Perfect Setup - Great Lakes Steelhead

By Evan Visuri

This setup is the perfect fit for swinging flies on some of the Great Lakes bigger river systems. The majority of the Spey fishing that I do is from a boat. I needed a set up that was able to cast heavy tips and medium to large steelhead flies (3 - 5 1/2”with bead chain or to medium dumbbell eyes). All of this had to be done with a shorter rod, as full Spey rods (13’ plus) can be cumbersome to fish out of a boat, especially when two clients are fishing simultaneously.

This is my perfect set up and what I have chosen to fish on my home waters for Lake Michigan and Manistee River steelhead.

ROD // 8126-4 METHOD

The METHOD is truly remarkable, the fast action of this rod accompanied with the overall weight and ease of use has allowed my clients to fish longer and more productively which ultimately means more fish to hand. The length coming in at 12 1/2’ is an ideal fit for two handed casting from a boat, this feels to me like a perfect hybrid between a switch and a full Spey. The METHOD is a true workhorse allowing me to tie on the heaviest tips and flies (up to 15’ of T-14 and large dumbbell-eyed flies) while running intermediate lines, but at the same time is not too much rod to run a floating line and slow sinking tip. I have yet to find a situation where this rod has not performed flawlessly.


The EVOKE is a great tool for swinging flies, as I can run a very light drag and allow the fish to grab and turn with the fly before setting the hook, and when the fight begins still have complete control with fingertip or palm pressure on the spool. Not to mention the EVOKE is bombproof.


Paired with RIO iMOW TIPS or just 12’ sections of InTouch Level-T, you can turn over just about anything. The iFlight allows for a perfect swing in any type of water; this head will also cut deeper than a floating head, allowing me to get the fly down fast and stay down at the steelhead’s level.

Evan Visuri is a Sage Elite Pro and guide for The Northern Angler.  When not on the water, you'll find Evan chasing upland birds or in a duck blind with his yellow lab, Hopper.  He and his wife Samantha and son Nash live in Traverse City, Michigan.