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This past year just for the heck of it I tried swinging flies on a "stream" that most people said was way to small to "swing" flies on? But I did it anyway and managed to catch a number of steelhead while doing this with a 10' sink tip and a short 3-4' leader/tippet. The river in question was only about 20' wide in the areas where I was fishing. Most of the people that stopped to see what I was doing thought I was nuts until I starting catching fish when they were not? I am wondering if anyone else out there has tried swinging flies, whether it be on a one hander or spey rod, on streams that most people only drift fished with indicators and or dead drift nymphing techniques. :D
 

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Ssssh...... lets be prudent about further open net conversations on this subject and locations, etc.... :D :D

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I bought an 11 ft. 8/9 Loomis IMX about 10 years ago for just this purpose. I use it on several of Western Washington's small steelhead rivers (really more like big creeks) one of which is a winter run river that is only 7 miles from my front door. I swing flies on it with the above rod with sink tips and have caught my share of fish on it. I get some strange looks from the gear guys though. Interestingly, many of them come up to me and strike up a conversation about fly fishing for winter steelhead with the fly. they just didn't think it was possible to catch a winter run on flies in such small waters.

When I lived in Port Angeles, WA, I regularly would fish a small winter run stream, heck it was nearly across the street from my house, a lot. Never saw another fly flinger on this creek, and the gear guys would at times try to tell me I was using the wrong gear until one of them would happen to see me hook a steelhead. Then they would start talking about how they wouldn't believe it if they didn't see it. My neighbors all thought I was a little tetched at first when I would walk upstream in my waders toting my 11 ft rod. After a while, they would simply ask how the fishing had been.
 

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Small?

The question of small -

1. The small streams - yes, small tribs do have fishable runs of steelies, salmon, and here in NY, browns. Yes, they do take flies.
(Who'd a thunk it - we get people from the west coast and rockies coming out here on ANNUAL pilgrimages to catch trophy browns!)

2. The small flies - yes, but I generally try to keep them no smaller than 14s (beadhead nymph patterns, all tied with a "flashback" wing case.) These also work in the large streams.

The fish will take and key in on smaller flies, but fly hooks in size 16 and smaller bend too easily or break when fighting even a medium (4 to 7 lb.) fish. But during the winter, there is a neat extended hatch of small, black stoneflies - about size 18! I usually tie an "undersize" stone fly pattern ( a size 18 stonefly nymph on a size 14 hook). Don't knock it - it works. If you see a bunch of tiny black stonefly cases in the snow, and have a few of these in your box, you're in business!

I normally "indi" fish these, as the fish normally seem too lethargic to chase a swung fly, but occasionally, swinging has saved the day. That's the point - steelies, the other salmonids and their preferences are unpredictable, don't lock in on any one technique, big stream or small.

BobK
 

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Small black stone flies are a go to pattern in winter through out most of the GL rivers. Need to have them in your box for sure, but not below a size 14 and make sure it is a strong hook.

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