Steelhead Nymphing is an exciting way to land nice Steelhead. Again, we are nymphing but on a bigger scale with bigger and meaner fish. A 7-8 weight fast action rod is common.
A little longer rod is not a bad idea as it allows us to get on top of our mends a little easier; 9’6”-10’ rods are popular for this reason. A stouter reel with a good drag system is recommended as steelhead are well known for going on blistering fast runs.
Bass and trout reels don’t have to be fancy, but I do recommend spending a little extra money on a steelhead reel for steelhead nymphing.
A machined metal reel with a drag that won’t burn up on you after a couple fish. For a Rio line use the InTouch trout/steelhead indicator line.
I run about 4-5’ of 20lb Maxima again for the quick turnover, then I put hollow pencil lead or tungsten putty above the end of the line where I tie a swivel on. From there, I have pre-tied leaders of flourocarbon on a pool noodle that is about 3’ in length and 12-15lbs depending on water clarity. We are going to use smaller beads and smaller diameter line in water that has high clarity and bigger beads with heavier line on days with less visibility.
I slip a bead on and tie it directly to the swivel, and sometimes I’ll run a little bit shorter leader and run a Stonefly and a bead. Certain times of the year can be good Stonefly fishing when the water has good visibility, or the steelhead haven’t been messed with for a while.
The Scientific (SA) Anadro line is second to none for indicator fishing and I will always use it on all my indicator rods. This line is 1.5 times over-weighted and has a very slow taper to allow for the energy to transfer all the way to the indicator when mending.