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Kara Knight’s Steelhead Rig

Posted on October 15 2015

Fly Fishing for Steelhead on the Dean River in British Columbia.
It works! Photo: Peter Christensen Video.

Kara Knight is our lodge manager at BC West. That means she gets to stomp around the Dean during her down time – we know, not a bad gig! Here’s Kara’s rig of choice when swinging flies for big, bad, Dean River steelhead.

Kara Knight’s Steelhead Rig

Fishing on the Dean takes you into an incredible variety of situations. From screaming hot fish in the tidewater to skating dries up river, all with the potential for brutally strong winds throughout. Having a rig that’s diverse enough to cover anything you might encounter will save you a lot of headaches & frustration. Ultimately it’s important to have something that you’re confident in AND enjoy casting all day. After all, confidence is key to catching fish, and at the end of the day you’d better be having fun! 

The Summary

The Detail

  • 30 pound Dacron backing, preferably orange, attached to the spool with an arbor knot.
  • 115 feet of 44 pound Rio SlickShooter running line, attached to backing with a loop to loop connection. Loops are formed with a bimini twist in the backing and a double surgeons knot in the SlickShooter.
  • Airflo Ultraspey shooting head attached to running line with a loop to loop connection using the factory loop in the shooting head and a double surgeons knot in the running line.
  • Airflo tips included in the Ultraspey system (in floating through sinking type 8 depending on the situation) attached to shooting head by factory loops.
  • 4 feet of 15 pound maxima attached to tip using a twisted ‘shock’ loop.
  • Single stage intruder tied to leader with a non-slip mono loop knot.

The Commentary

“I like that this rig is diverse and easy to cast. Any given day on the Dean you could be fishing deep, heavy water or swinging the slower shallows right into shore – the variety provided by the Ultra Spey system allows you to choose what you need to get your fly right where you want it”

“A lot of Pieroway users prefer to line a bit heavier & use a Skagit. I really like how this rod casts with a Scandi line though and it’s a great fit for the Ultraspey. It feels like it completely changes the action of the rod and makes it a lot faster, which is what I like. The 600 grain model is ideal for the Dean – not too much for the smaller fish but enough when you need to pull in a horse.”

“I find a Scandi line keeps me a bit more honest and forces me to use body rotation properly throughout my cast. This requires less effort overall and, for me, usually results in a nicer cast. I also find, being tall, that the added length of the line means I don’t have to think so much about maintaining my anchor. Since I started using this I haven’t cast a skagit. I love this rig!”

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