Streamer fishing for Michigan steelhead- gearing up

Over the next few weeks, Kevin will be putting together a series on his method for catching Michigan steelhead on streamers. Kevin isn’t saying he’s the grandmaster ninja of steelhead streamering, but over the years he has developed a straightforward and efficient method that puts chrome in the net. The series will include: gearing up, streamer patterns, reading water with a thermometer and calendar, reading water and finding patterns, presentation styles, fishing basics, and ways to make sure you’re getting the job done.

Rod- Temple Fork Outfitters 13’0″ 7/8 weight, 450-700 gr. Of course you can effectively streamer fish with a single-hand rod, but it is a lot more work and not as effective in many situations. I use this relatively big rod because it has no limits as far as the west Michigan rivers I fish are concerned. I can cast a large fly the distance I need to with enough weight to get the job done, I never have to compromise because I’m never “under gunned”.

Reel – Temple Fork Outfitters LA425. I own a dozen reels of different sizes in this series. I have owned them for years. I never service them. I have never had one repaired and they are all still working and working well. They have plenty of drag to handle even the hottest fish and because the drag surface is synthetic/stainless they don’t freeze up in winter.

Backing- 20lb Dacron.

Running/Shooting Line- I’ve used a lot of different running lines over the years and while it’s not the most important part of the rig for me, a coated running line like Rio’s Powerflex will result in fewer tangles than something like Amnesia.

Fly Line- Scientific Anglers Mastery Series Spey Skagit Deluxe 550 gr.

Sink Tip – 12 to 24 foot of Rio T14. In the lower Pere Marquette I have been using an eighteen foot section this entire season. I like the Rio T line of sink tips for many reasons, but particularly because you can tie a knot in them. I end the T14 with a 4 wrap uni-knot tied to a large two-way swivel.

Leader – 3 to 4 foot of 20 pound Maxima fluorocarbon. Tied to the large two-way swivel with an improved clinch knot. This section of leader ends with another medium sized two-way swivel. I feel that knots to swivels are faster and more secure than line to line knots and I like having the swivels to eliminate line twist.

Tippet – 2 to 3 foot of 12 pound Feather-Craft fluorocarbon. For all my tube flies I have tippet sections pre-snelled on my favorite hook and keep them in a leader keeper. For streamers on traditional hooks I simply add a few feet of the same tippet material to the second swivel.

Hook – Gamakatsu octopus 02408 in size 4. This is the finest tube fly hook I have found for Michigan steelhead.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Kevin’s series: streamer patterns.

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