Cooler evenings and mornings have our thoughts focused on fall and steelhead. While we’re still below ten-year return averages in most of the rivers here in Oregon, we’re glad to see things bouncing back the way they are. It will be interesting to see what the next few years look like.
We’ve got a few exciting things to go over here: New spey lines, tips and leaders from Rio and what we consider to be the best flies for fall steelhead.
This season, Rio is aiming to simplify their lines by integrating running lines with shooting heads. We like this because it makes the purchasing process a bit easier for you, and there are no loop connections clicking through your rod guides. We’ll start with the RIO Elite Skagit Max Power Spey Head. This line has a shorter head that delivers heavier flies with ease but don’t feel limited with this one because it can be thrown all day long with whatever you’re using. Fish the Max Power with light, medium or heavy MOW tips depending on your line weights. The Max Power is great in the 5 through 7 weight class with 12 and a half foot rods.
The RIO Elite Integrated Skagit Mini Max is perfect for rivers like the Rogue where you’ll be fishing slightly lighter rods, think more along the lines of trout spey here. The 16-18 foot turns over heavier flies with ease and when you pair this line with light MOW tips, you’ll be pleased.
Also, the Trout Spey non-skagit Shooting Heads are perfect for Trout Spey rods and are available in line weights #1-5 weight. All models of Elite Trout Spey Shooting Heads are 23ft. We recommend matching Elite Trout Spey shooting heads with thinner running lines in coated and mono versions. Best Sinking and floating tips to use are 10ft replacement tips or Trout Versileaders for lighter work.
Again, to simplify your systems for the modern spey caster, Rio is offering up three new VersiLeaders in Trout, Medium and Heavy. VersiLeaders allow the user to quickly adjust fishing depth without changing fly lines. Simply loop the VersiLeader onto to the end of a line to adjust the depth at which the fly is presented in the water column. The Rio Trout Versileader is great for floating and Scandi lines with 4 weight or lighter lines. The Rio Medium Versileader is excellent for traditional spey lines, scandi shooting heads up to #7, and single
hand lines 8wt and up. And the Rio Heavy Versileader shines with traditional spey lines and Scandi shooting heads sizes #8 and up.
Fall Steelhead Flies
In the first half of the above video, we go over these in a bit more detail.