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Rod Selection - Small Stream Rods

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I've read all the tips on Todd's site and also some of the other sites listed - so I'll try to keep my questions limited to what I can't find answers for in the archive's.

Speaking of rods, I've read lots of the taper achieves and I think that the first rod I'll attempt will be either a PHY Driggs River, or Wayne's Sir D.  I'm new to fly fishing, just took it up this summer.  My family and I spend the summer (my wife and I are both teachers) on a river in the UP of Michigan so I tried it this summer and loved it.  I don't really know what kind of caster I am - just learning - and have a rod made of a material that is probably a dirty word on this list serve.  Would either of the rods I mentioned be better for small stream fishing - mostly for immature steelhead and brookies?  (Aaron Gaffney)

    The rods you are thinking about are usually multi-piece rods.  Unless you intend to make a single piece rod 7' to 8' long, eliminating the need for ferrules, the 6' length will do just fine.  Make but butt section from the lower portion and the tips from the upper section.

    Nothing is wrong with the tapers you mention.  They are super, proven tapers.  We all might have our favorites, but  the Driggs and Sir-D are great tapers.  Have at it.  (Russell Dabney)

    I've made the Driggs River and love it, I've also lent it out to lots  of friends and they love it too, good choice!  (Danny Twang)

    I'm getting ready to ramp up to finish rod #3.  My first rod was the Driggs River and I love that rod.  It's VERY parabolic (it bends well into the handle) and delivers flies very delicately.  Also, an 8-10" fish feels like a whale on it!  Great selection.  (Scott Turner)


I am looking to make a nice 1/2 wt brook rod for some heavily wooded stream.  Absolutely no overhead casting in there.  Anyone have some goo tapers they wouldn't mind sharing?  (Steve Fitch)

    I can't get my hands on the taper I have in mind, but you can get it from Dave LeClair, as it's his. It's a 5 foot, 1 wt, which I use with a 1 wt silk line. It's a lot of fun during the lower water portion of brookie season, and, if you lose your senses, it's actually a lot more robust than it looks.  (Gary Misch)

      Here is the taper for my five foot one weight.

      Taper for five foot, one weight

      Two Piece (Std. Version)

      0- .045
      5- .062
      10 -.066
      15- .078
      20- .088
      25 -.098
      30- .115
      35- .118
      40- .130
      45- .148
      50- .188
      55- .242
      60- .242

      Fast taper (Modified Version)

      0- .045
      5- .063
      10- .081
      15- .095
      20- .107
      25- .120
      30- .138
      35- .157
      40- .191
      45- .230
      50- .258
      55- .267
      60- .310  (Dave LeClair)


I have a friend who would like a 6 to 6’6” two piece for 2 or 3 weight line for small brook trout streams here in Pa.

I have a slight problem in that my finial forms only go to .030 so the smallest the tip could be would be is .060.  Any suggestion on a nice taper that has a tip dimension of .060 or greater.   (Rick Barbato)

    This would a 7' 2 piece but a friend made me a rod called a "Yellow Rose" and it's a nice little stick. 

    Sorry if it's a tad long for your friend. Neat little rod. (Jeremy Gubbins)

    I've built 4 or 5 6' 3 wt rods following a Winston 6032 taper, two of them were for my son and grandson back in PA by the way. I use mine in the Sierras for brook trout and use a DT3F line with it. It handles very well on short casts and can punch out a bit of line too if needed. I believe the measurements will work with your forms (see RodDNA). Hope this helps.  (John Parmenter)

    Most Paul Young Midge tapers will handle a 3 wt or a 4 wt line equally well and at 6'3" fits the requirements. I used the Midge taper from Jerry Foster's tapers list. (Will Price)

    RodDNA also shows two Cattanach tapers that would fill the bill. One for 6' and one for 6'-6".  (Pete Bates)


I'm wondering if anyone has a rod taper that works for tiny northwoods stream brookies (tight conditions) where a person fishes downstream and can mostly just flip underhand or do very short roll casts to very small pools?  What I wondered was whether a heavier tipped short rod would work better or a tip action short rod would work better?  (Dave Kemp)

    I built a 6.5' 3 wt rod for a similar purpose but different geography (small northern NM streams lined with willows).  I've used it with small dries, hopper-dropper rigs, and bead-head buggers.  It's one of my favorite rods.

    Wayne's taper was not a 3 wt, but is for a 6' 6" 2pc for a DT 4wt. I fish it with a WF 3 line.  The taper is on PG 222 of Wayne's book.  (Eric Koehler)


I am considering tapers for my initial build, and would appreciate suggestions to narrow the search down for something suitable for predominately fishing small streams with nymphs.  (Ron Delesky)

    Do you have a length preference?

    Number of pieces?

    A great first rod is a 7' 2/2 either the Sir D taper or the original Wayne Cattanach taper.

    The Sir D has a little  extra bamboo in the tip.  (Pete Van Schaack)

    I'd eagerly suggest the Garrison 193, but I don't want ya to build one rod and stop!  (Steve Yasgur)

    I might suggest that you look at Garrison's lighter rod tapers.  (Dave Wallace)

    Everyone here has given excellent tapers for a first rod. Hopefully this is not redundant, but I would suggest the Payne 100. It is a very nice rod, and not too thin in the tip section. A very good choice for a first rod.  (Jon Holland)

    I would suggest choosing a rod taper that doesn't have too finer tip, the 193 is fairly fine, I broke mine the first time I made it!

    maybe a Jim Payne Banty would be better, a little easier to split for and stagger the nodes and a stout tip to start with, a good little 4 weight though at 4' 4".  (Nick Brett)

      I would agree with Nick, remake something with a reasonably thick tip. I would even say don't make a fly rod to start with but that a spinning/bait casting rod would be a good choice.  (Paul Blakley)


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