As we roll into a new decade, the options for short two-handed, switch, or even one-handed Spey rods has never been greater, and the interest in going short clearly on the rise. I have seen a consistent decline in the size of my “go to” rods over the last few years with lengths of 11 feet or less being regularly matched with much of my home waters. There are many advantages to shorter rods – both tactically and esthetically – that drive this preference.
Building a basic understanding of Spey casting, including techniques, equipment, terminology, and history. All Spey 101 content is free to view for non-members. Learn and Enjoy!
10 Do’s and Don’ts for Beginner Spey Casters
I’ve had the privilege of teaching several hundred new Spey casters over the last decade, and during that time I’ve had the opportunity to observe…
Learn How to Spey Cast
Understanding basic Spey casting terminology will ease your learning process.
What is Trout Spey?
As two-handed Spey casting has exploded in popularity over the last 20 years so, too, has the technology available in the manufacture of two-handed (Spey)…
Spey Equipment Basics
When selecting your first equipment it is best to consult your local Spey shop. Below is some terminology so you have a little background knowledge of…
Passing on healthy rivers and fish populations to the next generation is a responsibility all swung fly anglers must be committed to. Keep tabs here on the latest news from our conservation partners and learn how you can help.
OPINION: Can Washington’s steelheaders rise to the challenge of our steelhead crisis?
So if this is the darkest moment yet for Washington steelhead, and for those who cherish them whether for sport, sustenance, connections to our natural…
NEW Rule Changes for the Olympic Peninsula
The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife just announced rule changes for 2021 for the rivers of the Olympic Peninsula. Most notably, the major rivers…
Winter on the Coast: Upcoming Options for Winter Steelhead on Washington’s Coastal Rivers
In an online meeting on Tuesday evening, Washington anglers heard updates from state fishery managers on projected wild winter steelhead run numbers and potential regulatory…
Respect and Responsibility: Speaking Up for the Wild Spring Chinook of the Oregon Coast
Truth is, these fish are tough, resilient and magnificent beings that do not need saving. Instead, they need respect. They are here, asking for acknowledgment…
Terminal thinking seems especially prevalent as we contemplate the changes to our lives in a post-COVID-19 world. It’s a tough time to be a swinger of flies. On the West Coast, steelhead guides and fishermen lost a good chunk of their season due to the closure of rivers and non-essential businesses. Here on the East…
This article originally appeared in the 2019.1 issue of Swing the Fly magazine and is free to view. Enjoy, and if you’re not already a member, consider joining to get access to all the member content and the Anthology book. As Spey fishers, we dream of the perfect pool. At the head of the pool, where…
As we roll into a new decade, the options for short two-handed, switch, or even one-handed Spey rods has never been greater, and the interest in going short clearly on the rise. I have seen a consistent decline in the size of my “go to” rods over the last few years with lengths of 11…
Cold Water Strategies
As the colder side of fall begins to settle in, occasionally an acquaintance or distant family member aware of my “fascination” with fishing will ask, “Is your fishing over for the year?” When I answer, “Nope, it’s just getting started,” I get that look of confusion. It’s an expression that seems to reflect wonder of…
The Green Machine and the Rio Grande
Last January, Michael and I finally stood on the banks of the Rio Grande in Tierra del Fuego. Like always, we booked on a relatively short notice, but we made it. We even man-aged to fill our fly boxes with all kinds of differnt flies, from Wooly Buggers to tube flies, rubber leg nymphs and…
Skjern Å: A Real Life Fairy Tale
Like the ugly duckling from Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fairy tale, there is a hint of metaphor in my small story about a “ditch” that, after many years of mishandling, turns into a prolific and beautiful salmon river.
PHP: The Dream Team of Flies
Admittedly, the effectiveness of a fly relies principally on the confidence that the fisherman has in it, but it also has to be recognized that the nearly-doubled rate of success kills any prior prejudice; the PHP flat-out works.
A reflection on life and a trip of a lifetime.
Anchor-Centric Spey Casting
Is there a unifying component that makes all of the great Spey casters successful in their respective styles?
Are You a Reactionary Caster?
This is a bit of a rhetorical question, but it needs to be addressed. At some point, or in some Spey casting situations, we are all reactionary casters. The real question is are the common casting mistakes you make based on a reaction to another sequence in the Spey cast? Let’s uses an example we…
Tips for a Smoother Snakeroll
We all have at least tried the snakeroll; some have mastered it and some have given up. But, learning and knowing the coolest cast in Spey casting is something we should all aspire to. The snakeroll is a modern two-handed cast developed by Simon Gawesworth. The cast has since grown into use in all parts…
Speying the Hatch
The need to “match the hatch” was a facet of trout fishing with flies that intrigued me the most as a young angler and still abides as a source of entertaining and satisfying challenges. It’s an aspect of our game that separates steelhead and salmon fishing from trouting. Trout are actively feeding (more or less),…
Big Rods, Wee Flies
As Trout Spey continues to grow in popularity we encounter information outlining the applications of two-handed rods designed for trouting. This info is fairly sound, except too often we are told the lighter weight Trout Spey rods are most suitable for presenting wee soft-hackle flies, while the heavier rods are reserved for larger, heavier flies…
What is Trout Spey?
As two-handed Spey casting has exploded in popularity over the last 20 years so, too, has the technology available in the manufacture of two-handed (Spey) rods. This allowed for the development of lighter, more limber rods making two-hand rods no longer restricted in use to larger game fish. Missouri River, MT brown trout. Photo…
Paris in Summer
Over the years I have received pieces of fly fishing advice that seem to combine both time-tested truth and a devilish elusiveness. Near the top of this list is: “Always be ready for the moment when a fish takes your fly. It can happen any time your fly is in the water, even when you…
Winter Steelhead Rigging Seminar January 28!
On January 28 at 6:30 p.m. PST (9:30 EST), Swing the Fly Editor Zack Williams will host a live event about rigging for Winter/Spring steelheading.
Exploring Summer Steelhead Fly Patterns: Idaho’s Clearwater
Many rivers and their native fish have nuanced fly preferences. Sometimes it seems to be based on available food sources or prevailing river conditions; but sometimes it just seems like the fish – or anglers – have … well … preferences: cheeseburger over hotdog. Idaho’s Clearwater tests both of these potential explanations: Are the steelhead’s…
On the Water with John McMillan
It is early January when I board the ferry crossing the Puget Sound. I’m on my way West to the coast, to the hallowed rivers of the Olympic Peninsula, to catch up with John McMillan and swing a couple runs. The trip is a welcome escape from Seattle’s traffic and high-rise construction projects towering over…