Get ready to catch the big one as we jump back into Great Lakes fly fishing today. We know how much you love this, so we’re serving up another dose of steelhead wisdom and adventure from the Great Lakes Dude, Jeff Liskay.

We continue where we left off, building a roadmap to Great Lakes Steelhead. This time, we cover the equipment, presentation, and of course, the flies.

Great Lakes Fly Fishing with Jeff Liskay. Hit play below!


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(Read the Full Transcript at the bottom of this Blog Post)


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Great Lakes Fly Fishing Show Notes with Jeff Liskay


00:34 – No Great Lakes Dude episode is ever complete without a classic story from Jeff. This time, he takes us back to 1971 when he landed his first King Salmon.

04:19 – We pick up right where we left off in episode #2 of Great Lakes Dude, where we explored the steelhead awareness zone.

Great Lakes Fly Fishing
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Jeff Liskay on Fly Presentation


04:25 – Presenting your fly first starts with your equipment. Jeff often gets asked about the ideal rod and line to buy. When choosing a rod, consider where you’ll fish the most.

05:38 – Longer rods provide better line management and control over our presentation than shorter ones.

06:35 – It’s all about payload delivery when choosing rods and lines. There’s no bad rod or line, just bad rod-to-line matching for what you’re trying to achieve.

Great Lakes fly fishing

Single-Hand Rod Set Ups by the Great Lakes Dude


07:23 – A 10 ft long with 6, 7, or 8 wt. is recommended for single-hand rods. A 7 wt rod is suitable for smaller venues like Ohio and PA.


08:02 – Regarding lines, the two choices are streamer lines or steelhead taper lines. Jeff’s go-to is the Scientific Anglers Mastery Titan Taper Fly Line. For larger venues, Jeff uses the Scientific Angler Anadro Indicator.

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09:59 – If Jeff had to pick one rod that might do it all, he would choose a 10 ft 8 wt single-hand rod.


Switch and Two-Hand Rod Set Ups


10:31 – Ohio, PA, New York, and all the other Great Lakes Venues can be classified into two categories. The first one is switch trout spey and short spey. This family of rods starts at 10 ft 6 inches to 11 ft. 9 inches, ranging from 4 wt. to 8 wt.

11:19 – Jeff generally leans towards Skagit lines, and when selecting a grain window for a switch rod or short spey, he finds that the 400 to 450 range can get the job done.

Great Lakes fly fishing

13:23 – Jeff walks us through the setup for two-hand rods. According to him, these rods typically range from 12 ft to 15 ft in length and range from 6 wt to 10 wt.

20:12 – For those starting, Jeff’s recommendation is to learn it all.

22:01 – Jeff discusses the pros and cons of swung flies.

29:09 – When presenting a fly, the rod’s position and casting angle are all part of the equation.

Great Lakes fly fishing

37:37 – Jeff talks about line mending and suggests that one needs to be good at aggressive mends rather than minor adjustments typically used in trout fishing.

40:00 – Jeff’s fly box contains a greater variety of sizes and colors rather than a wide range of distinct patterns.

44:50 – Jeff’s rule for your tip system is to fish with a shorter distance when the water is cold or dirty and to fish with a longer distance when the water is warm and clear.

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46:00 – Jeff discusses the factors to consider when choosing the right sink tip.

Jeff Liskay on Choosing the Right Fly


55:36 – Jeff recommends baitfish patterns, egg patterns, and some aquatic bug patterns for nymphing. Pick one or two patterns for each and tie those in three sizes to match the water clarity.

57:48 For swung fly patterns, Jeff says he mostly fishies unweighted flies. He uses three sizes of his six best patterns for low, average, and high water conditions.

We’d love to get an update from you; if you’re enjoying these episodes, send your love to Dave or Jeff.

You can connect with Jeff on Instagram @greatlakesdude

Facebook Jeff Liskay

Visit his website at Great Lakes Fly Fishing

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Related Podcast Episodes

Great Lakes Dude #2 with Jeff Liskay – A Roadmap to Great Lakes Steelhead Fishing

Great Lakes Dude #1 with Jeff Liskay – Steelhead, Walleye, Lake Erie, Fly Fishing

Read the Full Podcast Transcript Below


Great Lakes fly fishing

Great Lakes Fly Fishing Conclusion with Jeff


That was another great episode, packed with steelhead wisdom from the Great Lakes Dude, Jeff Liskay. From rod selection to fly presentation, Jeff shared valuable insights and tips to help us conquer the challenging world of Great Lakes fly fishing.

There’s more where this came from, so keep an eye out for the next episode from Jeff.