Over the past few years, spey casting has become the method of choice in most fisheries around the world that involve presenting swung flies to anadromous fish. On the Kola Peninsula, and in Iceland, and on the Hoh River and in Tierra Del Fuego, anglers chase Atlantics and steelhead and sea run browns with spey rods. Visit Alaska West or BC West when the kings or steelhead are in the river, and you’re going to see a whole bunch of anglers with spey rods in their hands.
Within just the last couple of years, lightweight spey tackle and techniques have been refined to the point where many anglers, us included, have also started using spey rods to chase trout.
We fish in a lot of different places around the world and firmly believe that tackle and techniques should match the species and angling situation at hand. We don’t think you should spey cast just for spey casting’s sake– this is not the way to present #22 dries on the Henry’s Fork.
However, if you’re primarily swinging flies for trout –like you would with a smolt pattern, or a sculpin, or a leech or even a mouse — little spey rods are a great way to get ‘er done, for all the same reasons we like them for large anadromous fish.
Here’s why you should spey fish for trout:
- The long rod gives you more line control. A 12 1/2 foot rod allows you to move more line than a 9 foot rod does, and that helps you swim your fly better – simple as that.
- It’s easier. If you’re swinging flies, your fly winds up downstream of you at the end of every swing. It’s a pain in the rear end to get that fly moving front-to-back again with an overhead cast, and spey casting was designed to make that fly change directions.
- You can cast further. Most of the time that you’re trout fishing, distance doesn’t really matter too much. However, a really cool benefit of spey casting for trout is that on some pretty incredible trout waters, like the Arolik in Western Alaska for example, the extra 30-40 feet of range that you get with a little spey rod allows you to pretty literally cover the whole river. We love wading the Arolik and bouncing smolt, sculpin and mouse patterns off the far bank. It’s a hoot and it’s really effective.
- It’s fun. Yes, we claimed above that you shouldn’t spey cast for spey casting’s sake. But if you’re swinging flies and the fish are eating, it’s a lot more fun to pull off a spey cast like the snap-T than it is to go from 10 o’clock to 2 o’clock for the one-millionth time.
Coming soon, we’ll have follow-up posts on gear and tactics related to spey fishing for trout.