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Dan's Great Lake's Ladder Rig

3790 Views 19 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  dansteelieman
I wanted to stress this a little more, and see if you guys think this is worth a try. I use it often in my home waters of the Great Lakes. Check it out....

The ladder spey system I created is unique. I have never seen anyone doing it, and I made it up last winter. I put some ideas together and firgued out how I could get down, yet not snag up or drag bottom and get my patterns to drift naturally. I finally fooled around and found a way to do this while using traditonal sink tip methods.

With this ladder rig, you will want athin diamter running line since it cuts through the water the cleanest. Make sure to get a floating running line, an intermediate line tends to sag and can create a bow. You can also use a floating flyline with a mono or factory loop, which I prefer to use when I need alot of punch.

Now, you must add the ladder system. I prefer buying the 3ft. and 6ft. sink tips in different sinking rates. You can do it with shooting heads cut into sections, but with pre-made heads, you can buy them as you need them and you will know the sink rate in IPS. I will buy mini heads in 6ft. sections with one of each of the following:

1) A sink rate of 1.5 IPS(often an intermediate line)
2) A sink rate of 2-3 IPS,
3) A sink rate of 3-5 IPS.

The first tip is looped to your flyline(1.5 IPS). You then get a 1'-2' section of 20lb mono or braid and make two loops on each end. Each is looped to another tip. From that loop you have the second head(2-3 IPS) with a section of mono follwoing in the same length. You then will loop your last head on (3-5 IPS). Lastly, tie on your leader, usually 4-6ft from there patterns. I usually run two nymphs or an egg and a nymph combination. Remember to expirement. Oh yeah, to prevent hinging, try to use loops that are smaller or treat them with epoxy or laquer to keep them smooth. You can also tie the mono directly to the heads if desired, but it makes changing them difficult.

For example, if you use this on a 7/8 wt rod, this is how you should set it up. Use a 7wt. head with a sink rate of 1.5 IPS or class II sink tip. Then a 7wt head with a sink rate of 2-3 IPS or a class III or IV sinkl tip. Lastly use an larger, more powerful 8wt head with a 3-5 IPS or a class V or VI sink tip. You can also cut this down as well.....the reason is your shortest head(3' with an 3-5 IPS) will be like the bullet taper that gets you down quickest. Then your leader is dropped from here. Also, questions about hinging might come up or heads sinking at different rates. Well, if done correctly, each part will sink faster than the one before it, pulling it down yet, causing it to straighten out and get a direct connection. By tying each head directly to the mono/braid interval within the system, you insure you are getting most out of the rig.

Well hope this helps. Maybe one day this will become popular in the Great Lakes region. Let me know how it works. I will be out on my local rivers(Clinton, Huron, Piegon, and Mill Creek) using it once again. I wonder if anyone will see what I am doing and try to take my idea??? I hope not! :rolleyes:
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So are you swinging this rig? Like with an across and down type of cast? I realize to fish nymph and egg patterns you would like to be as close to the bottom as possible without snagging the bottom but I still dont get the whole idea here? If you are swinging this setup I would think it creates a very un-natural appearance to have a nymph or egg dragging against the current. If your swinging spey flies and or streamers I dont believe that getting that close to the bottom is a necessity? Good Luck I hope its working for you.
Spey Fishing

I understand the benefits of your rig and while I do fish sink tips myself on my spey rods. I guess the whole two fly, egg/nymph thing is more of what seems to be misunderstood. I fish a great deal in WI and MI for steelhead and Salmon with spey rods. I have never really had a hard time finding or catching fish with the standard spey setup with or without sink tips and using traditional west coast spey patterns. Steelhead are steelhead no matter what there environment is that they live in. They are still for aggressive and willing to move to strike at prey under most conditions. To me it seems that there are a lot of hard core great lakes fisherman that believe that skein, eggs, egg patterns and nymphs are the only way to fish for these critters. I can say wihtout hesitation that this could not be further from the truth. The single biggest problem that most fisherman run into is a lack of faith! Faith in the river you are fishing and the patterns that you are throwing. Steelhead are still migratory fish that go from river to lake/ocean and back to the river again whether it is in the pacific north west, the great lakes, or Russia. Traditional spey fishing with traditional patterns works no matter where you are! Please dont take this the wrong way I am not knocking you for experimenting with sink tip configurations. Everyone does to some extent. I firmly believe that people make steelhead fishing way more complicated and technical than it needs to be.... Good Luck and Tight Lines!:eyecrazy:
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