Simplifying Spey Lines: Skagit vs Scandinavian

In the last few years we are seeing a huge growth in two handed, spey casting/fishing industry. As more and more people enter the sport, we are seeing a bit of confusion between the differences in shooting head spey lines. Skagit and Scandinavian shooting heads are gaining in popularity, as there are more enjoyable and easier to cast than your average 55-65' Spey line. I wrote the following article to help anglers understand the difference between Skagit and Scandinavian lines, hopefully making your choice on what line to buy or fish a bit easier.

Simplifying Spey Lines: Skagit vs Scandinavian
by: Jason Hartwick



While were on the topic of dry flies...

I don't think enough people fish dry flies for steelhead. Skated or waking dry flies are one of most effective methods of taking summer and fall steelhead throughout the West Coast. These fish are extremely aggressive and will move quite a distance for a fly, especially one that is creating a disturbance on the surface. Plus, there is nothing better than seeing a fish push water and go crazy over a fly skating across the current. While they might not always take your offering, just seeing a toilet bowl swirl on your fly is enough to get the adrenaline flowing!

Like anything else, there are a variety of different dry flies and skaters. In the last ten years, foam skaters have become popular since they ride high on the water and create a good size wake without having to riffle hitch the fly. My personal favorite is a riffle hitched muddler. It is an old standby and they push a lot of water when hitched and create a big wake with a buggy profile. Put the sink tips and wet flies away! While you might not raise a fish the first couple of times out, stay persistant and it will happen.

Jason Hartwick


Dry Fly Love

So I was finally able to sneak away from work for a few days and hit a favorite summer run stream to the north. It has been far too long since I last visited these fabled waters and skated a dry through its boulder strewn runs and tailouts. It's not a place with big numbers of fish but what is there is a special race of wild steelhead that give their heart and soul if hooked. Key word being"if"!

I have spent many fish less days on this river. There are also days where 5-6 fish might rise to the dry fly only to refuse it, causing your heart to skip a beat. You think that she might come back on the next cast in hopes that the fly sticks and the Hardy starts to sing. Nothing happens, but that's fairly typical here.

Your mind often starts to wander and the process of cast, swing, step gets repetitive. Just as you think it might be another one of "those" days, the atypical happens. Your fly is skating through a ledgy tailout when all of a sudden the water erupts in the vicinity of the fly. The fly is gone and a split second later, line is being ripped off that signing Hardy at a high rate. At the same time, the fish is cartwheeling out of the water at almost head height. How the hell do these fish jump that high while still pulling backing off the reel. The fish finally stops once the line is wrapped around a rock. All you feel is tension on the line and nothing is moving. Did the fish wrap you around a rock and come loose? Only to approach the rock and change the direction of pressure does the fish scream downriver into the backing again looking for more rocks to hide around. Minutes pass and not much line is gained.

Do these fish ever give up? Not easily. A couple of more jumps and head shakes and she finally breaks for some softer water. Here is my chance, after following this fish 150 plus yards downstream over ledgerock and boulders, does she finally start to tire in a slower pool. As she nears the bank, it is one of the strongest, most hard fighting wild hens I have ever landed. Something I will never forget, until maybe another fish falls to a skated muddler!

Jason Hartwick