I am thinking about finally getting more serious about fall/winter/spring steelhead fishing here in Michigan. I've picked out the rod I want to build (a 10' 7 wt.), and now I'm pondering which reel to pair with it. I read an article today in which the author (an experienced Great Lakes steelheader) recommended a reel with a fully sealed disc drag. His argument was that the seal would keep water from entering the drag housing and potentially freezing in cold temperatures, thus rendering the drag useless.
I'd like to hear from some of you guys that fish through the winter (that's real winter, with below-freezing air temps and snow, )--do you agree that a sealed drag is a "must"? Have you ever had a non-sealed drag freeze up on you in cold weather? How likely is this to actually happen?
Thanks as always for any guidance--