Perhaps you have spent most of your fishing career with a few all-purpose rods that can easily transition from freshwater bluegill, bass, and trout, to saltwater flounder, croakers, and bluefish. Depending on where you live, you can decide to go fishing on a moment’s notice. You simply make the decision, grab your tackle, and head to your favorite fishing haunt for an hour, an afternoon, or an all-day excursion.

Steelhead, on the other hand, are not as accommodating to busy schedules or average tackle. To catch a steel, anglers have to make deliberate choices about what kind of gear they’re bringing, because steels aren’t freshwater or saltwater. They’re both.

Spawned in freshwater streams, steelhead migrate downstream to grow and mature in large, open bodies of water—like oceans. They migrate upstream to their birth waters to spawn. Those that reach adulthood prove they were tenacious enough to meet the challenges and the physiological rigors of transitioning between freshwater and saltwater. Inversely, the best rivers to fish for them are the most challenging for anglers.

Steelhead fishers may plan to travel to the world’s most appealing waters months—even years—in advance, either alone or in the company of experienced guides. Since steelhead migrate to spawn rather than to feed, anglers should augment their choices of baits, lures, equipment, and casting techniques to take advantage of that primal instinct to reproduce.


Steelhead fishing is a fulfilling experience like no other, done in places like no other.


G. Loomis, long recognized as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-quality spinning, casting, and fly rods, has simplified the process of choosing steelhead rods. Their versatile, competitively priced E6X lineup features spinning and casting rods ideal for boat fishing or wading. The G. Loomis E6X lineup provides the strength, durability, and finesse required to take on these challenging fish.


Rod Size

When fishing for steelhead, you’ll need a heavier, longer rod than your go-to rigs for bluegill or non-migratory trout. Whether you drift lures or baits, steel require a rod that can make long, accurate casts into the seams, riffles, and pools—areas where they pause to rest on their long, arduous journey upriver. G. Loomis’ E6X Drift Spinning and Drift Casting rods are perfectly crafted for these stretches of water. Ranging from 8’6” to 10’ in length, they provide the power and momentum that enable anglers to make precise casts.


Rod Strength and Sensitivity

A steelhead rod needs to be equal parts strength and resilience. Fishing for steelhead requires extreme patience at times, but once the hook is set, these magnificent fish fight with a desperate, adrenaline-induced will to live which sends them tearing up and down the rivers on long runs, challenging even the finest tackle.

Despite a steelhead’s legendary strength and power, they are often tentative when biting a lure. Sometimes they’ll slam the hook out of hunger or territorial aggression; many times the hit is so light and quick that it feel likes the lure is bumping against a rock.

G. Loomis’ E6X rods strike an ideal balance of strength and sensitivity with their proprietary Multi-Taper Technology, featuring an intense focus on line control, accuracy, and enhanced sensitivity. The combination enables anglers to feel the steelhead’s subtle bite with plenty of power to handle the strongest fish.

In addition, the entire E6X lineup features moderate, fast, and extra-fast actions for quick line recovery, impeccable control, and those almost-instant hook sets crucial to landing the fish of a lifetime.


G. Loomis’s E6X Drift Casting rods come in eight unique models in varying lengths, lure weights and line weights, all with fast actions to quickly set the hook on a steelhead.


Rod Options

Whether using baits, lures, or plugs, while fishing from a boat or wading, selecting a steelhead rod that suits the type of fishing inherent to the particular destination and time of year is crucial.

To that end, G. Loomis’ E6X Drift Spinning and Drift Casting rods come in 17 different models, with a broad selection of lengths and power ratings for multi-seasonal steelhead in high or low water. The 10’ E6X Steelhead Float provides an ideal blend of strength and sensitivity for float fishing, and the extra length protects lighter line and leaders when playing aggressive fish. The 7’6” E6X Steelhead Hot Shot is designed to fish plugs down-current from a boat, with a stiff, powerful butt-section to firmly set the hook and a light tip to closely monitor the plug’s action.


Whether you’re drifting lures or baits, G. Loomis’ E6X steelhead lineup has the right rod for your fishing destination and time of year.


For seasoned steelhead anglers or those just getting started, G. Loomis’ selection of E6X rods offers a variety of rod lengths with ideal combinations of actions, sensitivity, and line weights. Whether fishing from a boat, wading, drifting lures and baits, or monitoring plug action, G. Loomis has enhanced the playing field with these versatile steelhead rods perfect for any scenario.


Contact G. Loomis at their website for more information on the E6X steelhead lineup. The author welcomes your feedback and comments at


Article photos via G. Loomis

Cover image via Thinkstock

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