I can't believe I am about to say this but mama nature, can you turn the faucet off? It's been a wet 2017 to say the least. We cannot even keep track of the canceled trips and clinics so far year. Slowly but surely we are finding more days to get out and fish. Those days have been very productive too.
The current guides in California are probably the most dynamic class yet. We learned how to be successful in a major drought, now we are going to become experts on how to fish a flood.
Before the drought when we were fishing in a "normal" year, switch rods were just starting to take off. We dialed them in for both single hand casting and two handed casting. We tried many combinations of lines and sink tips. We finally had the system dialed but then the drought hit. With the low water levels distance took a back seat. Covering every part of the water wasn't as essential. Switch rods weren't as needed as they will be this year.
This is going to be a major high water year. Get used to it. The fishing is already good in certain places and is going to get better. We will have to change our approach. This is going to be a very good year for switch rods. It will give you the opportunity to cover more water and get more distance.
The idea of switch meaning you can single hand cast or spey cast doesn't really work because you are talking two very different fly lines. Single hand approaches need a specific line to be most effective while spey casting needs a completely different line. If you are going to single hand cast or indicator fish try and oversized weight forward line. I like the Trout/Steelhead/Indicator line from Rio. If you are going to spey cast and swing flies the Switch Chucker from Rio or a Skagit Head is perfect. The problem here is there isn't really one line that does it all.
Using a switch rod for single hand fishing in high water gives you a leg up. The length of a switch rod helps with bigger casts. It also helps with bigger mends and lifting a lot of excess line off the water. The disadvantage is that single hand lines do not spey cast.
Swinging flies on a switch rod can be an extremely beneficial way of covering water. You will be able to get good distance and put your fly in front of more fish. Using a skagit short head with a running line gives you the flexibility of adding tips and varying your fly size. Big ugly streamers on the Truckee will be a good way to get into a trophy size fish this year. You may need a pretty heavy skagit head to handle the sink tip and fly.
For more general purposes Rio's Switch Chucker line can be the closest solve all issues fly line on a switch rod. You can single hand cast or spey cast with it. The downside is that you limit yourself because this line does not handle heavy tips and bigger flies all that well. While single hand fishing with it once you get into the running line it becomes hard to mend and control.
My rod of choice here is an 11' 6wt. This is kind of do it all size rod for all situations. I've played around with micro speys and trout speys and they are wonderful for light tips and light flies. They have their purpose but aren't as universal as the switch rods.
If you have more questions email me or give Fly Fishing Specialties a call 916.722.1055.
See you on the water!