Other Gear

Vest - A comfortable one with large pockets

Fly Boxes - carry a few at all times loaded with streamers, nymphs, egg patterns, and some local favorites.

Forceps and/or needle nose Pliers - for removing hooks from fish and crimping pliers

Net - A good landing is a plus. We like the Beckman small or medium steelhead models

Split shot - water gremlin #3/0 are pretty standard but #BB and #7 are good to have as well.

Slinkers - Alternate to using split shot (see our techniques page)

Barrel swivels - #10's work well. Use for drop shot and/or slinker rigs.

Hooks (for snelling yarn flies) - Sizes #4 - #8 octopus style. We prefer the chemically sharpened varieties with a strong wire.
We Recommend Mustad, Eagle Claw, VMC

Strike indicators - there are a wide variety on the market today. They work great when drifting in low light conditions. We prefer the homemade Glo bug yarn style (see instructions on our techniques page).

Floats - A few floats for those slow water or hard to manage drifts

Yarn - A variety of colored yarn for your snelled yarn flies. Recommend Glo bug or McFly Foam in a few of shades of orange and pink. Make sure you have chartreuse as well.


Leader Spools - Mono or Fluorocarbon. Mono works just fine but, if the fish are spooky or during low clear water, give fluorocarbon a try. We recommend Maxima ultra green or clear mono, or Berkley Vanish fluorocarbon.

Scissors - A good sharp pair for cutting and shaping yarn flies.

Hook Hone - We really feel this is way under rated. Drifted flies take a beating on the plethora of rocks in our rivers. Honing your hooks from time to time helps to eliminate lost fish.

Rodrule - and/or soft tape measuring device to record the length of your catch

Camera - goes without saying - we prefer the waterproof 35mm. Digital is great too, just don't get it wet!

Note pad - keep track of your daily catch to record in a journal or log book back at home.

Gear List:

North Shore Steelhead fishing can demand a lot from your gear, tackle, and clothing. One day you may find yourself bush whacking in the thickets along a backwoods tributary in 60 degree weather. The next day you could find yourself knee deep in a river with howling wind and sleet while drifting to those elusive Steelies. Your gear should be able to adapt to these ever changing conditions and, be of good quality to ensure comfort and enjoyment.

Waders have come along way. Today you will see most anglers using the lightweight breathable nylon type. This style has pretty much replaced the 3 & 5 mil neoprene models of yesterday. We recommend the chest high, stocking foot type with a quality felt sole and built in gravel guards. This style provides for all day comfort as well as confidence while wading. The greatest advantage of the breathable waders is just that, they “breathe”. This is ideal on those hikes or on those long days. They are also lighter, easy to pack, dry quickly, and usually tear resistant. Remember; don't forget your wadding belt too.

Find a comfortable boot and make sure it has felt. There are plenty of quality boots out there in today's market. Before heading to the river, we highly recommend trying your boots on first. In fact, it is not a bad idea to get them wet as well. Wading boots tend to soften up a bit once they are wet.

Most steelhead fishing can be accomplished with a typical 8' to 10', 7-8 weight graphite fly rods. All the major manufactures and, most of the little guys too, carry a rod that will suffice. We typically fish two slightly different types of rods. One type is your standard off the shelf 9', 7 or 8 weight. We use the 8# more on the larger, faster water. The other type is a 9' - 10' drift rod with nylon guides and a 3” - 4” butt section. This is an ideal style for mono or fly line drift fishing. We have yet to see a manufacture commercially produce these so, you will need to find a good rod builder.

There are so many fly reels on the market today to pick just one. Multipliers, Traditional, mid arbor and, large arbor reels all work just fine. We recommend that you find a model that has a smooth, quality drag that will work when wet.

For Fly Fishing we recommend a floating WF line for most situations. A sink-tip line is good to have on hand but not an absolute must. We primarily use the latter when fishing deep terminal holes or swinging deep pools.

For Drift fishing we recommend either spooling with high abrasion resistant monofilament or a floating running/shooting fly line. Check out our techniques page for the pro's & cons of these two methods.

Stay away from Cotton!
We recommend layering with synthetics. In cold conditions a pair of capilene mid weight long johns coupled with a pair of fleece wadding pants with stirrups is our pick for under chest waders. Tops are similar with the addition of a wind stopper shell. For all practical purposes breathable rain wear works just fine for the out shell.

Rain jacket
Don't leave home without a quality, breathable rain jacket. Your jacket should keep you dry and comfortable no madder the conditions. We recommend a multi-layered, breathable fabric type of jacket. They are lightweight and comfortable for all day use.

A MUST HAVE period. You will need at least one pair of quality POLARIZED SUNGLASSES. Bringing a spare pair just in case is a smart plan too. Besides helping you spot fish and river bottoms, they also provide added safety while casting or hook setting. The best lens colors for most north shore conditions are brown and amber.  

Website Design by:

Copyright © 2005 - 2016 Minnesota Steelheader   •   PO Box 10848   •   St. Paul, MN   55110   •   All rights Reserved