The oh so pretty silver bow that ventures to the glorious great lakes and makes it return ….for many fly anglers – spending countless hours on the river on a frigid cold n’ damp day swinging for steelhead is dreamy, and landing a chromer is the icing on the cake!





ROD: Single hand 7 wt / 9.5 foot to 10 foot in length fly rod – medium to fast action

Two handed spey rods and β€œswitch rods” are used as well by the advanced fly angler.


REEL: The reel should match the 7 weight rod , and it’s strongly recommended to have a quality smooth drag. The reel should have a large enough arbour to hold the fly line plus 100 yards of gel spun 20-30 lb backing.

LINE: A good quality 7 wt , weighted forward floating line is a must – I use RIO fly lines.

LEADER: There are tapered, pre-made cold water leaders available at any fly shop. I use the RIO brand. To extend the life of the tapered leader, have a spool of 1x and 2x tippet material to tie on when your store bought leader becomes too short.
10 – 15 lb test tapered leaders are recommend, depending on location and average fish size.


FLIES: You can use a variety of flies and tube flies. There are the classic egg patterns, traditional wet flies, stone flies, (I like the stone flies with a bright orange bead head) , egg sucking leach, whoolly bugger and much more.


A fly with contrasting colors is almost a must in cloudy water. In the lowest, clearest water, large bright flies can be effective at times, but going small and natural is the rule in those conditions β€”especially where steelhead face heavy angling pressure.

Steelhead can seldom resist a dead-drifting egg pattern or a steelhead woolly bugger in the right colour! A good fly box runs the spectrum from small and dull to large and bright!



Indicator fishing: An technique that’s popular and is to give a β€œdrag free drift” . Basic rigs are some what simple; they consist of a fly, a weight, and a leader/tippet, and a indicator (called a β€œthingamabobber” in fly lingo) all fished off the end of a floating fly line. This rig is designed to fish vertically in the water column, suspended under a float ( thingamabobber).

Some choose to have no indicator and prefer to β€œtight line” aka czech nymphing, and many times that’s my preference over indicator style – If I choose to fish this method! Tight lining a nymph rig is an acquired taste!

Above all, I love swinging a wet fly or casting a streamer and I will cover those techniques in another issue.


Other Essentials:

* Waders: A good set of waders are needed, and boots with vibram rubber soles are my personal favourite as they grip rocks very well. I add studs to my boots for extra grip.

* Forceps/ fishing pliers/ nippers for line

* A rubber coated net to land the fish in (please don’t bank your fish)

* A trash bag ( if you see trash / old fishing line, please help keep our rivers clean (even when others don’t)

* Layers of clothing (steelhead fishing is usually good on cold and rainy days – dress well and keep dry!)

* Back pack (to stash all your day gear)

* SPF buff (bandana)

* Polarized sunglasses – in amber lens

* warm hat