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Discussion Starter #1
I'm heading out to the Naknek River (Alaska) in a few weeks and am trying to sort out which (spey) rods to take, as I have not fished there with two-handers yet. It seems that many prefer a 13' #8. Of course, this is the one length and weight that I do not own. If any of you have been there for fall trout fishing, which rods/line set ups did you prefer?
 

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Trout?

If trout is your main focus, a 13' for #8 is overkill. My 11'7" for 5/6/7 by Meiser or something similar would be a much better match and a lot more fun. It does well with a #8 RIO SAS for floating and a Skagit for sink tip work.
 

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I agree with Ted

A spey rod rated for a 5, 6 or 7 would be about right. These fish are 5-10lbs and while larger fish are there, they are fairly uncommon. You'll be tossing some large weighted flies or eggs and split shot so skagit lines would be a good idea. I am going to the Kvichak Monday and was planning to use my Meiser 13'6/7 but a young guide slipped and broke it a couple of weeks ago so I will probably use my 12.5' 4/5/6 with a Rio AFS that Poppy just sent me. It will be a little small but handles fish to 10lbs well.

If I get really desperate, I could always use my 10' 8wt single hander. I think I remember how to cast it. :)
 

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Mark, I have fished the Kvichak in the past. You may want to consider a little more rod. The flow of that river is an eye opener. In most areas wading past your knees invited a bath. The flow combined with the size of the fish needed a 7 wt at least. This time of year you may run into some chums and your 4/5/6 may be a bit light.

I envy your oppertunity.

Redbone
 

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Thanks Redbone. I know it is on the small side but should work OK in the Braids and on the smaller flyout streams. The 1367 would have been the ticket. I'll have a 9140 as backup and Joe Roupe will have an armful of Loop rods to play with.

PS Those chums better stay away from my flies. They are ugly. Though there might be a few bright Coho around.
 

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Mark, you will be good in the braids. My last time up I had on memorable day. The rest of the party did a fly out to Brooks for the bears and I stayed on the river with one of the guides. Caught a 19" grayling, three bows over 25", four silvers, two chums, and a pike. I can still remember each one four years later.

Redbone
 

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Nankek Rods

I found the Meiser 11'7" for 5/6/7 or 10'6 switch rod to be plenty of rod on the Nannek last year, even with the silvers which were hanging tight to the inside of the bends and didn't need a lot of distance to reach. That said, anything in the 5/6/7 line weight or slightly heavier from the switch rods up to 12'6" or 13' ought to be ideal. I had a 15' 9 weight with me last year and it was only out of the tube once.

A partner in my firm just got back from there and said the rainbow fishing was superb but silvers were scarce -- didn't know if they were early or late. His best rainbow was 32" and he also had several in the high 20 inch range.

Good luck and pass on my regards to the bears.

Stephen Trexler
 

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Chris,

I just returned from fishing the Naknek (Sept. 16-20). I took 3 two handed rods and fished only with the heaviest, my CND Solstice 13' 6/7/8. I would have also used my 6/7 except for the wind, which was brutal. I'd say the rod selection is not as important as line selection. I use basic short belly Spey lines (~50-55'), so that's what I took. Due to the wind and the channel characteristics, a Skagit head is the best choice. Even without the wind, you seldom have much backcast room for a D loop. There are no gravel bars; you step off the tundra into knee deep water. It's usually very swift current 10-15' from the bank, so wading far out is limited to selected riffles. Frequently you will be best served wading knee to thigh deep, and with very little D loop space, pitch a weighted flesh fly 80' into a 20-30 knot wind. When the cast lands true, you'll be rewarded with some smashing strikes.

You need to cast large heavy flies, flesh patterns (4-5") and black leeches, sometimes weighted. Again, the Skagit head is the better line choice. If I were going again next week, I'd take 2, just in case. Some of the trout are large, and the current is powerful. I'd tie all my flies on size 2 or 1 hooks instead of 4s. I had many hits that wouldn't stick, or stick long enough for the first jump, and then be gone. Large hooks on tube flies and string leeches seemed to improve the holding until the fish was landed.

Dress warm and good luck!

Sincerely,

Salmo g.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Salmo,

Thanks for the report! I'm leaving Monday afternoon so I'm really psyched. I recently bought a Hardy Swift 13' #8 and Bougle reel to match, so I am excited to break those in on a magnum rainbow. I also have the triple articulated flesh flies and leeches you mentioned. Once I get a few under my belt, I also want to try a mouse on the two-hander, as I have heard that it is possible to take one like that at this time of year. Just one would be amazing! I decided to also bring along my Sage 9140 just in case the wind is out of control, as it can be. I'll take some pics and post them.

Take care,

Chris
 

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I will agree with Salmo G

A 7 or 8 wt. single-handed rod is sufficient for these fish. The equivalent two hander, say a 4 or 5 weight, while sufficient for the fish is not enough rod to throw the flies. An 8 weight two hander with a Skagit line is needed to pluck the lead eyed articulated leaches out of the water. Using a smaller fly that is tied with marabou, unweighted, with a tip and dead drifted close to the bottom and then allowed to swing, will allow you to use a smaller rod. Some days though the lead eyed articulated flesh fly tied with rabbit is what they want, and in that case you'll need a lot or weight in your fly line to carry the fly to the target.
 

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I just returned from four days of fishing on the Naknek River. I took two spey rods with me. One a Winston BIIx 13'3" 7/8 and the second a Winston 14' 8/9. I had both rod outfitted with SA Skagit line 500 grains for the 7/8 and 550 grains for the 8/9. I also had along SA short head lines for the rods.

We were fishing large weighted flesh flies and leaches. The the flies were weighted with barbell eyes and some of the flies were very full rabbit fur. I found that flies with lighter rabbit fur profiles came out of the water better during the cast.

My preference was for the 7/8 rod with the Skagit 500 and a type 8 tip. With this set up casting the bigger flies was not difficult and making casts in the 60-80 foot range were possible with little effort. The rod handled several fish in the mid twenty inches and two fish that measured 31" x 17". I did not fee under gunned in the least.

I fished the 8/9 rod some and felt that the rod was more than was needed for both the casting and the fish.

In previous years, I have fished the Naknek with a 12'6" 6 wt. While the rod fished ok, it made casting the heavy tip and big flies more work. I would not hesitate to recommend a good 7 wt for the Naknek River spey fishing.

akcaster
RL Winston and Scientific Angler Pro Staff
 
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