Fly Fishing

It’s to your advantage when Steelhead fly fishing to use the proper tackle. A well-balanced fly rod and reel, and a good quality steelhead fly line are a must when fishing steelhead waters. The length and weight of your fly rod is very important because it needs to work and feel right for you. If you have done any type of fly-fishing, you should be able to tell when you find the right rod. You don’t want a rod that is too light nor do you want one that is too long or too heavy. You need a rod that you are able to fish and cast with for 5 to 7 hours a day and not over tired. This is a big factor if you are on a destination trip where you are “power” fishing, long hours for several days in a row.

For Summer Steelhead fishing in Oregon waters, I prefer a #8 weight, 9′ or 9′-6″graphite fly rod and a good quality Steelhead fly reel that has a good adjustable drag system. The reel should be large enough to hold a WF #8 floating steelhead fly line, plus150 yards of 20 lb Dacron fly line backing.

I sometimes use a one-size lighter weight fly line than what is called for by the fly rod manufacturer. When using the wet fly swing or damp fly method of steelhead fishing, I suggest a #7 weight wet tip or dry line for an 8-weight fly rod. For example, when casting and fishing the wide river of Oregon I often have extra line out past the rod tip, the extra weight of that line, plus the steelhead fly, plus a strong double haul cast will load the 8-weight rod, making a tight loop and long cast. I also like the way a #7 fly line fishes because it is easy to mend the line after making a cast. The lighter weight of the #7 also helps to make a change of direction cast and is easy to pick up or roll cast when you’re ready to make another cast down and across the current.

Stanley Stanton is an Oregon Fly Fishing Guide and McKenzie River fly fishing guide, Visit: For additional fly fishing tips and information about Fly-fishing for Rainbow Trout, Steelhead Fly fishing and salmon fishing. Email: