I have always had a passion for pursuing Steelhead on a Swung Fly. In my early years of becoming a Steelhead Angler, I assumed it was the only possible way to hook a Steelhead, especially after seeing Lani Waller’s original 3M Series of Videos. I saw him hook those beautiful Bright Silver Steelhead Hens and those Giant Red Bucks that were so Crimson in Color, almost as if they were painted with a brush. This intrigued me and I started to obsess about this magnificent game fish the videos and magazines called Steelhead. If I was going to catch these fish, I just assumed we would need to use Comet’s, Green Butt Skunks and Popsicles for Flies. So I swung them on a floating line, swung them on heavy sink tips and even bounced them off the bottom with shooting lines. I didn’t know any different and I was completely clueless. These methods weren’t very successful. Sure, I would accidently hit a bright fish when I least expected it. My line would be dangling below me or maybe when Fly Flugging in the front of the boat , one would roll on a giant Popsicle fly. (Like Drop Backing Lures)
After spending some time on some of Alaska’s greatest rivers as a Guide, chasing giant Leopard Rainbows, I started to learn the art of the downstream swing. Where I worked in Alaska, we were not allowed to fish Beads under a strike indicator. We swung flies like Leaches, Sculpins and Flesh Flies. After spending time in Alaska and on our Great Lakes Rivers, I was making friends with other Guides who later became some of the most influential and innovative guides in the business today. They have become the pioneers of the sport of pursuing Steelhead with Spey Rods and Streamers.
It’s so great to see this technique for chasing Steelhead on a fly really growing in the Great Lakes Region. I remember the early days when we would get funny looks on the water by other Anglers, when fishing this technique. Spey fishing and swinging flies has come a long way with many new innovations. From improved flies we use here in the Great Lakes, to the lines and rods that have been specifically developed for our needs as Anglers. It’s great to see the Fly Fishing Community putting more of a focus on us as Great Lake’s Steelheaders and designing these products for the way we fish our Great Lakes Streams and Rivers. For a long time Great Lakes Fly Fishing for Steelhead, has been always frowned upon in the bigger world of Fly Fishing. We bounced the bottom with heavy lead, it was a great method and it brought success. We have now proved we too can pursue these fish with a more traditional tactic our West Coast Anglers have done for years. I’m proud to say, I too have been a part of that.
This method of Spey and Switch Rods with Sink Tips, has now turned into a full time passion for me. This is my method of choice from October to May. I try to teach and entice my clients and friends into using this method of pursuing these fish. Once you feel the pull, you too will be come an addict!
I designed this web page to share some of my thoughts on spey fishing. Whether you have Spey fished and swung flies for many years or just want to get started, this site is for you. I share tactics and techniques, that I have learned over the years. I offer my own special flies and patterns to enjoy and try. I encourage you, the angler to be a part of this too. Send me your ideas and patterns, or send me a story of angling adventures for Steelhead with a swung fly. This web site can be a source for all of us to share and enjoy.