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Pink fishing fly on moss with river in background


Spey Tackle & Tips

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Spey Equipment Tips

It is important to have a well-balanced Spey outfit that will match the water conditions and techniques you will be using.  What would be a good choice for low water summer Steelhead would not handle casting a heavy sink tip and big flies for our wild winter Steelhead.  What we use for our winter runs would be overkill for summer fishing.  Following are some general tackle guidelines for Spey fishing our local Olympic Peninsula rivers.

We can provide equipment for your use on your trip, or you are welcome to use your own.


I primarily use Sage Spey rods ranging from 12-15 foot long between 7 - 9 weight for our wild winter Steelhead which can exceed 30 lbs.  During the summer, a rod in the 6-7 weight range will handle most of what we do. For single-handed Spey rods, a 10-11 1/2 foot rod in the 7-9 weight range would be the choice.

Make sure your reel has a drag capable of handling large fish and at least 150+ yards of backing. I also suggest at least 30 lb. backing.


Fly rods with box of fishing flies next to river
Angler wading in river about to release chrome bright Steelhead

We primarily use shooting head fly lines. A floating line or the new multi-density sinking lines combined with interchangeable sink tips from T-8 up to T-17 will handle most of the local fishing conditions.

RIO's InTouch Skagit iMOW and MOW tips are very useful.  For running line I prefer a coated line like RIO's Powerflex Max shooting line. It helps with mending and line control.


Leaders & Hooks

I primarily use 15 lb. Seaguar flourocarbon for my leaders, but at times will go up to 20 lb.  Remember, the heavier the leader you use, the more likely it becomes that your backing might break if you hang-up on the river bottom resulting in a lost head. Currently only single barbless hooks are allowed. To facilitate an easy catch and release, I usually use Gamakatsu or Owner single hooks.

Bring a variety of sizes and colors as water conditions can change quickly here.  Large tube flies in dark colors can be very effective.  Have a couple Intruder-style flies for those deeper runs where you need to get that fly down a litte faster. Smaller flies in earth tone colors have their place in low water. Lastly if you are a traditionalist, throw in a couple Syd Glasso Spey flies, like the Sol Duc or Orange Heron.

To keep our flies safe and dry we use Plan D fly boxes.


9 bright colored fishing flies on log next to river
Angler wading

Bring comfortable waders AND boots without studs or spikes as we will be fishing from a drift boat or raft.

We recommend SIMMS for both waders and rain gear.

Waders & Rain Gear

Knotless bags are required on your landing nets on our OP rivers.  I love my PNW Landing Net! Its craftsmanship and beauty are unsurpassed and it is big enough to handle our large, wild winter Steelhead. 

Landing Nets

Fishing guide Larry Ford in river with huge fish caught on the fly
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