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Erie Steelhead

Joined:
2013/8/26 20:36
From Ellwood City
Posts: 53
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I decided to pick up fly fishing late in the winter after many years of wanting to learn. Long to short, I'm absolutely hooked (pun intended) and throughout the spring and after countless hours online and a few books, I'm happy to say I've had a remarkable first year on the water, far better than i would have ever anticipated.

One of the main reasons I wanted to pick up fly fishing was for the winter steelhead season. I've got a heavier rod in the mail, and have spent countless more hours reading things online. I plan on spending many weekends around the Erie Tribs, and from what i can tell egg patterns seem to the the way to go, some people recommend wooly buggers and stonefly nymphs. Any Erie Steelhead Vets have any further recommendations or favorites? The one thing I cant seem to nail down is what size flies i should be using? Is there a range I should be picking up? 8-12? Please help!


Posted on: 2013/8/26 20:50


Re: Erie Steelhead

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2010/2/13 7:55
From Murrysville, PA
Posts: 76
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I tend to to tie most my eggs on size 14 hooks. Sometimes using slightly more or less material. Low water I use 16's or a smaller eggs tied on that same size 14 hook. I like size 8 or 10 buggers... I crushed them on a size 10 black Nymph into the winter of last year that I never thought would have worked. I tied about 40 trillion of them for this year.

I'm still a total beginner but like you I've caught enough to be hooked forever.

Posted on: 2013/8/26 22:29


Re: Erie Steelhead

Joined:
2013/8/26 20:36
From Ellwood City
Posts: 53
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Great thanks for the advice. Are you using Black/Brown buggers and orange / peach eggs, or do i need to gear up with a wide array of colors?

Posted on: 2013/8/27 7:00


Re: Erie Steelhead

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2012/9/26 8:06
From lower burrell, pa
Posts: 532
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Mucka, in the fly tying section ther is a 14 page thread on steelhead flies, all kinds and good advice.
Also under the events and meetup section is a thread on the steelhead jam in November

Posted on: 2013/8/27 8:01


Re: Erie Steelhead

Joined:
2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
Posts: 12923
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The egg flies are standby's. Buggers and streamers are more fun and can work well on aggressive fish fresh from the lake. Nymphs are often effective in lower, clearer conditions when many fish seem to develop lock jaw.

On egg colors. The standby's are whites and creams, as well as pink/salmon/peach type colors. Blood dots are popular (bright red dot on a lighter colored egg). "Scrambled eggs" are used (chartreuse or yellow and orange marbled together). Different levels of flash, etc. Different form factors, such as sucker spawn, glo bugs, etc. And always have a few oddball colors on hand too. Blue, purple, green, etc.

Egg flies are easy, fast, and cheap to tie. Carry a large array. Change colors on the fish often. It's very common to get a few hits right away, then it dies off, then you switch, and get a few more hits, then it dies off, etc. So just carry a bunch and keep switching it up. When nothing seems to work, try a stonefly nymph, or even larger PT's and such.

Posted on: 2013/8/27 10:33


Re: Erie Steelhead

Joined:
2013/8/26 20:36
From Ellwood City
Posts: 53
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Awesome, thanks for the advice pro4mance and pcray1231. With any luck this year I'll hopefully be able to get my first steelhead.

Thanks again!

Posted on: 2013/8/27 12:04


Re: Erie Steelhead

Joined:
2006/10/18 15:46
From Patterson twp, Pa (Beaver Falls)
Posts: 6388
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The real trick to steelhead is watching the weather and stream flows. You want to hit the stream as it's rising or when it's falling from a big rain. The steelhead are active and moving and can generally feed more often at those times. You'll learn that it's a game of sometimes a few hours of prime time up in Erie. The water levels can come and go and you can miss it. Here's some resources you can use.

http://www.unclejohnselkcreekcamp.com/webcam/

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/uv?site_no=04213152

I like to fish it when it's between 100-200 on the walnut gauge.

Elk and Walnut are the bigger streams. They will take longer to muddy, but longer to clear.

The "mile" streams on the East side are smaller and will muddy quicker and clear quicker.

^^^REMEMBER THIS.

Sometimes as the day goes on it will be beneficial to move from one stream to the next depending on flows and conditions. One may be high and muddy, and the other in perfect shape, and it may flip the next day.

Carry a bunch of eggs, nymphs and streamers in different sizes and colors. Patterns can vary and I honestly don't think it matters too much. Colors can turn on and off throughout the day so always be willing to change.


They'll be starting to run in the next few weeks if we're lucky, so get ready!

Posted on: 2013/8/27 16:43
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Re: Erie Steelhead

Joined:
2013/8/26 20:36
From Ellwood City
Posts: 53
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Awesome, thanks a bunch. Having those resources will definitely take some of the guessing out of things before i decide to commit to spending two hours in the vehicle. See you out there!

Posted on: 2013/8/27 21:03


Re: Erie Steelhead

Joined:
2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
Posts: 12923
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Yup.

Erie streams flood quick and fall fast. So when you get those big rain storms, they bring up the streams and make them chocolate milk. That's when you get a "fresh" run of steelhead. You want to be on that stream right as it becomes fishable. Brownish fading to green. You don't want to be able to see the fish clearly!

As Ryguy said, the streams run off at different rates. Knowing this is a key to success. If you arrive the day after the big rain, and Elk is still too high to fish, then there's a little stream somewhere that's perfect. As the little stream becomes a bit on the low side, well, then a larger stream is coming into it's prime.

You can play that game for a couple of days after the rain. Eventually, though, they all get low. You can still catch a handful of fish when low, but it's not as good. If you have options, wait for the next rain!

Posted on: 2013/8/28 8:53


Re: Erie Steelhead

Joined:
2013/8/26 20:36
From Ellwood City
Posts: 53
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Great, good to know that! I appreciate all of the tips guys, very much obliged.

Posted on: 2013/8/28 20:22


Re: Erie Steelhead

Joined:
2013/8/26 20:36
From Ellwood City
Posts: 53
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just a follow up on my recent success for those of you that passed along some tips- Made my second trip up on Saturday this weekend, my first one was when water was very low and very clear, but my mileage was written off from a day of work and i was in the area so i figured what the hell and stopped by to fish. That day I managed a few hook ups, but they had already broken the line before i could blink. i couldnt believe how quick these things would take off. This weekend was a much different story. After refining some of my knots and figuring on how i would have to play these things, I managed five hook ups and landed three within a span of an hour and a half saturday morning. I had a spot pretty much all to myself on elk at sun rise, but after tying into my first one for a couple minutes before it ran me under a log and broke the line, tying into and landing one right after, and tying into another a few minutes after, people took notice and starting moving in. landed my third a few casts after hauling in my second, and a few cast after that, i was into another one! by the time that one had run my downstream quite a ways, it finally broke off, and my spot was gone... and i could barely hold my rod up my arm was so beat from the onslaught of fish. Thanks to everyone for the advice, i couldn't have had a better time. spent the rest of the morning driving to other areas and looking for new places to go next time i make it up. cant wait to get back up there

Posted on: 2013/10/20 20:08


Re: Erie Steelhead

Joined:
2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
Posts: 12923
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The good news is that 3/5 is pretty much most people's long term landed/hooked ratio on steelhead. Getting moved in on after some success is also standard operating procedure.

And, well, there is no bad news. :) Sounds like a great day, that's really good for all the longer you were there.

Posted on: 2013/10/21 10:22






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