October 5, 2022

Choosing a Noodle Rod

“Noodle” rods (also known as Salmon/Steelhead rods) are one of the best tools for Great Lakes or Coastal salmon and steelhead fishing for many reasons. And there is no better place to research and shop for a noodle rod than FishUSA!

Shimano Clarus Rod

So why are noodle rods so popular? The soft action of noodle rods enables finesse rigs with very light line to fish effectively. If conditions dictate using split shot, you will feel every bump along the bottom and the most subtle takes by fish. Using a noodle rod for drift fishing with a delicate float and bait makes presenting a drag-free drift easy. With the rod tip held high, its length minimizes the line dragging on the surface of the water making for a natural presentation to the fish. If you prefer casting small spinners or spoons, you will be amazed at the distance you will get with a noodle rod. The leverage of the longer rod with its soft action launches bait like no other! But maybe the best reason for using a noodle rod for steelhead and salmon, is it’s just plain fun! Few things in fishing are as electric as setting the hook and fighting a large fish on a noodle rod. The rod absorbs every run, every head-shake, and every jump.

Let me tell you about two I own, the Wright and McGill Salmon and Steelhead Spinning Rod and the St. Croix Wild River Salmon and Steelhead Spinning Rod.

Wright & McGill Salmon/Steelhead Spinning Rod

This is the perfect entry level noodle rod. It features IM7 graphite blanks, a Fuji reel seat, hard alloy Fuji guides and comfortable custom cork handles. You will think you are fishing with a much more expensive rod!I chose the 9-ft. Light Drifting model and spooled it with 4-pound line. Whether fishing the lakeshore or in the streams, there is nothing this rod can’t do. Wright & McGill also offers this model in 9-ft. 6-inch and 10-ft. 6-inch models in light or medium action. All models are 2-piece.

St. Croix Wild River Steelhead and Salmon Rod

St. Croix Wild River Salmon and Steelhead Spinning Rod

This series is a beautiful line of rods that match its aesthetics with finely tuned actions and tapers. Available in six lengths from 8-ft. 6-inches to 13-ft. 6-inches, you can also choose from either a Premium Cork or Neoprene Skin handle. Action choices are Ultra Light, Medium Light or Medium. All rods are 2-piece, except the 13-ft. 6-inch length, which is a 3-piece rod.My choice was a 10-ft., 6-inch length in Ultra Light action with the Neoprene Skin handle for a little extra comfort on those cold wet days. With its extra length, I choose this rod when drift fishing in our tributaries to Lake Erie. The action and taper on this rod is perfect. Somehow the engineers at St. Croix blended enough strength in the butt section for fighting large fish while tapering the tip for maximum flex and sensitivity. The “gold dust green metallic finish” makes for a beautiful rod you’ll be proud to own.

So join the fun, select the rod that matches your budget and fishing style and hang on for some memorable fishing!

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John Scherrer

Erie, PA John is a freelance writer and a life-long Erie resident who has fished across North America. Fly fishing, light spinning tackle, and ice fishing are his preferred methods to fish his home waters of Lake Erie.

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