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Discussing fishing flies, trout flies, salmon flies, fly fishing gear and equipment, Idaho and Montana fishing rivers, NW rivers, fly tying and fly fishing trips. Over 50 years experience in fly fishing, best flies, fly tying, fly fishing techniques, fish stories, directions to rivers and lakes and great fly fishing tall tales with special communications from area guides.

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Monday, January 2, 2012

Rod Weights - 101

Yellowstone Cutthroat
"Rod Weights - 101" by YellowStoneFly at the Idaho Fly Fishers Blog is written because I left out a very important element of Fly Rod Basics. The type of Idaho fly fishing you do dictates the rod weight you need. The lower the number, the smaller the fish you expect to catch. In other words, if you are fishing for small trout in small streams, you want a shorter rod and a lower weight line for those short casts. A 2-4 weight rod, 6-7 feet in length is perfect for those small streams with overhanging shrubs. But if you are fishing for salmon or steelhead trout on large western rivers, you may opt for a 10-12 weight rod 10-12 feet in length. You may even prefer a spey two-handed rod at a higher weight and longer for those heavier streamers, weighted flies and longer casts.

Brook Trout
The problem with the smaller, lighter weight rods is that they very brittle and break easily. The longer, heavier rods for spey casting require special knowlegde of techniques that are totally foreign to the conventional fly caster. Personally, I prefer an all purpose rod. The weights and lengths I feel are the most versitile are 5-7 weight and 8-9 foot lengths.

Bull Trout
A 9 foot, 5 weight is perfect for fairly, large 8-10 pound fish on those 20-22 dry flies even in large streams. You can also fish fairly large streamers and weighted nymphs with ease. 6-7 weight rods can handle sinking lines with large streamers for those 10-12+ pounders even in fast water. Throwing a large steamer on a 7 weight sinking line will wear your arm out, so give yourself a break with a 5 weight dry from time to time. If I have my choice, I'll take the 5 weight and even with a sink tip line any day of the week.

Westslope Cutthroat
One other pearl is you can fish a 4-6 weight line on a 5 weight rod. You can go up or down one line size on any fly rod without significantly effecting its action. So the rod weight is up to you, but for versitility go with a 5 weight minimum and a 7 weight maximum for the ideal Idaho fly fishing rig. Whether you agree or disagree with these suggestions, please comment freely.

IdahoAngler@live.com

Tags: Fly Rod Basics
San Juan Worm
          Fly Reel Basics
          Montana Sparrow                             

2 comments:

  1. SOME OTHER CONDITIONS TO CONSIDER re: ROD AND LINE WT.: WIND HAS A LOT TO SAY ABOUT MY ROD AND LINE WT. EVEN ON A SMALL RIVER WITH SIGNIFICANT WIND, A 5 WT REPLACES MY 3 WT EVERY TIME. I WOULD PREFER THE 3 WT EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK ON SMALLER WATERS ESPECIALLY DURING LOW CLEAR WATER CONDITIONS AS I THINK MOST OTHER FISHERS WOULD AGREE. BUT THE WIND OFTEN DICTATES A CHANGE BUT THAT TOO CAN DEPEND ON THE ACTION OF THE BLANK YOUR USING IN THE ROD. WITH THAT IN MIND LET ME SUGGEST ONE OTHER CONSIDERATION RE:LINE WT. MY EXPERIENCE IS THAT OVER THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS RODS HAVE BECOME STIFFER AND THAT MANY ARE BETTER USED IF ONE INCREASED ONE LINE WT OVER THE ROD WT AND NEVER THE REVERSE, e.g. 4 WT ROD WOULD GENERALLY BE VERY FRUSTRATING WHEN USED WITH A 3 WT OR EVEN A 4 WT LINE BUT CAST NICELY WITH A 5 WT. I DO NOT CARE FOR THIS TREND TO STIFFER RODS AND WF FLY LINES. THE EVIDENCE I RELY ON IS PURELY ANECDOTAL BUT IS BASED ON CIRCA 60 YEARS OF FLY FISHING EXPERIENCE WHICH OUGHT TO BE WORTH AT LEAST SLIGHT CONSIDERATION BY THOSE WHO STILL HAVE THEIR HAIR AND EYE SIGHT.

    JERRY FROM IF

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  2. Thanks for the input. Points well stated. I will over weight (6WF on a 5 weight rod) as well for certain situations and conditions.

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