6 wt for steelhead

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by wanative, May 30, 2013.

  1. wanative New Member

    Posts: 16
    West Custer, Wa
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    I have a couple 6 wt. rods I'd like to try for steelhead this summer. Would they be adequate to handle 6 to 10 lb.fish? I do have a 8 wt. with a versi-tip line but I would prefer the lighter rod if feasible.
    I don't think the flies I use would cause a weight issue as far as casting the 6 wt.
    Thanks in advance for your input

    Fred
  2. Flyborg Active Member

    Posts: 2,299
    Kalama, WA
    Ratings: +597 / 0
    Yes. Just don't be afraid to put the power on the fish when you hook the big ones. It may feel like a lot, but it's pretty tough to break a good rod fighting a fish at a good angle.
    Grayone likes this.
  3. Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

    Posts: 6,436
    Duvall, wa
    Ratings: +1,615 / 2
    Why?

    An 8wt is a much better tool for the job. Being undergunned is infinitely less fun than having a bit of reserve power. And you're putting a wild fish in danger by going light and prolonging the fight. Not to say a 6 isn't enough.. I wouldn't use one on steelhead myself... But learn how they fight before going down in size.
    Dan Cuomo likes this.
  4. Andy D Member

    Posts: 133
    Des Moines, Wa
    Ratings: +11 / 0
    I also have both six and Eight weights that I use for steelhead. I would use the eight weight early in the summer season when casting larger flies and sink tips, and then use the six weight latter in the summer and fall for small flies over low water conditions. Also I would not use the six weight if the system your fishing on has fish that average over six to eight pounds.
    fredaevans likes this.
  5. cuponoodle breakfast gritty

    Posts: 1,650
    Arlington
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    I use a 6wt for small water where the fish can't run very far AND where the odds of encountering a wild fish are nearly zero. If a river is big enough that the fish have room to run, or there's a decent chance of hooking wild fish, I'd take my 8wt.
    constructeur likes this.
  6. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 3,980
    Willamette Valley, OR
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    Same here. Plus, on the smaller coastal rivers there's always a chance of catching a SRC and an 8wt for one of those guys is over-gunning.

    (When Sage first opened their doors, I bought their first model rod in a 6 weight and used it for just about everything... including steelhead. The rod had no trouble handling the fish. Of course the original model Sage rod is much different than what they sell these days.)
    Terry Bare likes this.
  7. Josh Stroud Active Member

    Posts: 242
    WA
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    I agree, the 6 will work. But why? I would go with the 8.
  8. David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

    Posts: 1,904
    Walla Walla, WA
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    Maybe yes, maybe no.

    If in doubt, go up..I say!

    An old yarn says match the water not the fish. Certainly not always true (what is?), but explains why in some skinny water I do pull out the 4wt for steelhead. I'm talking creeks, and 24" is the general upper limit.
  9. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,695
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
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    I use a 6 weight two hander for summers. I believe a 6 is enough rod for summer steelhead in the hands of a fisherman that has experience landing large fish. A heavier rod might be a better choice for someone that hasn't had a lot of experience catching steelhead.
  10. Josh Stroud Active Member

    Posts: 242
    WA
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    Good point David, the water can definetly matter. Quite different catching a steelhead in a creek vs a large river with strong current. I have had smaller salmon in strong running water feel much bigger than they do in a small creek/stream.
  11. David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

    Posts: 1,904
    Walla Walla, WA
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    You make a good point here...I'm talking single handers. If the question is regarding 2 handers, then a 6wt would be fine, my goto is a 7wt (fast) two hander.

    Rule of thumb is 3 weights...I.e. 6wt 2 hander is = 9wt single, I thought.
  12. Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

    Posts: 6,436
    Duvall, wa
    Ratings: +1,615 / 2
    I catch steelhead on a 5wt two hander. But that rod has about as much power to fight fish as an 8wt single hander.
    constructeur likes this.
  13. Jamie Wilson Active Member

    Posts: 961
    Arlington WA
    Ratings: +91 / 0
    The 6 two hander is probably 10'6 or longer right?
    Helps on the handling.
    The 8 can punch through just about anything.
  14. Jamie Wilson Active Member

    Posts: 961
    Arlington WA
    Ratings: +91 / 0
    I would like to cast a 5 wt two hander.
    I've been thinking of getting one
  15. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,695
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
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    I will agree that a 6 two hander is likely more capable than a 6 single but only because of its length. There is no way my 6 two hander is equal to a 9 single. In fact it can't even be compared to my 8 single.
  16. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,695
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1,742 / 0
    I have used a 6 weight single on the Ronde fishing dries and had no problems landing steelhead with it. Now Ronde steelhead isn't like summer steel from a Salish or pen river but a 6 single worked just fine. Again I think a lot of it has to do with who is handling the rod.
    miyawaki likes this.
  17. David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

    Posts: 1,904
    Walla Walla, WA
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    We digress, but...

    I guess I should clarify, I heard that rule of 3 weights in regards to sizing lines. That I know has worked out, more or less for me. I run a 5wt scandi short on my 10'6 8wt single, and it's a dream. But I also run a 4wt scandi short on my 10'6 6wt and I like it a ton as well.
  18. David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

    Posts: 1,904
    Walla Walla, WA
    Ratings: +737 / 0

    Also changes a lot if it is a rocketship fast rod or a wobbletron noodle stick. Both could greatly affect fish fighting capabilities. I have a 8wt St. Croix (a retired rod) that would bend to the cork with 25" fall steelie. But, it landed them just fine. My newer ION (same weight, and a full 2 feet longer) usually feels like a bit of overkill with the same size of fish.
  19. Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

    Posts: 6,436
    Duvall, wa
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    You should. It's good clean fun.
  20. Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

    Posts: 6,436
    Duvall, wa
    Ratings: +1,615 / 2
    The power comes from the butt section. the rest of the rod will be much more noodly... but the butt section of a six spey will have the power of about a 9wt single.
    KerryS and David Dalan like this.