Re: Fly Rod / Reel Opinions
Check into TFO for the rods, or keep an eye out for disontinued Sages, St. Croix, ect. The best advice I can give is GET A ROD WITH A WARRANTY. There is no reason not to, almost all of the manufacturers offer some type of warranty even for thier cheaper models.
Steelheading/Salmon fishing is very tough on reels. I would reccommend looking out for any Lamsons or Orvis reels you may find on sale. You should be able to get either for a tad over $100 on sale. I have an Orvis Vortex I use, the thing is a beast, but it may be a little more than you want to spend.
IMO for the great lakes fishing you can afford to spare a little bit on the rod, but you need the highest quality reel you can afford. You have will have your drag tested quite often, especially with the salmon. Just as I have seen salmon break rods, I have seen them fry drags on cheap reels.
The opposite is true for troutin, spend the money on the rod and save on the reel as a top notch drag is typically not required.