What leader-tippet for steelhead?

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fish4life

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What type of leader should I use when fishing small creek with floating line, should I use store bought tapered tippets or just some regular mono. Also was wondering the best way to attach it, right now I tied a nail not to the fly line with 20# mono and then tied a loop in it so i could quickly change out leaders, is this a good idea or not. Also how many feet of leader do you think I should use. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
 
Irishrover

Irishrover

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You are doing the right thing by adding the 20lbs mono and using a loop. Thats what I do with my spey rod set up. It saves your fly line. I use a sinking tip line to help get that fly down to the botttom. A floating line might make that harder for you to do unless you use a heavy weighted fly. The lenght of leader somewhat depends on water condition. If it is clear water go longer if it's a nice steelhead green you can go shorter. I do not use tappered leaders for steelhead. The tappered leader is built to make it easy to turn your line over when casting a dry fly. Most steelhead fly fishing is done on the swing so I will go with 8 to 10lbs mono. Again as to the lenght of your leader it depends so much on the condition and type of water you are fishing. I like to be at the waters edge before I make that call.......generally.....in the 8 to 10 foot range but be flexable there. ;)
 
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junk4jones

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Most steelhead fly fishing is done on the swing

Help a newbie out here. I've splashed dry flies over trout for a few years, but am just now trying for steel. I've done a little reading about the 'wet fly swing', but I'm not certain that's what you're talking about. Your comment makes it sound like you make shorter casts for steel than with a dry fly (??). Clarify?
 
Irishrover

Irishrover

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Yes it is a wet fly swing, but you want that fly down on the bottom where the fish are. That's why I uses the sinking tip. The cast are not shorter especially when using a 13' spey rod. They spey (Skagit style) cast are a varariation of a roll cast and you do not need that real tight loop like you do with lets say a size 16 adams dry fly. The wet fly swing is meant to cover the water. I'm sure you have a good idea of how it works. You start with a short cast toward the opposite bank and let the current swing the fly down stream toward the bank you are fishing from. Next cast out a wee bit further and swing again, then further until you have cast until you cover the water. You next take a few steps down stream and do the same thing until you have covered the hole. That is how the wet fly swing works. I change it up a bit and use the swing to swing the fly through what looks like good holding water. Yesterday I was at Dodge park on the Sandy. I walked down past the big pool down to where there was some fast water broken by large bolders. I looked for the seem the bolders created and cast so as to swing the fly through those seems. I would cast the fly above the head of the bolder and let it swing through that soft water, then cast again and let the fly swing through the soft water and seem created by the bolder on the down river side. Then onto the next promising bolder. I hope that helps. I am not the best at explaining thing in the writen form.;) Perhaps someone else will chime in.
 
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fish4life

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Thanks for the info I do have a sinkinking tip line but I was thinking about a strike indicator and a couple of split shot above the fly, I plan on fishing eagle creek and i doubt i would be able to get all of the sink tip out since it is a small creek or does that not matter.
 
Irishrover

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That method would probably work just fine on a small stream like Eagle Creek. Good luck.
 
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ninja2010

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yeah, swinging is more suitable for wider rivers, where you'd cast either across or slightly downstream and allow your fly to get down and swing on a tight line quartering across the river back to your side of the bank.

if you're fishing ec, then you might fare better with the indy to fish the slots, or bouncing shots drifting.
 
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JoshuaRainey

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Nail knot to perfection loop is a really great way to switch out your leaders on the river. Try a fluorocarbon 10 ft with about 1.5 to 2 ft of tippet on the end. I go with 16lbs leaders and 13lbs tippet for winter steelhead swinging and slightly less for summer. You can also try a Rio sinking leader to get down quick on smaller streams. They come with 10-15lbs mono on the end so cut it off and add 16lbs with a loop and you should be set. For your loops, you should really use fluorocarbon since it doesn't stretch and it doesn't absorb water so it will stay stronger longer.
 
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GDBrown

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Nail knot to perfection loop is a really great way to switch out your leaders on the river. Try a fluorocarbon 10 ft with about 1.5 to 2 ft of tippet on the end. I go with 16lbs leaders and 13lbs tippet for winter steelhead swinging and slightly less for summer. You can also try a Rio sinking leader to get down quick on smaller streams. They come with 10-15lbs mono on the end so cut it off and add 16lbs with a loop and you should be set. For your loops, you should really use fluorocarbon since it doesn't stretch and it doesn't absorb water so it will stay stronger longer.

I sounds like we have a new member to OFFer us some advice. Welcome to the Forum. Please take a moment and introduce yourself in the Meet & Greet section so we can all say Howdy! We have an ever growing number of fly fishers on the forum now and it's always good to see new people join in the fun.
 
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halibuthitman

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if your gonna fish E.C or any other small body of water where slamming the brakes on a fish is required I would ditch the floro... its great on big water where a fight covers more ground and you can work a fish... on small waters you must sometimes point your rod and drive a fish.. and thats where maxima or trilene shines-
 
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junk4jones

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Thanks for lots of good tips, especially to Irishrover for explaining the basics.

Now then...I went in to Kaufmann's in Tigard yesterday to ask some questions and pick up some flies, and the guy there recommended I try nymphing for steelhead with my WF 9 weight floating line. I will try that.

I'm also curious what you all think/know about these Orvis sink tips that you can supposedly just loop onto the end of your floating line. Guy in the fly shop said a sink tip would not work that way because of the weight. (I've already got 9 weight on my rod; adding a sink tip would bump the weight up and overload the rod.) These Orvis dealios look like they're designed for that kind of use. The handful of buyer reviews I've found online are all positive. Any thoughts?

This may be what decides whether I stick with nymphing or maybe get a chance to try swinging some traditional steel flies this winter, too.
 
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