Hello to the board - a rod review - a couple of questions - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-18-2001, 03:55 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2002
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Originator: Peter-s-cDate: 12/17/2001 11:55 PM

Been lurking here a bit and tried posting once or twice but never saw anything show up. I’m trying again. I have a number of questions and a rod review that I have posted to the UK/Euro discussion group.

About me – I’ve been fishing for Great Lakes steelhead with a spey rod for about five years however for much of that time, I tended to use the rod unconventionally. Usually I stripped streamers and occasionally used the rod more like a long nymphing single-hander (heresy, I know.) When I did spey cast, it was often with wet flies on the end of one of my long, single-handed rods rather than the big spey. Most of my spey rod usage was has been along the shore of the Niagara River Whirlpool and twice surf casting for stripers. I’ve been fishing more conventionally of late and I have done OK when the water is murky or stained but in clear, cold water I’m batting an O-fer. Obviously my presentation skills and fly choice still needs some work.

When fishing the bigger Lake Ontario, Lake Huron, and Lake Erie tribs, in dirty water, I use large purple, black, or brown marabou speys (with an accent colour.) In stained water, I use chartreuse, yellow, orange or white in a slightly smaller, sparser tie. In clear water, I’ve used a combination of either small, bright flies or small drab ones. I have taken steelhead on small, black stones when nymphing in such conditions and I’m wondering about using either the same flies or small, black wets, with the spey. Does all of this sound like a reasonable approach?

Presentation-wise, I normally use a "greased-line" to wet fly swing, casting slightly upstream, dead drifting through the water directly across from me with upstream mends to slow things down followed by a conventional wet fly swing. Most hits in the murky stuff have come either on the transition from dead drift to swing or at the end of the swing. If I go with black stones, I presume I should concentrate on the dead drift segment though strike detection might be an issue.

For terminal gear, in the off coloured stuff, I’ve done OK using 10’ Airflo Super Extra Fast Sinking Polyleaders followed by 4’ of tippet but when I use the same rig in the clear, I don’t get a single tap. I’m wondering about using 15’ mono leaders with a combination of weighted fly and/or splitshot when fishing in clear, cold conditions. I’ve often wondered about using a large marabou spey with a small, drab dropper fly and I’ve noted the various discussions on this subject that have already taken place about multiple flies. I understand the purist position, but since Great Lakes steelheading is hardly a purist endeavour, my only concerns become one of doing it effectively and obeying the law. The idea would be to have the big, bright spey get their attention but have the fish take the little dropper fly. I am wondering if anybody has found this to be an effective approach in clear, cold conditions. I have seen steelhead in the same water, react differently to large flies, either shying away or reacting aggressively. Obviously, I don’t want to attempt something that would put them off.

What do you think?


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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-18-2001, 08:37 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: Fred EvansDate: 12/18/2001 4:37 AM
Well third  da.... wack at getting on AOL. Started with these "folks" when it was aol. Now it's AOL and it's all Ah-xx-xx. You fill in the blanks.
Great question, looking forward to the answers from the folk who know 'where of they speak.'
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-19-2001, 02:37 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: Mr.ShanksDate: 12/18/2001 10:37 PM
Hi Peter
I read your post.
I believe I'm from the same area as you ( Stoney Creek Ont.) I've not been Spey casting that long, but I'm very enthusiastic.
There are a number of things coming up that you might be interested in ( Spey Casting course with Dana Strun, and Josef Teschl in the spring) as well as we've started a tying club ( Steelhead and Atlantic Salmon flies only).  The only rule is each member is responsible to teach a lesson of his or her's favorite pattern. Next meeting Jan 13th @ Grindstone angling (Waterdown Ontario) 9am till 1:00
If you would like to discuse this further please call me @ (905)-662-8999 or e-mail
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-19-2001, 03:53 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: Peter-s-cDate: 12/18/2001 11:53 PM
Hey Rick, we've had this chat already - when you coming off the Grand at Whiteman's - remember? 
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-19-2001, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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Originator: PatrickDate: 12/19/2001 5:30 PM
Sounds like you're heading in the right direction. I wouldn't worry too much about spooking fish in clear water with sink tips. Stick with it. Fly size and colour is more important in clear water. My friend swears by a size 2 Lady Caroline for great lakes tribs in clear water.
Keep moving a find water that is less defined a use the 2 hander to cover as much water as possible. That's one of the avantages of swinging flies. Look at what Atantic salmon and west coast fly rodders do in those conditions. Some of it can work here too..
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-20-2001, 10:27 PM Thread Starter
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Originator: West MichDate: 12/20/2001 6:27 PM

Great Lakes steelheading can be as "purist" as you want it to be. Believe it or not, some of us only swing flies and stay away from bedding fish. It's up to you on what technique you employ. It's more enjoyable for me to catch fish swinging big streamers. I believe the biggest and most agressive fish in the pool are more likely to hit those flies. Of course you won't hook as many fish as if you were indicator fishing but you'll land a much higher percentage. Persistence and confidence are the keys. As Patrick said "stick with it".

I enjoyed your web pages. Let me know if you visit the Muskegon again as I fish there weekly and would be willing to share some insight. The bigger rivers here like the Muskegon and Manistee are well suited to speyrods & swinging flies. Happy casting.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-21-2001, 06:55 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: Peter-s-cDate: 12/21/2001 2:55 AM
Thanks for your reply.  I very much enjoyed my time on the Muskegon and I do plan to go back.  When the oppotunity arises, no doubt I'll post my plans here.  BTW, our guide strongly advised against me taking my big streamers and I left them in the truck.  Once I got a good look at the water and the fish, I regretted that decision.  Nymphing is way down on my list of fun ways to fish but there's no doubt it's a good way to avoid a skunking.
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