Michigan Fly Fishing
About Us
Fishing Schudeles
Fly Fishing Schools
Fly Fishing Destinations
Pricing and Availability
Garden River
Chuck's Favorites
Hot Spots
Used Gear
Fishing Videos
Contact Us
Click Here to Buy Orvis Gear!
Michigan Orvis Endorsed Fly-Fishing Guides

Spey Indicator Float Fishing for Steelhead

Orvis Pro Guide Waders

This winter I have been learning a new fishing technique that I believe all steelhead fly fishers should be aware of, indicator fishing with a spey rod. When Jon Ray first introduced me to the idea I was skeptical, I don't like bobber fishing. Being a streamer and flats fishing fanatic I like tight lines, the idea of floating a bobber didn't really appeal to me. However I've been converted. This technique is fun to learn and is a more legitimate form of fly fishing than chuck and duck. Most importantly it catches fish, especially in winter, one of the nicest times to fish.

The basic idea is you rig a spey rod with a float and a 9-12 foot leader. Attach two flies and enough weight to get the flies down quickly. With a relatively short, simple spey cast you set the the float in the run then feed line and mend to keep the float dead drift. With a 12 to 14 foot rod you can let your offering drift for 100 feet or longer and still set the hook. There are some nuances to adding weight and flies that are difficult to explain here but we would be happy to show you on the water. Click here for a simple diagram of the Spey Float Set-up.

What has me most excited about this method is the ability to put flies in places that you can't bottom bounce. These places are also the ones that fish like in colder water temps. Structure helps the fish deal with the current when the water is in the low 30's. By suspending the flies you can fish over that structure and hook fish. Also new flies are being develped as we speak to make this an even more effictive method. Example of a bead head wiggle hex below.

If you have an interest in booking a trip to learn this new technique contact me at chuck@hawkinsflyfishing.com or 231.228.7135.

Spey Casting
Chuck Hawkins has an easy time maintaining line control, using a spey rod.

Winter steelhead
Slow deep woody runs and pools are favorite hang outs for winter steelhead, we can't bottom bounce these lies. But with the float the whole river is opening up.

A view of the top and bottom of the float use a duncan loop of twenty pound test to slide your float up and down. Notice the bead at the bottom, so your knot wont slide up into the float. A little guide tip!

Michigan Hex PatternJR's Beadhead Wiggle Rabbit Tail Hex

(learn to tie a the Wiggle Hex)


This page is devoted to those things which I find to be especially good and noteworthy. From time to time I'll post different products, ideas, techniques, or destinations that I think are outstanding and worthy of your notice. Please understand that any topics that I bring up are my choosing and are here solely at my discretion. These are my opinions and don't reflect in any way on other manufacturers, guides, lodges or anything else. This is just my opinion.