposedly quite nice. The Redington Hyrdrogen trout spey is supposedly a great buy at $300.

  7. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Portland and Maupin, Oregon
    Posts
    1,670

    Default Re: 3Wt or 4wt Trout Spey

    To solve the large fly problem you might try lightly weighted large profile tube flies. That’s what I use for steelhead...

  8. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Wasilla / Skwentna, Alaska
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    Default Re: 3Wt or 4wt Trout Spey

    Quote Originally Posted by dbgoff View Post
    I have booked a once-in-a lifetime trip Alaska trip for next year. We will be swinging flies on spey rods and I want to tune-up my two-handed game by spey fishing for trout this summer. My previous attempts at this were not particularly successful. I built a Batson 10'8 switch about five years ago with a 160-330 grain window and lined it with a Commando head and matching tips (I forget the grains but Reds helped me out on it--I assume that they got it right). I expected to be able to throw a pretty beefy fly with this rig but it pooped out with about a #4 CH Woolly Bugger. I also thought the rod overpowered the fish I did catch which were browns and rainbows in the 16"-19" range. Power wise, the rod felt like a 7 wt. Casting wise, I never really found a groove with it--certainly not the easy-going casts I was getting out of my steelhead spey. I've loaned that rod to a buddy and have no inclination to ask for it back.

    Fast forward to today and I'm looking at the current crop of trout speys and trying to decide on a 3 or a 4wt. Most of my fishing will be on broad runs on the Green in Utah and maybe Wyoming, but the Missouri is on my radar and there are obviously other streams around. On the Green I typically fish a 6wt single-handed rod with a type III line. In these big runs I usually use CH Woolly Buggers 4-8, #6 slump busters, sculpzillas, and most recently a #4 Lil' Kim. I'm not expecting this rod to throw Dungeons and Cheech Leeches. My research says to get the #4 spey for streamers but I don't want to overpower the fish I catch. Most people talk about the #3s as being more all-rounders but I'm mostly interested in swinging bigger flies. Thoughts? Downsize my streamers? Or just go for the #4 and enjoy the tug?
    I'm confused and also have some questions.

    Your post says that you booked a trip for next year but you will be swinging flies for trout "this summer".

    It would be helpful to know the destination in AK. because I may know a little about the size of rivers and fish where you are going.

    Because I live here (AK.) and fish here I would always advise people toward the heavier rod / line match up because of what you have already mentioned about difficulty casting larger flies. Basically the heavier the better for casting wet flies like streamers tubes and other assorted patterns here.

    The concept of a rod overpowering a fish is lost on me. Does that mean that you can simply reel them in without 5 or more minutes spent playing them? If so that is a positive thing in my view. I don't live in the very best place in Alaska to fish but I myself and people fishing with me catch many rainbow trout in excess of 5 pounds here. When fish that size or larger are a probability I think that a 2 hand rod in the 6 / 7 range is about perfect. Rods that size will use a 500 through 575 grain line which will cast whatever you tie onto the leader tippet.

    Bear in mind that bringing a rod best suited for trout fishing in the lower 48 states to Western Alaska to fish for trout / salmon may work out but landing some fish will take a long time. I've fished places where using a heavy rod with 15 pound tippet was a plus because it allowed me to catch more fish in numbers due to not wasting time playing with them.

    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.


    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

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  10. #7

    Default Re: 3Wt or 4wt Trout Spey

    IF I were in your shoes headed to Alaska I'd go with Ard's advice and get a rod dedicated to that challenge.

    Plus I'd look into a pack spey rod for carry-on rather than risk damage/loss of a longer package by the airlines. Epic has a six piece blank and components in a kit.

    Then I'd also get a 3wt trout spey for working trout down here.

    ddb

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  12. #8

    Default 3Wt or 4wt Trout Spey

    Quote Originally Posted by ddb View Post
    IF I were in your shoes headed to Alaska I'd go with Ard's advice and get a rod dedicated to that challenge.

    Plus I'd look into a pack spey rod for carry-on rather than risk damage/loss of a longer package by the airlines. Epic has a six piece blank and components in a kit.

    Then I'd also get a 3wt trout spey for working trout down here.

    ddb
    Donít get the Epic thing? They are very noodley and always are too short for their respective line weights - probably because the full length would make them even noodlier?

    More pieces also disguises the noodleyness of them, because all those extra joints are just an attempt to make them seem firmer.

    The US makes the best rods. Take advantage of that fact.
    Last edited by LukeNZ; 12-07-2019 at 10:09 PM.

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  14. Default Re: 3Wt or 4wt Trout Spey

    Quote Originally Posted by Ard View Post
    I'm confused and also have some questions.

    Your post says that you booked a trip for next year but you will be swinging flies for trout "this summer".

    It would be helpful to know the destination in AK. because I may know a little about the size of rivers and fish where you are going.

    Because I live here (AK.) and fish here I would always advise people toward the heavier rod / line match up because of what you have already mentioned about difficulty casting larger flies. Basically the heavier the better for casting wet flies like streamers tubes and other assorted patterns here.

    The concept of a rod overpowering a fish is lost on me. Does that mean that you can simply reel them in without 5 or more minutes spent playing them? If so that is a positive thing in my view. I don't live in the very best place in Alaska to fish but I myself and people fishing with me catch many rainbow trout in excess of 5 pounds here. When fish that size or larger are a probability I think that a 2 hand rod in the 6 / 7 range is about perfect. Rods that size will use a 500 through 575 grain line which will cast whatever you tie onto the leader tippet.

    Bear in mind that bringing a rod best suited for trout fishing in the lower 48 states to Western Alaska to fish for trout / salmon may work out but landing some fish will take a long time. I've fished places where using a heavy rod with 15 pound tippet was a plus because it allowed me to catch more fish in numbers due to not wasting time playing with them.
    To clarify, I'm just looking for a trout spey to play with on western rivers for trout and make sure my basic spey casting skills are tuned up. I'm already geared up for my Western Alaska trip with appropriate steelhead oriented rods. I lived in Alaska for 13 years and I'm familiar with the guns I'll need for those fish. When I mentioned over-powering fish, I meant the situation where the rod is considerably more powerful than necessary to land a fish. Think grayling on a 7 wt., or high-country brookies on a 6 wt. I'm not interested in playing a fish to the death but it the fish should still bend the rod. A 7wt. rod is usually overkill on the streams I fish in the Rockies. I only use them when I'm stripping monster streamers from a drift boat and there is a realistic chance at a 22" plus fish. 6 wts. get it done the rest of the time for me.
    Last edited by dbgoff; 12-13-2019 at 10:32 AM. Reason: address another question

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  16. Default Re: 3Wt or 4wt Trout Spey

    "get a Burkheimer 4114-4, you will never regret it."

    I got my first Burkie last year--a 9'5" Standard action 6 wt. that I use primarily for float tube fishing. Everyone who picks it up is enchanted. I'm not sure how much of this trout spey I'll do so I'm reluctant to go all on, but in my mind all of my ideal rods are Burkheimers at this point.

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