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Does anyone use a 6 weight switch rod for steelhead? Is it enough rod? Looking at a 11 foot 4 inch 6 weight switch rod. I will be fishing east great lake tribs. Thanks
 

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I ended up with a 11' 7wt switch that I can indicator fish and swing for steelhead. I also have a 12' 6wt spey that will be a dedicated summer steelhead/big trout rod.
 

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Unless I am on one of our larger GL Tribs I use either an 11'7" 7 wt or an 11'9" 6wt. Both get the job done.
 

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I landed my first steelhead on a 4100 Z-Axis. ((For the record, I don't advise anyone to EVER do that!!)) A 6 switch is about comparable to a 9ft 8 or 9wt, which is plenty good. Have fun. I pray for you if you tie in to a king tho.
 

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Thanks guys. I am looking at a sage 11 foot 4 inch 6 weight for east tribs. I have a Scott L2h 11 foot 5 in 8 weight but its a little heavy to swing around all day for steelhead. I really don't swing for salmon or steelhead. I use the chuck and duck rig (bottom bouncing) for steelhead and salmon. Very effective method here on the east coast. I am looking at a switch rod around 5 1/2 ounces or a little more.
 

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11 feet 4 inches is as good a length for a switch rod as any other, butt don't think of it as a Eucalidian Golden Mean. A six inch difference is very minor, and a three inch difference is undetectable (to me, at any rate).
 

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Its more a function of how far you need to cast, how big the fish get in your waters and how big of fly you want to cast. My Pieroway Renegade 10.5' 6wt works great for smaller rivers like the Ronde and the upper Salmon where the A run fish are usually between 5 and 8 pounds. I've also used my Meiser 11'7" #5 in the same waters and had no difficulty landing fish.
 

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I fish an 11' 6wt Meiser switch for local coastal summer run steelhead (average 6-10lbs) on a couple small rivers. I fish a dry line with a wet or dry fly, and its joy to cast and handles the fish well. When I fish for larger steelhead on larger rivers or with sink tips, I step up to a longer and heavier rod.
 

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Not all 6wt's are built the same...fished a 12' 6" NRX 6wt the other day on the Chilliwack/Vedder River and landed a 13-15lbs steelhead. River was very low with little current. I also have a 11' 6" 6wt Rainshadow Immortal but won't fish it for steelhead as it will bottom out.

It also depends a lot on how you fight a fish - with the rod (i.e. with the butt or mid section), the type of reel you use (i.e. click and pawl vs. drag) and how you use the two together.

A 6wt spey should be fine for eastern tribs...I fished a 7/8wt NRX on the Saugeen and it was overkill.
 

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I think it comes down to respect for the fish.

Can you quickly land and release the fish you are seeking with a 6 wt rod?
I have seen too many steelhead caught with a noodle of a rod not up to the task and by the time the fish is landed the lactic acid build up will surely kill the fish.

It’s not about using lighter and lighter rods.
It’s about preserving our steelhead
 

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I think it comes down to respect for the fish.

Can you quickly land and release the fish you are seeking with a 6 wt rod?
I have seen too many steelhead caught with a noodle of a rod not up to the task and by the time the fish is landed the lactic acid build up will surely kill the fish.

It’s not about using lighter and lighter rods.
It’s about preserving our steelhead
Exactly. I don't fish there any more, but I think a heavier 6 (spey weighted 6 rather than a sh 6), is enough for Erie trips, where the fish are generally a bit smaller than the Ontario fish. On Ontario trips, I'd want a 7.
 

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You know it’s kind of funny, there are times where a 6wt almost felt overkill for some fish and times where I was using an 8wt and got beat up!

But yes, for Great Lake tribs a 6wt has the juice (most rods) to stick it to a Steelhead. Someone mentioned above fighting the fish with the butt of the rod......very true. If you think there will be big fish in use some 15lb tippet and bend that rod like you wanted to break it! I’m always surprised how much stress these switch/Spey rods will take. Lots of reserve power in these longer rods
 

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I think it comes down to respect for the fish.

Can you quickly land and release the fish you are seeking with a 6 wt rod?
I have seen too many steelhead caught with a noodle of a rod not up to the task and by the time the fish is landed the lactic acid build up will surely kill the fish.

It’s not about using lighter and lighter rods.
It’s about preserving our steelhead
You can definitely use a 6wt to land steelhead quickly. The one I landed took all but 4-5 minutes to land...very slow current, drag system reel and using all parts of the rod to fight/tire the fish...also using 15lbs leader helps to manage the entire set up. Now, with that said, with my 8/9wt NRX, I wouldn't have to do the ballet dance to fight the fish:)...in fact, I would look like a hero standing in one place fighting the fish with one hand:chuckle:

With that said, would I use the same 6wt after a good rainfall and the current is stronger, no I wouldn't...that's why I have a 7wt and 8/9wt.

Back east (Ontario), I too have seen many fish floating belly up down the river as a result of guys using a 4lb leader, noodle-ish rod (centerpinning - not spey) and fighting the fish for 20 minutes. They would run up and down the river trying to fight the fish and when they finally landed it, there were hi-5's all around...after "beaching" it, covered with sand, they release the fish too quickly and the fish just goes belly up as it is exhausted.

Bringing it back to BC, on the same river last fall (Chilliwack/Vedder river), I saw a guy walk a 5-6 lbs coho down the river 40 feet yelling "Fishing ON!!!" and telling everyone to pull in their lines...by the thickness of the rod and the bend of the rod, I know he uses the same rod for Springs/Kings/Chinooks:tsk_tsk:
 

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Thanks guys. I am looking at a sage 11 foot 4 inch 6 weight for east tribs. I have a Scott L2h 11 foot 5 in 8 weight but its a little heavy to swing around all day for steelhead. I really don't swing for salmon or steelhead. I use the chuck and duck rig (bottom bouncing) for steelhead and salmon. Very effective method here on the east coast. I am looking at a switch rod around 5 1/2 ounces or a little more.
A story from personal experience, so take it FWIW. I fish the SR in Nov/Dec for steelhead using a 7 wt switch. I target steelhead exclusively. Last year a fresh King salmon slammed my intruder and took off for the Lake. I decided to do the ethical thing and play him to land and release, instead of breaking off. After a few runs, he was coming to shore,,,,, so I thought,,, takes off like a Maserati again and snap goes the rod. Did I do anything wrong? I didn't think so,,,, on the cork, etc,etc,etc,
That being said, I think a 6 wt switch is a great rod for steelhead in the NE. Moral of story is,,,even though you might not be targeting salmon, if there in the mix and decide to whack that fly,,, be prepared. Good Luck and have fun.
 

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I think most that would need to ask the question "is a 6 weight enough rod for steelhead ?" should not be using a 6wt. yes, for those relative few anglers that really know how to fight and land even a fairly small steelhead. lots of folks i've observed (the majority) shouldn't be using a 6wt for a 4lb wild trout !
think about the fish you might hook, not just the typical fish in the river. besides, is there any HARM in landing a typical fish more quickly ?


just because you think you can safely do it, doesn't mean everyone else can !


.
 

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Correct me if I’m wrong but ive read from more than one source that a single hand 10ft 7wt is considered the rod of choice for great lakes steelhead. Doesn’t a 6wt switch have more backbone than a single hand 7wt? If that’s the case shouldn’t the 6wt switch be plenty of rod? Or am I missing something? Not trying to create any controversy...genuinely curious. That being said I was talking to guides that guide the chagrin river in Ohio and they said they almost exclusively use 6wt switch rods for fish in March and April. And the same rods for cattaraugus creek in New York in the fall.
 
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