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Who does it and what colors and size fly seem to work best for you? Also what is your setup yo like to use and what kinda of depth in the rivers are you fishing it.

I like to use a custom 5wt fly rod a customer made me, the thing works great on steel. I like to throw a Olive and white streamer. (shameless plug for the raisin minnow here:eek:)
 

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Hello! First of all, I really only streamer fish in the fall, nymphing during the winter and spring months. However, In the fall it seems like I can't use flies big enough. I know from past plug-pulling that steelhead hit massive rapalas in the fall, but tend to like the smaller hot n tots in the winter months. Ive read that the main thing to focus on when swinging streamers, is MWM (Motion without Movement). You want the fly to flutter with out moving in the water as much as possible. This can be achieved by proper mending, which takes practice. When I think the river has a good run of fresh fish, i like to use colors such as your hot pinks, blacks, and oranges. When water levels drop, I prefer colors such as blue/black, black, and whites. (Side note: never underestimate the POWER of black). As far as set up goes, in larger rivers, such as the Grand, Mo, and lower White, I use my 10 ft. 7 rod with floating line, and a sink tip for desired depth, with a short leader. In smaller rivers, i actually use shooting line with added split shot for required depth (on my 9ft 9wt). Call me an impurest, but I feel much more productive using shooting line in small rivers. (Basically chuck and duck streamer fishing). Hopefully this helps!
 

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the bigger the better often times until it starts to get really cold, usually mid december when i start toning down the sizes. I run a lot of murdich minnows, decievers, muddlers and other big gawdy SOB's, lol. this time of year i throw a lot of sculpin patterns when stripping streamers. colors vary a lot, black, olive, green, white, brights, goes on and on, I've had a good ammount of luck stripping red and white clouser's on the betsie for spring steel, but have never gotten a hit on some other rivers using the same pattern. but normally this time of year i stick with nymphs while using the fly rod. no offense, but i cant help but think how light a 5wt is for steel. seems there'd be too much/long a fight to get a chromer in on a rod that light. just my opinion. hope my ramblings help a little, lol
-Zach
 

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I personally like a lot of the Feenstra-esq patterns, lot's of flashabou and lots of ice dub. I also tie a lot with rabbit strips, as indicated above MWM, that stuff just seems to come alive in the water. I heard temple dog is some great stuff, but the jury is still out for me on that one, although I've definitly cut hair off my setter's tail and used that. If you do enough enough searching on the interweb for swingin' fer steelies you'll find plenty of patterns to keep you occupied.

As for rigs? I find the longer rods are better, you get better mends (line control), which in turn will give you a better swing. It can be done just fine with a 9 footer, but who doesn't want an excuse to buy a new rod or two! The two rigs I find myself using most is an 11' rod with a skagit head with some combination of T-whatever (depends and where i'm, fishing, the run, flow, depth, time of year) for the skinnier water and when i'm on bigger water (Big Man, MO) I bust out the 14 footer that has an intermediate Scandi head on it, I'll get much longer swings with it.

Also, I'm thinkin' along the same lines as the post above, a 5wt seems undergunned, 7 or 8wt would be optimal, not saying one can't or shouldn't do it, but I dont want to fight the fish for a half hour, few leaps maybe a tail walk, let me see my backing and i'm a happy man, just my opinion though. Besides, it's all about the initial grab, or tug when swinging for chrome.

Hope this helps ya out and good luck to ya!
 

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Ill agree with both posts, a 5 wt probably wouldn't be adequate if you plan on releasing fish. Also, I totatlly agree with Pour Decisions comment about bunny strips... very effective. To add more, I thiink about 70-80 percent of fish in a winter system will be adapted to the cold temps, acting pretty lethargic. Im not saying these fish won't hit a streamer, but I believe a more realistic streamer has to tease them more to trigger a response.
 

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If your talking 2 - 6 lb fish a 5wt might be acceptable, especially in smaller tribs lacking powerfull flows that greatly favor the fish. Modern rods vary wildly in power.. one extreme to the other.. Many custom blanks I've seen / cast / fished run to the heavier side. 5wts seem to be pretty acceptable for destination fishing.. New Zealand.. Bristol Bay AK.. Missouri river MT.. Argentina.. the list goes on while the good fish remain largely the same.. Personally; my list starts at 6 though.

I enjoy fishing a light terminal.. I've come down to this for small water swinging.. 6' - 10'+ of Airflo's Customcut 200 [10gr per foot] and a 2.5" - 3.5" fly. How I deliver this varies.. Started with a 450 RIO Skagit line which was capable of delivering A LOT more, both fly and tip wise. Gradually dropped back to a 28' 335 grain Skandinavian line fished on a light double hand rod and a RIO 7 or 8wt body only from a Versi-Tip line set, same Customcut tip and fly in place, on a 10' 6wt single hand rod.

Flies need to match, rabbit can be tougher to sink and holds a lot of water adding weight to the fly during the cast. Light marabou tail, Emu and soft hackle over diamond braid or mylar body, schlappen collar, a few strips of flashabou with mallard flank in front. But instead of the Emulators [K Feenstra] Aussie Possum head I go with a loop dubbed version and comb it out so it's loose and flowing without much real mass. Good profile from below [fishes perspective] without bulk.. the illusion of life!!

Whether you 'swing' or 'strip' mostly depends on water temps. I favor a slow swing majority of the time in cold water but work a strip to avoid snags / obstacle or fishing the fly in a bit during retrieve before next cast. Stripping shines fall into early winter and late spring. There are many variations of stripping, slow - medium paced steady pulls [variable length] have been best for me.. save the rapid ones for summer trout.

Good luck
 

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Check out Feenstra or Jeff Hubbards Website both guides upnorth...

feenstraguideservice.com or outfittersnorth.com

Feenstra also just came out with a new DVD Searching for Steelhead that has some great patterns in it. SEARCHING FOR STEELHEAD

 
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