Put some Swing in your Thing!

Put some Swing in your Thing!

The title of this article may suggest a Big Band song. But
if you like bent rods and Steelhead then read on. Fly Fishing is the pursuit of
what is elusive but attainable that’s why the sport can be so addicting. Fall
fishing in the Great Lakes region for Steelhead is my most favorite time of the
year for swinging flies. The weather isn’t too cold and the fall colors, sights
and smells stir the senses of the soul. The fish are HOT this time of the year
and are willing to chase the fly down and absolutely crush it. For those of you
that have not ever tried catching a Steelhead on the swing you’re missing out. Fall is just around the corner, it’s time.
Equipment
The sport of swinging flies in the Great Lakes region has
grown by leaps and bounds in the past few years. There is no end in sight for
its growth right now. Our friends on the West Coast have taught else well. If
you’re a beginner I highly recommend you seek at out your local fly shop for
help on rod and line selection. Every rod is going to take and swing best with
certain lines and grain weights. Not to mention even the rivers you fish will
dictate what rod and reel set up you need. Buying your stuff online or from big
box stores is not recommended. Most fly shops offer casting lessons too; this can
be so helpful in the beginning stages.
I personally love switch rods for smaller rivers, but you
may find you like a two handed rod better on a larger river. The switch rod
here in the Great Lakes is very popular because it’s so versatile. I love an
eleven and a half foot, seven weight rod. It’s the perfect tool to handle a lot
of different water and situations. You could write a book on equipment and line
choices alone. Do yourself a favor and get started off on the right foot.
Support your local fly shop you will be glad you did.
Locating Good Water
Depending on what river I’m
fishing I look for water that is at least three to six feet deep with the right
current speed. The current speed I look for is that of a walk. If you find good
water you will find the fish. It’s just that simple. Don’t be afraid to fish
parts of the river you have never tried. The river changes every year. Ice
dams, logs, rain, run off can equal high water. When this happens things shift
and move around the river thus new holes are carved out. Sometimes a new log causes
a new current break creating a resting lye for steelhead as they make their way
up river. So sometimes the fish aren’t where they were last year. Hence why you
must cover ground to locate fish.
Steelhead often will be holding
in the transition zones of the river. Where two current speeds meet from fast
to slow water. Sometimes the fish are spread out across the river where
boulders create a resting place for them in the current. I have found fish in
areas that I would not have guessed would hold fish but found them by searching
with my fly.
Fly Presentation
Locate these pockets and areas
and get that fly to swing down and across in front of that fish’s nose on a 45
degree angle downstream. Slow your roll on the swing by mending your line
upstream. As it swings let the fly swing down until it has stopped below you.
Hopefully it’s hanging in the G money spot of the run for a downstream grab. When
your fly and line reach this point and the fly has stopped. We call this on the
dangle. This is when strikes can happen. Often time’s steelhead will follow the
fly and just look at it for a few seconds. Then just crush it or they may pluck
at the fly and then take it and run. Hence why you must let the fish take the
fly and load the rod, then set the hook. You’re basically letting the fish hook
itself.
Most of us immediately set the
hook and end up missing the fish. I find this is the hardest habit to break
with most anglers. All is not lost sometimes you can let it dangle there again and
get bit. Or you can swing the fly through the run again and get bit again by
the same fish. After several casts and you feel you have covered the section of
water. Take a couple of steps and then cast again. Until you have covered all
the water in the run. Once you have a steelhead crush that fly while the rod is
in your hands you be hooked for life.
Fish responsibly my friends and have your Steelhead Speyed!

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4 thoughts on “Put some Swing in your Thing!

  1. Great article thanks for sharing. I have always wanted to get into spey fishing for steelies. Can you recommend a set up for me?

  2. Anonymous thanks for stopping by. My advice would be to find your local fly shop and get outfitted correctly. Depending on the rivers you fish you might want a switch rod. By getting set up correctly you will enjoy your time on the water rather struggle and be more successful. Tight lines.

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