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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
when I get my 8wt rod for this fall for steelies what is the best size leader and tippet you should use? also what size nymphs or flies are better for the steelhead? these fish are huge!!!
 

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Get a book from the library by John Nagy Steelhead guide. Decent read helped me out this season. The trick is to hook up with a bud that knows the river, or hook up with a steelhead club in the area. I belong to the Central Basin Steelhead club. They have meetings once a month, they bring in speakers and hold seminars for the members on fly casting, spin stuff.

If you goto a local shop they'll have packets of leaders labeled for steelhead fishing. I usually cut the bottom taper off and loop it so I can tie on tippet material using 250yards spools of Berkley Vanish line 8lb for muddy days and 4lb for clear water.
 

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i use 8ft of florocarbon line,a little micro swivel,and 4 ft of 5 to 10lb tippet. nymphs.... i use size 14 and 16. egg patterns 12,14,and 16. i am new at flyfishing,but this set up works for me. i catch fish now
 

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As with many things in fly fishing, you can make it simple or very complicated. You will find that steelhead fishing uses a lot of lead, and calls for some specific techniques. These influence the leader design.

I have heard of people using nothing more than a heavy butt of mono, followed by a tippet. The amount of lead and short casts apparantly allow you to get away with this, though I´ve not tried it.

Last season I used the one at
http://www.flyfisherman.com/skills/50formulas.pdf

All that being said, I second the recommendation for Nagyś book. It does address leaders in there, and some of the rationale behind different designs. His formula consists of 25#, 20#, 15#, 8# followed by either a 2x or 3x tippet.

And for what its worth, making your own leaders is easy. Spend an evening tying blood knots while watching TV and you will be a master in no time. Then you can make any leader you want, at a fraction of the cost.
 

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"I have heard of people using nothing more than a heavy butt of mono, followed by a tippet. The amount of lead and short casts apparantly allow you to get away with this, though I´ve not tried it."

I would be one of those ppl..lol... I use 3' of 15# floro-mono, and then 9' of tippet and roll cast all day long! Its not pretty some times, but darn effective!

The size of flies is going to match the size of the water, and the size of the forage the fish are eating!
 

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I would be one of those ppl..lol... I use 3' of 15# floro-mono, and then 9' of tippet and roll cast all day long! Its not pretty some times, but darn effective!
aha! I figured it would work. thanks for sharing. It doesn't have to be pretty as long as it works. So there is what looks like the simplest solution that works. From there you can make it as complicated as you need, once you gain experience and figure out what works for you.

I went fishing yesterday without changing last season's steelhead leader. I cast a variety of nymphs, weighted and unweighted, plus some streamers. It may not have been the optimal setup (plagued by wind knots but I think those were from poor casting), but it did work, and I did catch some fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
so you can just use regular fishing line to make the leader then just add some tippet to the regular line?
 

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so you can just use regular fishing line to make the leader then just add some tippet to the regular line?
Under certain circumstances, yes. In 99% of other cases doing this will probably result in the fly not turning over, your leader twisting in wind knots, or piling up in a bird nest on the water. Also depends on skill level, I am sure. A skill level I do not have just yet.

Someone correct me if I am wrong

With steelheading where short casts and lots of lead are the rule, it looks like you can get away with it.
 

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for unweighted flies and general purpose stuff---at this point , id suggest keeping simple and just buy pre tapered leaders and accept it as a necessary part of doing business--as you develop you can read about all the rigging and weighting schemes for special purposes and try all the leader formulas for one that suits your style---level leaders just arent user friendly and will give you practice at untangling messes

like steelheader said---it can be a 2 step leader or as mazer said it can be as complicated as you want to make it
 

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id suggest keeping simple and just buy pre tapered leaders and accept it as a necessary part of doing business
Hi Ledslinger, how are you? I never did make it down to FFF, but I haven´t forgotten. Something always seems to come up on the meeting days :(

anyway, I think that is great advice, and precisely the way my journey unfolded. I started with pre-made leaders. Eventually I got tired of having to throw several bucks at a leader (a few times during the season) and learned to tie my own. I love the flexibility it now gives me. But I guess its an unnecessary complication for someone who is just starting out. And it took me a while to learn enough to want to tie my own. Before that, I was still catching fish on store-bought leaders.

Sometimes we forget how complicated it all seemed when we were starting out. So go buy a premade leader, catch some fish, and come back and ask details when you feel the need.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
ok then so whats the best sized regular tapered leaders to use for steelhead? x3 or x0 or what will even hold one of these silver bullets!?
 
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