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I have been flyfishing for stream trout for about 3 years now. Started out with a borrowed 9' 6 wt. rod and was pretty comfortable with it. Just recently returned it to my buddy and need to buy a rod. I fish a variety of size waters, from the Au Sable near Mio to the smaller Rifle River. Like to fish everything from medium size streamers, to nymphs and dries, depending on conditions. I guess what I need is a good "compromise" rod that can handle "most" conditions. Cannot decide between a 4 wt. or 5 wt. and which length. I would rather have a rod that is slightly too heavy than too light, but my friend insists a 4 wt. is better. Any opinions or suggestions are appreciated.
 

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5 wt in a 8'6 foot. Still can fish the smaller streams but is big enough for a nice 20+ incher on the hex. I just finished building a 7 foot 3 wt. for the small streams. But my go to rod is still my Thomas and Thomas 6wt -8'6" footer. It is a little big for the small trout, but I feel real good about hooking the Big ones with this. Of course I am a hex addict and will fish every night during this hatch and chase them in multiple streams.

paul
 

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If I was to only have one stick it would be the 5wt. The 4wt will make it dang near impossible to toss wooly buggers and other large streamers.

4wt definetly more fun with the smaller flies but the versatility of the 5wt is the deciding factor with me.
 

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Since you seemed comfortable with the 6wt that you borrowed I would stick with that. It will handle all flies and most if not all Michigan fish. It's the smallest I would go with for steelhead but too small for salmon. It should handle any Michigan trout and could be used in a pinch for bass and possibly pike.
 

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If you're throwing streamers, I would get at least a 5wt. It would make for a tired shoulder tossing streamers on a 4wt. Get a 5/6wt rod and you'll be covered IMO.
 

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dont know if i could go back to 1 rod for every thing but looking back to the last couple of years i think that i use my 9ft 5wt the most if you are like me you will end up with a number of different rods :fish: :fish:
 

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I have a 4wt that I use as much as possible because it is just a riot to catch anything on, but I worry when I hook into anything 18+ (which is rare, I admit :)) Another time is when I have to punch a heavy fly into the wind. All around, IMHO, the 5 wt would definitely be the all around best rod.
 

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Heck just get a 6 weight and set it up for nymphing and a 4 weight for presenting a dry. and fish the dry a couple times set it down and grab the 6 for a few passes. I clean up fishing like that.
 

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I was in the same position as you a few years ago. I couldn't decided between a 4wt and 5wt. In the end I purchased a 5wt 9' and thats pretty much the only use now for stream fishing.
 

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8'6" 5wt does it all for summer trout
 

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I'd stay with your 9' 6wt. Your want to fish streamers, right? Are you aware that big streamers rock? Do you ever bass fish? Don't forget, you're looking for the 30-06 of fly rods that will take care of all your trout needs. The 8'6" 5 wt is extremely popular and probably our best seller, but from what you said in your post, I agree with Gunrod 100%. Stick with the 9' 6wt if looking for a
"one rod to do it all" rod, with throwing streamers in mind. My .02
 

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I agree with Bob because of the streamers. If fishing small water and no streamers I actually like 8' rods but if you through big or fight big that foot to a foot and a half can be crucial. If you go short you need to go real heavy which means hook sets on a small dry fly trout might put him in the trees behind you.
 

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As I'm sure you noticed by now the answer to your question is how do you want to fish, what do you want to catch, and where? A four weight is great for floating dry's down for a soft landing, but sucks for throwing streamers and will be inadequate for all but light nymphing rigs. I guess if you liked the 9'- 6 wt. go with that at first, it is a great all around rod. I do most of my trout fishing with my 4 or 5 wt rods but I also have a full complement of rods and they all get used as needed throughout the year. The nine foot six weight with a medium fast action would probably do you well for the trout fishing you described in your original post. It will handle all but the biggest streamers, toss around nymph rigs with no problem, and you can fish dry's as well with a little finesse casting and careful leader and tippet selection. Have fun out there!
 
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