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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been enjoying tying spey style flies, both feather wings like I have seen with Glasso flies and those with more traditional wings. While I am having fun tying them, river-side I question their suitability for winter steelheading.

As a preface, I still feel like a newbie in the art of swinging a fly. I fear I can't get them down deep enough in faster current. In slower current, I question their "motion" and often opt to a marabou fly.

It seems this class of flies are used in winter steelheading. I fear I am missing something in technique or the type of water one should limit their use in.

Joe Smolt
 

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Joe,

I'm guessing I fish the same rivers you do and almost exclusively fish speys for winter fish. Even my tube flies are tied spey style. I don't fish much fast water in the winter though so I can't help you there other than to say that for what I do, the tip I choose gets me down and if I need more sink, a 3/0 AJ or 2/0 Partridge 10/1 will usually do it. The beauty of speys in my mind is the motion they show in softer flows. They are not as bulky as marabou but the "breath" as well and will sink quicker. Keep at it, fish have been known to like them.

'tip
 

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cast,mend,stumble,swear..
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all speys, all the time...

fish the Glasso style feather wing speys pretty much exclusively, regardless of time of year. spring, summer, fall, winter. It's all good. A common theme you'll hear on this forum is that while the fly is important, presentation, and getting the fly to the fish is likely more so. Winter fish - it's tips time (most of the time), and experimenting w/ different grains/sink rates is needed to find that magic zone. And, yeah, diff between slow and faster water. Slower water, as Tip suggested, is probably more appropriate for winter fish anyway, so it shouldn't be to hard to get there w/ even modest tips. As he said, keep at it.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the words of encouragement. My misgivings come from the fact that I can swing a cone head bunny leach or a chain eye marabou fly with a type VI without snagging the bottom and it is hard to believe an unweighed spey fly (even the 2/0 I've tied for the greater weight) will get down to the same depth.

Joe
 

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cast,mend,stumble,swear..
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I don't think you're missing your mark as far as you think...

The depth of your tip, whether fishing a weighted fly or speyfly, shouldn't vary that much. Effects of the current pulling against the tip will mitigate alot of the effect of your weighted flies (tho, of course, not all of it). My guess, based upon my experience, the difference is less than a foot to foot and a half. More than close enough to move an aggressive fish that will actually take the fly. If you're worried about getting deeper, however, try a type 8/t-14 tip. For my larger river winter fishing w/ speys, w/ depths in that 5-8' range, I'll swing the type 8 and get into fish. It'll scrape bottom on all but the fastest currents i want to fish at 6'.
That said - if you have more confidence that you're fishing your weighted flies and think you have them better dialed in, why switch? I believe the secret to catching is having confidence in the casts your making, the swings your pulling, and water your fishing, and the fly your trailing. what that fly actually is may be of considerable less consequence...
good luck - wish i was fishin' now......
feiger
 

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please!

correct me if i'm wrong but,=didn't i read in the back of a book `about steelhead' where dif. anglers/tiers compiled a list of favorites,that Glasso's `pick' for `summer fish' was a royal coachman,or maybe just a coachman,and then he went into a detailed description of when ,where,for each of his patterns,his creations,in other words=i thought Glasso's flies were/ARE winter patterns:confused:
 

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Junkyard Spey
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Hey Tiger...

When Glassco fished his flies in winter they were winter patterns. When he fished them in summer they must have been summer patterns.:lildevl:

What book?:lildevl:
 

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Joe,

If you are swinging the weighted flies you describe and not ever touching the bottom with a Type VI then you might be fishing either too deep or too fast of water. I try not to dredge but I like to tink along the bottom once or twice in a run. If that is the case, I know I'm down where I want to be.

'tip
 

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o-k MJC!

you called me on it,and i'm going to be honest here,i forgot the writer's name,,yes,i'm a cad,,wanna know why,because that writer changed my life!,,,i was reborn in a sense,had a shop full of cars and every one had an angry owner(don't know why,i didn't wreck em':confused: )and here was THIS BOOK! with all these different tactics, flies, rods,,even the two-handers!=mercy!,i wanted one sooo bad,,,of course no shop had one,the flies in the bins weren't`spey' flies,,,:confused: it was all so distant,yet,,i'll always remember one saturday morning when `duty called'(my auto despair,uhmm i mean auto repair business)and i pulled over and looked thru this book at the middle school where my children attended,in the bright southern oregon spring sunshine the pages jumped out at me,piercing my mind with a new world,, a brilliance if you will,and i thought to myself,if i could only do that,,,wow,look at these people,they're all smiling,if i could tie flies like that,if i had rods like that,if i fished the north umpqua like that,and the Rogue!,,wow!,i never knew!,if i could possibly be allowed to attend and become a very small,(although not very quiet;) )part of that,i'd be so grateful,,,and you now what?,,I DID!:smokin:took a near decade and a fortune lost to do it,but,i wouldn't trade back,no way in this highwatter hell would i!,so there!,take that!=$#@!~+?and [email protected]^%$#@*&>:hihi: ,so,,who wrote `advanced flyfishing and flies'?i'm doing a total brain pharte' tonight:eek:
 

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thank you!

you know i simply must state something(couldn't be the ale,or the cabin fever),:saevilw: ,i based my journey into flyfishing for steelhead on books written by Deke Meyer and Trey Combs,,and why shouldn't i have?,i had no idea of the =`history of the Rogue':whoa: it was just a river i fished when i had time and this is where i get mean when i hear a flyfisher bashing a `bait' guy,sure!=here's a person standing on the bank with a `pole' ,a dozen worms fresh from the corner grocery store,and wearing street clothes:tsk_tsk: ,,,,but you now what?,better watch out!:devil: he might just want what you have,:eek: :chuckle: ,,so,i'm always into `promoting the sport of flyfishing' and, after all,isn't that what it's REALLY all about?:hihi:
 

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cast,mend,stumble,swear..
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Advanced Fly Fishing For Steelhead - Deke Meyer

Did it for me to, in regards to getting into fly fishing for steelhead. The first 3 times I read through it, it was like reading Greek. Made no sense to me. But as Hammer said, the experience, and what could be had on the water, that was enough for me to put the gear away and pick up my 6 weight single hander and a tips line and give it a try. 5 YEARS later, I finally hook my first steelhead (yeah, nymphin' an ESL and glo-bug trailer), but that fish was a freakin' 36" wild buck. Damn! And then I saw those damn two handed rods, and someone that actually knew what he was doing w/ it. And that was it, on the road to ruin. And enjoying every minute of it.... :smokin:
 

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Hammer,

Glasso fished some of his spey flies in summer/fall, specifically his Black Heron and Grey Heron tied on #2 low-water hooks.

The Royal Coachman he fished in summer had a dark grey mid-body section instead of the standard red floss and he also used the G.P. tippet fibers for the tail (and often substituted grey goose for the more common white, but he fished it both ways-white wing and grey wing). He tied this grey mid-body Royal Coachman in #4-#8 hooks.
 

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thank you!

` a grey-bodied royal coachman',,it `popped up' on me but i wadn't sure:confused: ,,could you please post the book you read that in,i'd sure appreciate it,i've loaned out books and of course they haven't returned,,,but ,i'm spreading the love!!!:hihi:
 

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Joe,
Have you tried the Alec Jackson heavy wire spey/steelhead hooks. Those babies get down pretty well, especially when tying the comparatively sparse Glasso flies. The heavy wire makes it hard to get a dainty small head though.

The other thing to bear in mind is (and I'm assuming you use a spey rod) that among its other great advantages a 13-15' spey rod is an effing mending machine. I've watched some experienced OP guides work their runs and it was a real lesson in mending the fly down. A typical sequence could go something like this: cast, reach mend, high stick it when the fly hits the water, upstream mend, stack mend, swing. That may seem like too many mends but if you go through them all in your mind you'll see most of the work is done early on and well before the fly gets into its swing anyhow.

Of course, there's always split shot...;-}

cheers,
daniel
 

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Hammer,

The book you want to look in is Trey Combs 2nd book on steelhead that was published by Frank Amato Publications. I think it is called STEELHEAD FLY FISHING AND FLIES. The reference to Glasso using the grey bodied Royal Coachman in near the end of the book in a section where Trey lists the favorite flies of various at that time well-known steelhead fly fishermen/fly tyers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Daniel:

I just recently got some AJ hooks. I still feel I am using a heavy gauge hooks.

I mend, but my mending is limited. I am using a Skagit shooting head system. I can usually make a strong initial mend, but after that the running line is hard to mend.

I have been experimenting with the idea of counting how long after the initial mend it takes until the line comes under tension. Figure this should work regardless of the current speed. I generally get to a count of 10-12 before full tension.
 

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JD
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Stack mends

It is with a good amount of reservation that I chime in here. As I'm sure this will raise a lot of hackles. And I'll receive my share of flack but..... somehow, a stack mend just goes against the grain. Granted it works. But in order for it to work you have to cast somewhat up stream, pull some slack line, or wait for the current to give you some slack. Then mend some more, hi stick etc. All the while the clock is ticking, the fly is being jerked around, or dead drifting, hopefully sinking. But it is not swimming. Not until it comes under tension.

Correct me if I'm wrong here but I don't remember ever reading anything about a stack mend in Grease line Fishing, Deke Meyer, or Trey Combs books. The late Bill Schaadt, one of the greatest steelhead fly fishers ever, was insistent the line and leader turned over and straightened out completely because he wanted the fly to be fishing immediately. Back in those days, they fished hi density shooting heads a lot. I'd like to see someone stack ment one of those puppies.:saeek:
 

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JD,

Please, chime in. This place would be boring if you didn't....

Maybe I mean something different by stack mend, but basically it's just throwing a small pile of slack into the line after (or instead of) the upstream mend (which is after the fly hits the water downstream and ahead of the tip). The point of the stack is just to let the fly sink more without being pulled upward in the current by the rod/line tension -- I don't see why it has to be cast upstream to accomplish this. (Some people will just feed some line out of the guides after the fly hits -- I think maybe this is called a "slip" cast or something, I just call it pimping).

I only use the stack mend when the water seems deep (and cold) enough to require it. Also, the cast I'm envisioning is made more at 90º to the bank than 45º. I would say after this initial bit of mending the fly is on the swing for about 80% of the deal. Yes, a fish may hit in those first moments when the fly isn't under tension, but if you watch the floating section and pay close attention I think it'd be hard to miss that take. Remember, this a winter-time, deep water, heavy fly technique I'm talking about. I certainly wouldn't stack mend when grease-lining, or even fishing tips in the late fall.

Respectfully, just because Combs or Meyer or Schaadt didn't write about it doesn't mean it can't be done. Those three never wrote about Skagit heads and 12'6" Spey rods either - but they're being done, no? I think some of the beauty of this whole Spey thing is that it can be three parts what came before you and one part what you add to it -- and maybe, if you become a master, that ratio will be inversed.

Good conversation, maybe it needs a new thread so Joe can get his question answered in peace.

cheers,
daniel
 
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