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Steelhead on 6-weight?

Steelhead Fly Fishing

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#1 NoviceFisherman

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 09:05 PM

Is a 6-weight fly rod enough for steelhead? Most of the fishing I do is in smaller streams so its not too deep but it can be snaggy at times. Is a 9-foot 6 weight enough or should I upgrade to a 7 or 8 weight rod?
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#2 finnigan

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 09:26 PM

Some people would say yes. But honestly I think if you get into a bigger fish you're gonna get wooped. If you do play the fish out by the time you get it in it'll be exhausted. Not that it can't be done (I've caught 5 lb smallies on a 4 wt but the fish the rod and myself took a beating).

I'd go for an 8 wt if I were you. Shouldnt have any trouble turning a big fish and if you ever want to toss big bass flies for river smallies you're set.
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#3 Ibstacle

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 12:03 AM

You should try it out. It would be a fun challenge.


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#4 DILLIGAF?!

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 08:56 AM

Do-able. I caught a 12lb steel on 6wt last year. It was late may and I was targeting resis. I usually use 4wt for resis but err on the side of caution just in case there are still steels around and used 6wt. burnt my fingers...


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#5 Will

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 09:59 AM

Some people would say yes. But honestly I think if you get into a bigger fish you're gonna get wooped. If you do play the fish out by the time you get it in it'll be exhausted. Not that it can't be done (I've caught 5 lb smallies on a 4 wt but the fish the rod and myself took a beating).

I'd go for an 8 wt if I were you. Shouldnt have any trouble turning a big fish and if you ever want to toss big bass flies for river smallies you're set.

Agreed. Unless it's a dropback. Not a great idea to overplay a fish getting ready to spawn. A 6-wt would have a hard time handling anything over 5 pounds or so.


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#6 Swing4Steel

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 11:45 AM

Youll have no problems. An 8wt is overkill
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#7 Matt Rickles

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 12:19 PM

Crazy talk....no such thing as overkill....I used a 6wt conversion float rod and found it to be weak. It can be done but it will be at the expense of the fish. Dumb idea i.m.o.
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#8 ApacheFishingVentures

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 12:56 PM

A surprising amount of people saying go for it in a forum that generally preaches conservation... I would most definitely not use a 6wt if you're actually after steelhead. The reality is this: Playing a fish on a 6 wt in any warm weather like we've been having this spring is just asking for trouble and trout opener on almost every southern ontario river is chaotic and if there is any time you want a heavy rod to turn fish around in an instant to avoid getting tangled with another angler, it's then. An 8 wt is overkill for most situations but if you have one, I certainly would consider using it until the crowds die down a bit. However if you're looking to purchase a single hand steelhead rod, go for  a 10' 7wt. Ideal for any steelhead applications in southern ontario. A six will certainly land shakers with ease but lets face it, a little shaker is not what were hoping for when that line starts slipping through your hands. I would personally leave the 6wt at home for steel.


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#9 Berg

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 01:27 PM

Is a 13' noodle float rod any easier on the fish than a 6wt fly rod? I'm not sure... especially when one benefit is a long, long drift.

I've asked your question on forums before... and get the same types of responses. To paraphrase quite a bit: it's quite possible, but not optimal.

However, for the sake of buying a new rod, I don't think going up only one size is practical. Also, out of concern for tiring the fish, I don't think going up one size is justifiable. The proper tool would probably be an 8wt: in addition to fighting power, there's the good roll casting ability with heavy nymphing rigs and ability to use some fancier casting techniques for chunkier streamers. I've only been fly fishing 3 years or so and I have trouble casting the proper presentations on my 6wt.
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#10 Huronfly

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 02:00 PM

No problem in a smaller river... use side pressure and a deep bend in the butt of the rod and you'll be fine.
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#11 DILLIGAF?!

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 02:14 PM

My personal preference for steel and have no problem since using it...8wt 9'6". I'm Just confident with the gear in hand everytime I hook up.


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#12 NoviceFisherman

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 07:01 PM

Thanks for the input! Ill be sticking to heavier stuff for steelhead then.
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#13 Bowie

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 07:40 PM

My pb steel was caught on a 5wt in a small creek and I found it to be fine for the 22" fish in that situation. The rod was working hard but it was manageable. I was able to keep it away from logs and from running down out of the pool. Now this was a small creek, the flow wasn't too strong, no wind, small casting distances etc. If i had to cast longer distances and fight fish in heavy current I would go with my 8wt. As with everything, it depends!


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#14 tombo

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 07:31 AM

I hooked a bigger fish in the niagara whirlpool on my 6wt 9ft, and had absolutely no chance! It was waaay too much fish for the rod. I'd def say a 8wt is a better choice....
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#15 ApacheFishingVentures

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 07:45 AM

I hooked a bigger fish in the niagara whirlpool on my 6wt 9ft, and had absolutely no chance! It was waaay too much fish for the rod. I'd def say a 8wt is a better choice....

lol i'd almost be more inclined to say it was waaaay to much WATER haha once the fish is in there, even a shaker will be gone in a heartbeat on a 6wt. A 8wt would be ideal for the niagara, especially if you go with a 11'6 switch for better mending ability and bombing lasers into that faaaaaar eddy


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#16 Symmetre

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 08:56 AM

Can you do it? Sure. If you're patient you can probably land one on a 3 wt.

 

Should you do it? That's another matter. How do you feel about killing fish? Because at least some of them will die after release.


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#17 Swing4Steel

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 09:58 AM

If you read his original post he's fishing small creeks. Not the same as the lower N..... 6 w in the ditches for dropbacks is fine
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#18 DILLIGAF?!

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 11:21 AM

6wt is do-able in the ditches...it would just be a hell of a fight even with dropbacks...dropbacks can still run..


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#19 ApacheFishingVentures

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 12:20 PM

Like symmetre said, sure it's doable, just not advisable for the sake of the fish.


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#20 ApacheFishingVentures

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 12:22 PM

Same reason musky fisherman don't use bass gear even though most musky could be landed on a 7' Med-heavy. These fish (steelhead) get huge and we know that, so it's not worth the risk of breaking your rod or hurting the fish


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