Perfect Setup - Fall Steelhead

Dax Messett

I have a favorite new stick for chasing Fall Steelhead on my favorite rivers that I guide such as the Grande Ronde in Washington, Upper Rogue in Oregon, and Trinity River in California. I like a rod that is light, powerful, and smooth to cast. I want a rod that I can really feel throughout the entire casting stroke, and feel the steelhead when I have that special encounter. I want a rod that can elegantly cast tight loops with a Scandi floating line set up with a skater in a riffle or tailout, then switch over to a Skagit to huck big leeches in deeper slots when the water cools off later in the season. The rod that accommodates all of this is the new Sage X 6120.

ROD // 6120 X

Believe the hype, this rod is insane. If you are to have the misfortune of having to own just one summer/fall two handed rod, this one should get some serious consideration. I’ve put it in hands of both beginners and experts alike, and all are stoked on it. Novices can grow with this rod, and experts have no limitations with what it can do.


This reel balances quite nice with the 6120. I like to fish with a high rod tip, so I need a reel that has enough weight to it to naturally push the tip up, which this model does perfectly. It looks elegant, has a very smooth drag but actually has a nice sound to it too..I like to hear my reels! Simply put, this is a very high quality reel that looks cool with an excellent price tag.

LINE // RIO Skagit Max 425 or RIO Scandi 390

If you only were to have one line and one tip to get started with on this set up, just get the 425 Max, a spool of 10b Maxima, and a MOW Medium 5/5. You can fish virtually every type of water with this set up by changing variables such as leader length, size and weight of fly, adding bullet weights, where you cast and how you fish it. That being said, personally I love fishing that 390 scandi floating line with a Rio tapered steelhead leader for as long as possible into the fall season, until the fish start hunkering down into deeper water.

Dax Messett PNW Mega Steelhead Guide
  • Multi-Discipline
  • clp

    X Spey

    Multi-Discipline /