Spey Pages banner
21 - 28 of 28 Posts

49 Posts
Group hug

Hey, far be it from me to tell anyone what to do. I'm not and do not want to be an expert. The main point I was trying to make was that “we all”, everyone around the world who fishes for anadromous fish with a fly rod, have a lot more in common than we have differences. By the very nature of fishing with a fly rod, be it a double hander, we are drawn towards fishing certain types of water that suit our delivery. i.e. we generally fish medium to large rivers with medium to fast flows with an average preferred depth of 2 to 8 feet. This is a generality, but a fairly true statement whether you are fishing in the PNW, Great Lakes, East Coast, Iceland, UK, Scandinavia, Russia, etc.

Yes they fish short shooting head in Scandinavia because they have rivers with tight banks, but they also have big wide flowing rivers that they fish from boats. You can fish Skagit style rigs on the Skagit River, but you can also fish it very effectively with an 18 foot rod and a long-belly line.

I can fish Great Lakes rivers in late November and catch steelhead with a WindCutter and a type 8 head with a 3/0 marabou fly, or I can fish a double taper floater and a size 2 Lady Caroline and catch fish. That has more to do with the specific pool or run I'm fishing and the preferred type of setup I like to fish with than the simple fact that I'm fishing on a Great Lakes river. There is this dogma that you need to get down fast to catch Great Lakes fish, and at times you do, but most of the times you don't. Some of the problems arise with methodology, when people try to force an approach, double handed rod fishing, on types of water that it is not suitable for.

My only concern is for new anglers, if they are told or lead to believe that there is a Great Lakes Spey Methodology and it is this ……(insert what you feel it is), then you are limiting them from all of the options that are available for them to catch fish and have fun. It is counter productive to promote a Great Lakes Spey Methodology because at the end of the day you are fishing for fish under changing conditions and with your own preferred approach whether that is in the Great Lakes, PNW or wherever you swing a fly.

Whatever floats your boat or swims your fly, have fun.


20 Posts
Hello everyone!

I could not stay away...the short salmon season has ended and its long way to next June...

Well any way - I saw my name mentioned fwe times under this post and I might aswell share some of my ideas and toughts.

Steelhead fishing was really nice, really nice. The fish has same type of mystery around that seatrout has here and the fishing tactics are pretty close to eatch other, my opinion at the moment. Still learning...

What I have seen and noticed when fished Muskegeon at spring the main idea was getting the fly down and find the fish on slow moving areas - tail waters mainly?
Well with sinkin shooting heads its very easy to get fly where You want and when You allready know the patterns to use, well it cant be that hard, can it.

I still not do well my mind- If You think how mutch there was fish and how good "guides" I had :cool: ...something still bothers me.

And the main reason is : I dont know my target (steelhead) that well - How they act, where they drop ( spring) or when they move and why. How mutch doest the water level efect the running on fresh fish (fall )?
That would be nice to know and learn. Is the steelhed moving at night time? Is it runnig up the river like salmon or is it whondering like seatrout at the times in MI rivers? And where they stop when running up to spawn. I dont like fish them on "reds" - thats not fun :mad:

I belive when I learn to know these things I can do better as steelhad fisher :smokin:

I also belive that using shooting heads in Muskegeon my fishing is atleast 70% more efective than using these long belly sink tip lines... :whoa:
When You have floating belly and sink tip under 15´ that fly aint swimming where it should. Unless You want to fish it very slowly- that I can understand when water is really , really cold You need to do that.

At the spring all the fish I hooked took my fly on pretty fast swing and I was stripping the fly in. This was when fishing whit Sculping patterns.
What if You would use fully sinking head and short leader whit big fly that would not have that much of weight? You would get your fly down really quik and You could start to strip it in soon as the fly hits the water, but You could also fish slowly whit light fly close to bottom? This is possible whit tubes whit plastic body not heavy single hooks!
This is the main style I use when fishing June salmon and late fall seatrout.

The Muskegeon river is perfect for sinking shooting heads... :)
Perfect for Scandinavia style fishing. ;)

And one thing, allways no matter how new/nubie/starter/green You are learn to cast the gear You mainly fish, ones you got that you can start to fish and You dont have to think casting while fishing...fish hard, really hard - give all you got.

I got hooked on steelhead fishing really badly and in future I will hopefully spend many of my fishing weeks after steelhead instead fishing the Atlantics in Europe. Its something new...


Hopefully You could understand even little bit - my spelling really sucks

974 Posts

Much of the Great Lakes discussion has mentioned the Muskegon River. While the Muskegon is a a great river, it is not the only river in the GL's nor is it even close to being a typical GL'strib. It is certainly not like the WI rivers that I fish which are smaller, not nearly as deep and without the water velocity of the Big Mo. The rivers that I fish are usually frozen solid right after the Christmas Holidays. In short, the Muskegon is not the typical GL's river and methods used there may not be appropriate on other rivers.

David Dornblaser

283 Posts
To get back to Dana's original query, I think that Skagit is making an impact on the GL rivers that I fish. I think a lot of anglers started using tips or sinking leaders because of the water and weather. Since it gets cold very fast and stays that way for months on end your odds on hooking up when fishing with two-handed rods, or even Spey casting single handers, has to do with how easy and effective you can "huck your bug" and fish it where it needs to be. So I think Skagit is catching on for it's ability to deliver weighty flies while covered in 5 layers of capilene, but so are other forms are too.

I know that early in the season I really like mid-spey lines with long floating leaders with smaller Spey flies or (heavens!!) damp flies. I will work a longer thinner floating line since the water may be low and clear. I'd rather not throw a heavier head, even if its all floating, and try and work more conventionally. The fish that take at this time of year are quite memorable.

When the weather turns and you have to go to the sunk line Windcutters, Bass Tapers (yup, I said it), and shootings heads are all under consideration by many of us. I think it depends on the style and personality of the caster, all the characteristics of the water, and the character of the river. There's a whole lot of "it depends" going on which is why sometimes I feel like there isn't a fly line I didn't like to buy and stow in the travel bag.

The really good news is that there are great resources for the Spey casters and GL fishermen have always been willing to test and learn new things. There is a real 'want' in the area to learn these various styles and apply them. Necessity is the mother of invention in my mind, and most of the successful GL Spey casters have adopted, or adapted, techniques appropriate to their fishing conditions and home rivers.

Regarding the newbies and direction. Nothing like attending one of the well organized Claves in the area to get your head screwed on right. Wish they were available 10 years ago so I don't have to undo that many years of bad habits.


fly on little wing
1,167 Posts
hello Dana

I was going to stay low in the current with this topic, but i decided to rise to the fly.

I think that the GL area is still evolving.

It wasn't that long ago the law allowed anglers to rip fish with treble and lead. I can recall witnessing a little ol' lady ripping with a 6' shark pole. She had the technique down with the best of them. Obviously this is not a good thing for young and impressionable minds to watch. How long does it take for this behavior to become forgotten? One or two generations? I saw "anglers" "fishing" for salmon in the PM over Labor Day weekend. Their "bait" was a piece of yarn on a shiny new treble (whole box on the bank). Older generation (50-60) was "teaching" younger generation (20-30) the proper lob and kerplunk, bounce, bounce, and lift approach. Sad.

Back to the topic. We haven't had enough learned 2-handed experiences (let alone "fly fishing" experiences) yet to make a blanket statement. I think most everything can and will work from shooting heads to long bellies. The river and weather conditions will dictate which approach to choose and/or use. Fly size is also an important variable.

I don't like to type alot, so I'm stopping.

Grandpa used a DT. It sunk after use. He didn't have many choices. He caught fish and had fun.

My sons should have a good answer for you in about 20 years.


640 Posts
Another opinion on GL Spey

To me the key to fishing the midwest on the swing is understanding the water temperature variable. Much of our season is spent swinging in very cold water, forcing us to move a fly more slowly and more deeply in the water column to get whacked. I think the midwest style will evolve similar to the NW winter fishing style (as I understand it), with shooting heads and Skagit style lines popular because of their effectiveness and adaptability. The tradeoff is more guide icing with those approaches due to line shooting. The icing leads us to experiment with ways to fish big tips on longer bellies to reduce the need to shoot line. As anywhere, there will be anglers who will be successful with and prefer other setups, but I think the percentages will favor the above for results.


Waiting for the grab...
341 Posts


Who cares who has what style boys...we are all fishing, and having fun I hope. Thanks for strarting this thread though Dana...a debate is always good!!! :saevilw:

We dbl handers are the lunatic fringe of the fly world, and to most other fisherman, we are freaks who like to stand in the water, swinging this long "pole!!!"

As a realitve newbie myself, I can not comment too much on casting. I have been doing the skagit thing this summer and early fall, and it is very effective for the big fly-heavy tip combo. I also have to admit that I am putting my long belly floating line back on a reel for my 8115 Sage(my first spey rod as of 3 years ago, and a not so hidden gem!) It should be interesting to go back to the "old school" while the weather is still warm and the fresh steel is in the river.
21 - 28 of 28 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.