The steelhead game is an addiction for some. I get It. Big fish, challenging, beautiful environments to practice your casting. I mean 1000 casts per fish; what’s not to love? With my senior citizen status I’ve outgrown the need to battle for those steelhead. But, I have found that there are parts of the steelheaders game that I’ve carried over to my trout fishing in smaller rivers.
I really enjoy swinging soft hackles and will employ that technique a vast majority of the time. There’s very little difference in technique between swinging a steelhead run, or swinging a team of soft hackles through a riffle on the Crooked River. There are places with limited backcasting room that lends itself to a spey cast. Whether it’s a Snap T, Circle C, Snake Roll, or Single Spey; all can be made with a single hand trout rod.
Most of the time I fish with a 10’6’’ 3 wt, Euro Nymphing Rod. It’s very versatile and I can swing, indicator nymph, Euro nymph, or even cast a dry fly with this rod. I’ve found that if I overload the rod a bit it works best for me. I have tried several different lines; typical WF floating, Double Taper floating, specialized Euro nymphing lines. All have their benefits. But, because I found myself using one handed spey casts more often, I went looking for something to improve my casting.
I recently added Rio’s WF5F In Touch Single Handed Spey line to this rod. The weight distribution of this line is designed for roll casting and makes single spey casts in tight situations a breeze. When I want, I can make overhand casts with this line and can even snake roll an indicator and weighted flies with precision. There are places, whether fishing stretches of the Middle Deschutes or wading the Crooked River, where spey casting gives you an edge. If you’ve been spey casting for steelies, the switch to single hand trout spey is a snap. If you haven’t spey cast before, a quick lesson from one of the pros at your local fly shop will have you doing a snake roll in no time.
I know, spey casting on the Crooked River may seem a little out of place. But, if you have surgically repaired shoulders, spey casting is a blessing. Or, if you just enjoy the beauty of a well timed Snap T, or the extra distance in a tight spot you can achieve with basic single hand spey casts, give it a try. There are many specialty lines out there for single handed spey casting. Rio, OPST, Airflo all make specialty lines for your regular 9’ rods, be they 2wt, 3wt, 5wt or beyond. But that is another story for another day.