Thoughts on a Travel Rod/Gear for Fall River Fishing?

A place for readers to talk about river fishing in Washington.
Forum rules
Forum Post Guidelines: This Forum is rated “Family Friendly”. Civil discussions are encouraged and welcomed. Name calling, negative, harassing, or threatening comments will be removed and may result in suspension or IP Ban without notice. Please refer to the Terms of Service and Forum Guidelines post for more information. Thank you
Post Reply
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:08 am

Thoughts on a Travel Rod/Gear for Fall River Fishing?

Post by seagullplayer77 » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:40 am

First time poster here, so if I'm doing something wrong here, please let me know.

I'm taking a five day trip to Washington in the middle of September with my family. The details haven't been hashed out completely yet, but it looks like we'll spend two days near Northern Cascades National Park and three days further south near Mount Rainier National Park. Most of the vacation houses we've been looking at are on or near rivers (Skykomish, Nooksack, Wenatchee, etc.), so I was planning on getting a three-day license so I could do some fishing.

I live in California and while I've done some surf fishing and lake fishing, I've never done any river fishing before so I'm looking for some advice. I like to travel light (i.e. no checked luggage) so I was thinking about getting one of the four-piece St. Croix Triumph travel rods specifically for this trip, then pairing it with a small spinning reel spooled up with some 4-8 lb braid. I have some small spinners, spoons, and bucktails leftover from a trout fishing trip to Lassen National Park in far Northern California, and was planning on trying my luck with those.

Now, from my preliminary research, it seems like my proposed setup (5' 6" to 6' 6" rod with light tackle) is not what most people use for fishing Washington rivers. Will I have any chance at catching something with a travel rod? If so, any suggestions on action, line weight, lures, etc.? And if not, any suggestions on an alternative?

My goal here is to just have some fun; I'm not going to spend the whole time fishing (it's a family vacation, not a fishing trip) and I'm not trying to land "the big one" or put food on the table. But it would be nice to at least have a fighting chance and I'm all ears for whatever suggestions you have. Thanks in advance for your advice and expertise!

User avatar
The Quadfather
Rear Admiral One Star
Posts: 3805
Joined: Tue May 08, 2007 2:27 pm
Location: Carkeek Park, North Seattle

Re: Thoughts on a Travel Rod/Gear for Fall River Fishing?

Post by The Quadfather » Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:45 am

Welcome to the forum, Seagull,

I am fairly experienced with travel/pack rods, as well as just bought another one myself last week.
In my opinion, from your description of your intentions, you are on the right tract. When you read the river reports here, you are mostly reading people targeting salmon and steelhead. That is why your Triumph setup seems light to you. And yes it would be for those fish.
It will be just fine for any resident trout that you come into contact with though.
The 1st thing to note would be the regs for each actual section of the river you are on. WA. state regs are notoriously lengthy, and rivers are broken down into specific sections.. then the section will break down further by the dates in the year, and still further by species, etc.
You would be OK with the 4-8lb braid that you mentioned, but of course use a fluorocarbon leader to be more stealthy. The rivers will be super low and clear at that time.

If you fish in at least Mt. Rainier National park, it will have its own regs. so check that out as well.
Consider some Mepps spinners, as well as be aware of if the river allows treble hooks. You may need to switch out to a single barbless hook.
Again, it sounds like you just want to see a fish at the end of the rod, and aren’t trying to land the 20lb Steelhead.
Have fun!

User avatar
Warrant Officer
Posts: 135
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:35 pm
Location: Bellingham

Re: Thoughts on a Travel Rod/Gear for Fall River Fishing?

Post by Jakefish » Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:11 am

What is your budget, and are you planning on using the setup after this trip? An easy option would be to stop somewhere like Fred Meyer (the local Kroger megastore all over Washington) or Wal-mart and purchase a cheap medium-weight spinning setup for the weekend. Then leave it at your cabin rental for the next guest with a note about how you did. You could certainly buy some lures ahead of time, but those are easy to find here as well. An easy method that will catch both salmon and trout/bull trout is drifting a Dick Nite spoon or a wedding ring on a 6 foot leader behind a 3-way swivel with a 1 foot dropper weight. This works well in slow to moderate current. As Quadfather mentioned - be aware that treble hooks aren't allowed on most rivers up here, and you may need to be barbless.

Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:08 am

Re: Thoughts on a Travel Rod/Gear for Fall River Fishing?

Post by seagullplayer77 » Wed Aug 22, 2018 12:33 am

Thanks for the helpful replies and suggestions - keep 'em coming!

With regards to budget, I'd rather spend ~$150 on a decent travel setup that I can use again rather than ~$50 on an inexpensive full-size setup that I'll necessarily only use for one trip. If that was the difference between catching something and not then I might consider it, but the incremental savings would be hard for me to justify otherwise.

Once we figure out where exactly we're headed, I'll be sure to look more closely at the regulations for the relevant body(s) of water.

User avatar
Posts: 1819
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2007 8:20 am
Location: Spangle, WA

Re: Thoughts on a Travel Rod/Gear for Fall River Fishing?

Post by hewesfisher » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:44 am

WA fishing regulations are very complex and difficult even for those of us who live and fish here. In addition to things already mentioned, there are many species restrictions as well. Below is direct link to WA Dept of Fish and Wildlife page where you can download the current fishing regulation pamphlet. Be sure to download pamphlet corrections and emergency rule updates too.

Hope you have an enjoyable visit. [cool]

'09 Hewescraft 20' ProV
150hp Merc Optimax
8hp Merc 4-stroke
Raymarine DS600X HD Sounder
Raymarine a78 MultiFunctionDisplay
Raymarine DownVision
Raymarine SideVision
Baystar Hydraulic Steering
Trollmaster Pro II
Traxstech Fishing System
MotorGuide 75# Thrust Wireless Bow Mount

Posts: 295
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2015 2:33 pm

Re: Thoughts on a Travel Rod/Gear for Fall River Fishing?

Post by dj2loud » Wed Aug 22, 2018 5:06 pm

I would stay away from the nooksack, it's like fishing in coffee thats mixed with chocolate milk...... Silt runoff from glacier creek is horrible this time of year...

Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2016 12:39 pm

Re: Thoughts on a Travel Rod/Gear for Fall River Fishing?

Post by castmstr » Sat Sep 22, 2018 5:45 pm

I was also in the market for a travel rod recently. Wanted something that I could cast off the beach, either here for salmon, or even when traveling to a warmer beach destination. But also be used for river fishing in a pinch. I found a Santiam 9’6” MF 4-piece, 1/2-2oz. It’s pretty stout for the river, but it will throw floats. Seems like all longer travel rods are MH or more. I like it so far, carbon handle is cool and it comes with a nice case, fits in airline overhead bins fine.

Post Reply