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Okay fellas help me out. I'm headed to AK in the spring. South east Alaska steelhead fishing. Nymphing mostly but there is some estuary fishing involved. This will be mostly small waterways. I want to try my hand with a switch rod for those tight roll casts, also have some other AK trips planned like the wulik again and I see some advantages to a switch. Probably a 7 wt 10-6. Really don't know where to start. Probably should get some lessons too. I'm in the Grayling area. I don't particularly care for the fly shop in town. Any recommendations for a one hand switch and lessons?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I have to ask though. Is this whole switch/ spey thing worth it?
I mean hell, I ve caught every kind of salmon there is in Alaska 100s of em. Fished big water and skinny water. Caught steel and salmon in Michigan. I've done it for years, sure some times I struggle reaching a seam and getting the fly down but I don't know if it's worth dropping a grand on a new system. Is this just the cool thing to do or is it worth it?
 

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I have to ask though. Is this whole switch/ spey thing worth it?
I mean hell, I ve caught every kind of salmon there is in Alaska 100s of em. Fished big water and skinny water. Caught steel and salmon in Michigan. I've done it for years, sure some times I struggle reaching a seam and getting the fly down but I don't know if it's worth dropping a grand on a new system. Is this just the cool thing to do or is it worth it?
You can try the one hand OPST lines if you don't want to spend the money on a Switch Rod but I'm a little biased towards switch rods. I have 4 switch rods and 2 spey rods and it is my preferred way to fish. To me it is very relaxing and when they hit, OMG do they hit. There is a bit of a learning curve and I took the time to take a few lessons to make sure I started out right.

As for a fly shop up around you I don't know of one. The Muskegon River fly shop closed unfortunately. You could try contacting Keven Feenstra at Feenstra guide service. he was one of the first two hand guides in Michigan. There was an instructor up your way by I can't think of his name now to save my life. I can recommend a good one in SE Michigan if you are ever down this way.

My favorite switch rod is my 7 wt Redington Chromer. I have fished a lot of the bigger river in Michigan and the smaller ones along Steelhead alley with it. Also fished the Alagnak and Naknek rivers in Alaska for all the Salmon and Rainbows with it. Wouldn't recommend tackling King Salmon with one. I thought that rod was going to explode when I hooked into a 20 pound King with it. I landed it but it took me almost half an hour. I saw one King that was probably pushing over 30 pound sitting in a hole and I passed on him. Didn't want to go through that again. lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You can try the one hand OPST lines if you don't want to spend the money on a Switch Rod but I'm a little biased towards switch rods. I have 4 switch rods and 2 spey rods and it is my preferred way to fish. To me it is very relaxing and when they hit, OMG do they hit. There is a bit of a learning curve and I took the time to take a few lessons to make sure I started out right.

As for a fly shop up around you I don't know of one. The Muskegon River fly shop closed unfortunately. You could try contacting Keven Feenstra at Feenstra guide service. he was one of the first two hand guides in Michigan. There was an instructor up your way by I can't think of his name now to save my life. I can recommend a good one in SE Michigan if you are ever down this way.

My favorite switch rod is my 7 wt Redington Chromer. I have fished a lot of the bigger river in Michigan and the smaller ones along Steelhead alley with it. Also fished the Alagnak and Naknek rivers in Alaska for all the Salmon and Rainbows with it. Wouldn't recommend tackling King Salmon with one. I thought that rod was going to explode when I hooked into a 20 pound King with it. I landed it but it took me almost half an hour. I saw one King that was probably pushing over 30 pound sitting in a hole and I passed on him. Didn't want to go through that again. lol
I do have a rio line and heads that I specifically bought for kings one year for my 9 wt, I use it on my 7 also. meh not sure if switching to a switch is necessary yet. It does look relaxing though and some of the wulik is wide enough that I couldn't reach where I was wanting to. Then there is the learning curve thing that can get quite expensive with a few wrong purchaces.
 

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I do have a rio line and heads that I specifically bought for kings one year for my 9 wt, I use it on my 7 also. meh not sure if switching to a switch is necessary yet. It does look relaxing though and some of the wulik is wide enough that I couldn't reach where I was wanting to. Then there is the learning curve thing that can get quite expensive with a few wrong purchaces.
That's where having a good local shop can come in handy. Mine. Schultz Outfitters, in Ypsilanti hooked me up. Told them I wanted to start steelhead fishing and I wanted a switch rod. Set me up with a 7 wt Ross Reach, Ross CL5 reel, the right line, couple of Mow tips and the leader material. Showed me how to rig it all up and even gave me some quick lessons. Smartest thing I did was a couple of months after I bought the rod I booked a guided trip on the Muskegon and took my rod. Told the guide I wanted to learn and learn I did. Took a few more lessons and then practiced by butt off.

I was going down to my local river 2 or 3 times a week just to practice the summer before my first trip to Alaska. Made a huge difference. Once the guide saw I could cast he just pointed out where to cast and spent his time helping the other clients who were still trying to figure it out.

I strip streamers, use an indicator with a pegged bead, even chuck & duck once and a rare while but swinging streamers is still my favorite. Been at it 6 years and this is the first year I can honestly say I'm doing everything right and know my cast is about to blow up before I even finish it. I had those days where it seems like I could do nothing right and I would blow out my anchor, hook the trees behind me, hook me and just make a mess of things. Now when something isn't right I can figure out what I'm doing wrong and make the necessary corrections. I can now tell the difference in my casting when using a line that is just heavier or lighter by just 30 grains. I few years ago I would never know and just chalk it up to bad casting. To be really proficient it takes time. Some guys make it look so easy but chances are they have been at it forever. It's not gonna happen overnight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That's where having a good local shop can come in handy. Mine. Schultz Outfitters, in Ypsilanti hooked me up. Told them I wanted to start steelhead fishing and I wanted a switch rod. Set me up with a 7 wt Ross Reach, Ross CL5 reel, the right line, couple of Mow tips and the leader material. Showed me how to rig it all up and even gave me some quick lessons. Smartest thing I did was a couple of months after I bought the rod I booked a guided trip on the Muskegon and took my rod. Told the guide I wanted to learn and learn I did. Took a few more lessons and then practiced by butt off.

I was going down to my local river 2 or 3 times a week just to practice the summer before my first trip to Alaska. Made a huge difference. Once the guide saw I could cast he just pointed out where to cast and spent his time helping the other clients who were still trying to figure it out.

I strip streamers, use an indicator with a pegged bead, even chuck & duck once and a rare while but swinging streamers is still my favorite. Been at it 6 years and this is the first year I can honestly say I'm doing everything right and know my cast is about to blow up before I even finish it. I had those days where it seems like I could do nothing right and I would blow out my anchor, hook the trees behind me, hook me and just make a mess of things. Now when something isn't right I can figure out what I'm doing wrong and make the necessary corrections. I can now tell the difference in my casting when using a line that is just heavier or lighter by just 30 grains. I few years ago I would never know and just chalk it up to bad casting. To be really proficient it takes time. Some guys make it look so easy but chances are they have been at it forever. It's not gonna happen overnight.
So I can use my reels from a normal rod?
 

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I have a Scott 11'- 9" 6 weight 4 piece spey that predates the 'switch' rod designation if you're interested.

It's missing 3 - 4 inches from the tip that snapped off when I was cleaning out the guides from ice, so it's more like a 11'- 5" 7+ weight.


Office supplies Musical instrument Font Magenta Metal


It's a great Steelhead rod and even does well for certain rivers during the Hexagenia hatch.
 

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That's actually the video that got me interested.
There are a good number of streams in MI with enough space to get enough room for a good drift for you to practice. The St. Joe, Muskegon, Kalamazoo below Allegan Dam, Manistee, Au Sable.

If you live in Detroit, even going in at Belle Isle and casting is helpful. You’ll get the cast down fairly quick.

I took lessons from Bob through www.troutmoor.net
 

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Brushbuster,

the only thing I’d add is that for steelhead, I’d probably go light spey as opposed to switch. 12’6” 7 weight.

I took my 11’ 6 weight switch on a trip for sea trout and it felt like a 4 weight compared to a 12’6” 7 weight spey
 

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