a display of fly-fishing flies

Gearing up for fishing

If you’re just getting started fishing, or you want to try a new kind of fishing, you’ll need a rod, reel and some tackle. To help you get started, we’ve put together some fishing outfits for trout, panfish (bluegill, crappie, pumpkin seed, sunfish), bass, steelhead, walleye, salmon and sturgeon.

Selecting the right rod, reel and tackle for freshwater species

Consider these a starting point. There are lots of other alternatives - talk to eight different anglers about what they use to catch trout and you're likely to get eight different answers, based on their experiences and personal preferences. None of them are wrong, just different.

So here are our suggestions for getting started. All purpose starter outfit for:

Trout, bass, panfish

  • Rod: 5.5 feet long, medium action
  • Reel: spincast
  • Line: 6-12 pound monofilament
  • Lure and tackle: #7 snap swivel, size 8 bait hook, #5 lead split shot, bobber, PowerBait
  • Other lures to consider: many kinds of natural and synthetic baits, spinners, jigs, poppers

Also suitable for many bass fishing situations.

Light trout and panfish

  • Rod: 5 feet long, ultra-light action
  • Reel: spinning
  • Line: 2-6 pound monofilament
  • Lure and tackle: 1/6 oz. Rooster Tail spinner
  • Other lures to consider: many kinds of natural and synthetic baits, spinners, crappie jigs, poppers

Larger bass

  • Rod: 6.5 feet long, medium action
  • Reel: baitcasting
  • Line: 6-15 pound monofilament
  • Lure and tackle: 3/8 oz. jig with weed guard
  • Other lures to consider: many kinds of natural and synthetic baits, spinnerbaits, poppers, crankbaits

Also suitable for trout and panfish.

Trout, panfish, and bass fly-fishing

  • Rod: 9 feet long, 5-weight, medium/fast action
  • Reel: fly reel
  • Line: weight forward floating
  • Lure and tackle: 7.5 foot, 4x leader, wooly bugger (streamer)
  • Other lures to consider: wet flies, nymphs, dry flies, small poppers

All-purpose steelhead

  • Rod: 8.5 feet long, medium/heavy action
  • Reel: baitcasting
  • Line: 8-12 pound monofilament
  • Lure and tackle: #5 spinner
  • Other lures to consider: plugs, steelhead jigs

Steelhead jig fishing

  • Rod: 10' 9" feet long, light/medium action
  • Reel: spinning
  • Line: 6-10 pound monofilament
  • Lure and tackle: 3/8 oz. swivel weight, 1/8 oz. jig, 1/2 oz. West Coast slip bobber, bobber stops
  • Other lures to consider: spinners

Steelhead fly-fishing with single-handed rod

  • Rod: 9 feet long, 8-weight, medium/fast action
  • Reel: fly reel
  • Line: weight forward floating for an 8-weight rod
  • Lure and tackle: 9 foot, 12-pound leader, steelhead wet fly
  • Other lures to consider: steelhead nymphs, skating (dry) flies

Steelhead fly-fishing, two-handed rod (Spey)

  • Rod: 14 feet long, 9-weight, fast action
  • Reel: fly reel large enough to accommodate spey line
  • Line: Skagit spey line for a 9-weight
  • Lure and tackle: 15 foot sinking tip, 3 foot 12-pound leader, stinger-style winter steelhead fly
  • Sinking tip effective for winter steelhead. Change to a floating tip for summer fish.

All-purpose salmon

  • Rod: 9.5 feet long, medium to heavy action
  • Reel: level wind
  • Line: 15-30 pound braided
  • Lure and tackle: spreader bar, 5-8 oz. dropper, spin 'n glo, #2 octopus hook baited with artificial salmon eggs
  • Other lures to consider: spinners, plugs, wobblers

All-purpose sturgeon

  • Rod: 7 feet long, heavy action
  • Reel: level wind
  • Line: 25-40 pound braided
  • Lure and tackle: barrel slider with 5-8 oz. weight, 6/0 hook
  • Baits: smelt, squid, anchovies, sand shrimp

All-purpose walleye

  • Rod: 8.5 feet long, heavy action
  • Reel: spinning
  • Line: 12-30 pound monofilament
  • Lure and tackle: bottom dragger weight system, wedding ring baited with worm
  • Other lures to consider: walleye harness

a small image of the Gearing Up flyer

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