This is a small run of fish, but when we find one their stunning, hammering flies and giving serious anglers the ultimate fly fishing challenge. Steelhead fly fishing: the sole reason many people choose to fly fish. ... We learned a little more about swinging flies during that day on the water. Spring steelheader "swinging" tube flies on the upper Grand River, OH (This is the first of a series of articles by John Nagy on fly fishing "Steelhead Alley" tributary streams and rivers. Swinging sink-tips with large flies that are more like streamers than spey flies is … Swinging flies is a concept that is often overlooked or misunderstood. Sometime between early March and the end of April is peak season for the Great Lakes steelhead run. I’m assuming you have an … Not really your ideal weather in Michigan to be swinging flies for spring steelhead, but a good day for a swing none the less. After fly fishing for steelhead for over 30 years I have come to the conclusion that I really enjoy the feel of a steelhead taking a fly on the swing with no slack in the line or leader. When those two visions come together, you’re onto something good. Swinging flies can also work wonders with steelhead when the other heavier methods aren’t getting them to bite. When the lies are very shallow a dry fly that is fished in the same way will also produce fish. When not documenting clients’ outdoor activities, he spends all of his time swinging flies for wild steelhead, casting dry flies to trout in remote lakes, or spinning up fly patterns for a local fly shop. We'll show you what flies will catch those fish. During my career as a wet fly fisherman I have discovered some truths about swinging a fly down and across stream: The winter weather and water conditions, as well as sexually developed fish, create some of the most demanding conditions that the angler will encounter all year. We were able to lock into some great Bull trout while they were chewing hard on swung flies (past spawn attitude) Theres also some cool Cut throat trout footage as well if your into that. Start with a sinking fly line then add 18 inches of 20 lb test, 12 inches of 15 lb test, and 30 inches of 12 lb test for a leader. Winter steelhead have a reputation for being difficult for fly anglers. Jerry French is well recognized amongst the steelhead spey community. The ability to swing or indicator or euro nymph makes this an excellent stick to use, however, not all are made equal. Swinging a fly ultimately means making a cast which gives your fly a chance to flow with the current, lift, and turn rising towards the surface. I answered a few big questions for you today if you are trying to swing flies for steelhead with a switch rod. I’ve been swinging flies for trout and steelhead for over 20-years – classic, winged-wet flies that have been catching trout for over a century in Europe and the United States. Top 10 Winter Steelhead Flies Revealed. Steelhead love them! Jonathan works as a freelance photographer, specializing in fly-fishing imagery from various fishing outfits and lodges in British Columbia. Follow Gink & Gasoline on Facebook: While I personally don’t swing egg flies to steelhead, as a down and across angler of trout I understand why it works and works so well. Swinging flies for Steelhead The Thompson River in British Columbia is famous for its summer-run steelhead, and this video offers a dreamy look at the river and a discussion of what is happening to the steelhead population. This entry was posted in *Recycle, Steelhead and tagged fishing, Fly Fishing, fly fishing lessons, Fly Fishing Photography, Gink and Gasoline, how to fly fish, Kent Klewein, learn to fly fish, Louis Cahill, photography, Steelhead, swinging flies for steelhead by Louis Cahill. Prompting the Territorial Grab: The Slow Swing In March I was fishing an under-the-radar coastal stream where a healthy run of big, wild steelhead returns each winter. Come fish with us in the Bahamas! Over the next few months our steelhead rivers will get pummeled with fierce storms and high water events. Shop with Red's and enjoy a tight line on your next trip. Steelhead Flies are one of our specialties at Red's. The most common way to target these fish would be to utilize two-handed rods, typically 13-14 foot rods in 8 to 9 weight. fishing a beautiful stretch of a quiet Michigan river, swinging a fly with a tight line, only to have your line come tight with an angry steelhead at the other end. Red's offers the very best swinging flies for Steelhead. In the way, however, lie the inevitable challenges of constantly changing river conditions. Thankfully, outside of steelhead circles, down-and-across angling remains limited to a small, occult-like following compared to the numbers of nymph and dry fly anglers. Only “crazies” will wade in a freezing river while making Spey cast after Spey cast with one hope: to find a player and entice it to chase and attack our fly. It definitely turned into an exceptional day with my favorite two-hander and a great time was had. In many ways, steelhead angling is quite a bit harder than some other form of swinging flies. Other times we may see extremely cold, low water conditions. Visualize the motion of the fly. This technique is most common for fishing for salmon and steelhead. In 1876, Michigan’s Daniel Fitzhugh never dreamed that his California rainbow trout experiment on the Au Sable River would result in migratory winter steelhead. However, in the last 10 to 15 years, swinging Great Lakes steelhead, browns, and salmon has become extremely popular, and many opportunities exist in the Great Lakes for any swinging enthusiast. With winter steelhead, you obviously need to get your flies down near the fish, but controlling the swinging line speed is the most critical element for winter steelhead. First off, what does it mean to swing a fly? It’s done in a mindful state. Any list of the top five steelhead flies for spring or for anytime has to include the clown egg. In addition to the clown egg the list also includes our rabbit wiggle nymph pattern , a black stone , Ed’s Salmon Alevin fly and a good sculpin / goby pattern like the Purple Traitor Sculpin. Swinging flies … Except for a few locations out west, we are having to throw large flies and getting them deep. Bookmark the permalink. From steelhead nymphs to big swinging flies, our selection will have you covered. The steelhead and browns can be very aggressive to swung flies and stripped streamers at this time of year as they are feeding on bait before returning to the lakes. Future articles will feature Elk Creek, PA and Cattaraugus Creek, NY) The spring season starts up in March where there is excellent fly fishing for steelhead and also brown trout. While the theories abound as to why steelhead do or don’t take flies, after twenty-two years swinging flies in steelhead water I’ve accepted that I’ll never really know why, I’m just lucky that they do. Swinging Flies Method. If you’re not sure what to get, please contact us at info@alaskaflyfishinggoods.com . Whether you are looking for flies for Alaska steelhead or for fishing in Oregon, Washington, or British Columbia, we have patterns you won’t find anywhere else. So at Grindstone Outfitters, we do a variety of guiding throughout the province of Ontario, the South Central region, mainly we provide the spring steelhead run. These beautiful sea-run rainbow trout grow upwards of 20 pounds and give you some of the best fights of any fish in the world.. On January 28 at 6:30 p.m. PST (9:30 EST), Swing the Fly Editor Zack Williams will host a live event about rigging for Winter/Spring steelheading. Exploring Summer Steelhead … Want to join us to put some of these tips to practice while swinging flies for trophy resident rainbow trout, dime-bright king salmon, or some of the most powerful steelhead on the planet? Conclusion. We must work hard in colder weather and understand the nature of the fish far more intimately. It’s also the predominant technique when nymphing for steelhead in the winter. If you’re new to Spey fishing for steelhead, try focusing on your swing. Other general (uncontrollable) hurdles that can affect your fishing experience include heavy rainfall, snow, clouds, and bears. What follows is the story of three fish and the lessons those fish revealed to me about effectively presenting flies to steelhead. Never drop your fly and disconnect mentally. He noted that Swinging flies, nymphing and stripping streamers for steelhead are the top techniques and that all are tested these days in the area. Swinging flies for winter West Coast steelhead is a great thrill. Note: If you are looking for our favorite rods, reels and lines for swinging flies for Great Lakes Steelhead click here … SWINGING & SPEY FLIES STEELHEAD NYMPHS FLIES BY HATCH SKWALA STONEFLIES BWO - BLUE WINGED OLIVES OCTOBER CADDIS FLIES CRANE FLIES Tierra del Fuego Fly Assortment // Sea … This is the final installment of the BC series from this past fall. Swinging flies for Steelhead isn’t for the faint of heart. Spring steelhead, like the winter steelhead we pursue in Oregon, return sexually mature in comparison to summer steelhead. Swinging flies is like Tai Chi. The advantage of spring steelhead fishing, if you plan it right, is that you don’t have to worry about things like high river flows and swarms of biting mosquitoes, white sox, and other insects. Large and often bright, these fish are some of the most special to swing flies for and are extremely high quality. Most on days on the water, I carry two rods, one to indicator fish, and the other to swing. Having the RIGHT flies is the first key to success. Jerry French Signature Flies . These 12 flies will be matched to your exact destination by our team of experts. The most common and effective way to fish steelhead is by bottom bouncing nymphs with either a floating line or the “chuck and duck” method. Visualize the fish in his lie. Thankfully the steelhead were as cheerful as our surroundings too. When speaking of Skagit-style casting systems and tying of intruder type flies, Jerry and his friends Ed Ward and Scott Howell are at the forefront of modern Northwest fly fishing for steelhead. Being successful swinging flies for winter steelhead is all about adapting to changing conditions and paying attention to details. Pictured are a couple of nice spring hens from today. If so, drop us a line for more information. Whether using single-hand or Spey fishing tactics, the goal is the same: feeling that heart-stopping tug at the end of a tight line. The spring steelhead fishing lends itself well for “swinging” flies, and you can sometimes see fish chase the fly over long distances. One of my favourite times of year is March and April when we’re guiding on the Squamish River, swinging flies for winter-run steelhead. You need one with a soft tip to protect light tippets, but strong enough to pull a steelhead from cover. More Spey Fishing Tips. The fish love well-presented eggs and nymphs. 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