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New to Steelhead!

Joined:
2010/7/28 12:59
From Cranberry Twp, PA
Posts: 73
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I'm pretty new to the sport of fly fishing, so there's a lot that I need to learn. My friend and I wanted to try our hands at steelhead fishing this fall. Can anyone offer any tips or advice to a couple of greenhorns? From what types of flies to pick up, to what days not to fish, to bring a poncho, I'll take any advice you have to offer!

Posted on: 2010/8/27 5:45


Re: New to Steelhead!

Joined:
2006/10/2 10:08
From Westmoreland County (near fairgrounds)
Posts: 3740
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Standard trout nymphs work well for steelhead depending on their mood. Anything from a #16 pheasant tail or hare's ear to a #6 black stonefly. Add plenty of egg patterns in various colors and sizes. The egg patterns are fished just like nymphs. I will sometimes fish streamers for steelhead, again various colors and sizes. Some folks swing wet flies for steel, but I'm not the right guy to talk to about that, maybe someone else will chime in.

Low and clear is tough fishing and so is high and chocolate milk. The best steelhead fishing comes during the transitions between these two extremes (assuming we are talking about the Erie tribs in PA). Do bring rainwear and be prepared to fish if the water is rising or falling; especially during those magical times when the water is discolored enough that the fish don't see you, but there is enough clarity that they can still find your fly.

Posted on: 2010/8/27 7:13
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Re: New to Steelhead!

Joined:
2006/10/18 15:46
From Patterson twp, Pa (Beaver Falls)
Posts: 6459
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check out the lengthy steelhead posts in the fly tying and general forum. There's a lot of info to read up on there.

I look at the water guage before I go and watch the rain. The larger creeks, walnut and elk, take longer to dirty, but longer to clear. Opposite for the smaller creeks.

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?04213152

Don't trust any of the reports on Fisherie.com. Half of them are lies, the other half aren't telling the truth.

Keep asking questions though. We'll help you out.


Ryan

Posted on: 2010/8/27 12:33
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Re: New to Steelhead!

Joined:
2008/10/8 0:36
From Florida
Posts: 281
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The best advice I can give is...come to the steelhead jam

I concurr with both Alby and Rygufi's advice RE: what/when to fish. There's lots of good info in the forum archives as well.

Also, most steel-headers tend to use tackle that is a bit heavier than would one would normally use for trout. I got a 7 wt rod that I use for the Erie tribs, as well as for pursuing bass.

Good luck; that first fish will be something that you never will forget...


Quote:

hughzar wrote:
I'm pretty new to the sport of fly fishing, so there's a lot that I need to learn. My friend and I wanted to try our hands at steelhead fishing this fall. Can anyone offer any tips or advice to a couple of greenhorns? From what types of flies to pick up, to what days not to fish, to bring a poncho, I'll take any advice you have to offer!

Posted on: 2010/8/27 12:49
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"When one feels the rush of cold water against his waders, and pits his skill against the natural instincts and wariness of the trout, everything else is lost in the sheer joy of the moment."

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Re: New to Steelhead!

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2007/3/26 22:22
Posts: 1348
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GF is on the money w/ that one. You will never forget hooking your first steelie. If you don't normally swear, your first hook up might just do it.

I'm a little under gunned with a 6 wt but haven't broken it yet. Warm clothing, rain gear, spare spool of floro, camera and patience is what you need for steelies. Keep the fly in the water and you'll eventually hook up. Landing a fresh one from the lake is a different story though. Have fun and post your pics!

Posted on: 2010/8/27 14:22


Re: New to Steelhead!

Joined:
2009/5/29 16:32
From Nicholson PA
Posts: 228
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Your doomed,FISH ON WAAAAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted on: 2010/8/27 14:40


Re: New to Steelhead!

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2007/4/25 10:02
Posts: 5798
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In addition- I would recommend using stout tippet- like 1x or 2x.
If conditions are good these tippets work fine and you will not get many breakoffs. Practice knot tying- this will be a major reason for lost fish. (at least, those were my problems)

For flies- I like a pink egg or cream sucker spawn flies. If I cant catch them with this setup it is going to be tough. Sometimes in Erie the water is low enough and you can get close enough to see the fish- make sure your rig is getting down enough to get it "in the zone" for a strike. It might take a couple trips to get the hang out it. For lesser crowds- walk away from the mouths near the lake or walk a little ways from the parking areas. Good luck.

Posted on: 2010/8/27 22:01
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Re: New to Steelhead!

Joined:
2009/9/9 13:21
From North Central PA
Posts: 779
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cream sucker spawn. YES! LOVE IT - When it works... it's unholy. When it doesn't... well, it's a long 4 hour drive back home for me.

Posted on: 2010/8/28 11:40
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Re: New to Steelhead!

Joined:
2009/2/6 18:59
From pittsburgh
Posts: 1133
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all im goin to say is get john nagys book steelhead guide

the isbn is 978-0-9665172-4-8 incase you want o order it online somewhere that isbn is also for the 4th edition i think it was last years ......

Posted on: 2010/8/28 17:21
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Re: New to Steelhead!

Joined:
2010/7/28 12:59
From Cranberry Twp, PA
Posts: 73
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Thanks for all the tips and such! I'm curious, how crowded do the streams in Erie get? Is it usually less crowded during the week?

Posted on: 2010/8/28 20:49


Re: New to Steelhead!

Joined:
2006/9/12 21:16
From Suburban Pittsburgh
Posts: 1191
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Welcome to PAFF, lots of great advice given thus far.

I'll second the Nagy book, it is loaded with tons of valuable information. When I go to Erie, this book comes with me.

When the steelhead start showing up in Erie, so do the crowds--even during the week. There are pretty much always going to be people there fishing for Steel but if you stay away from the mouths and take a walk from an access point, you can find open water.

Another important aspect to keep in mind is posted water and access. Be respectful of the landowners and take out what you take in. Between garbage, foul language and behavior it seems more and more land is posted year after year.

Weather is a huge factor. Like Alby said, the transition after chocolate brown to slightly stained is when I've had my most productive trips. I have found that having flexibility to just go is best at least for me, whereas planning weeks or months in advance can be hit or miss due to weather/stream flows.

To cut down on the learning curve, you might want to head "up-er" with some guys from the area, there are lots of us here that make the Erie trek. The Steelhead Jam would also be a good way to learn new water and fish amongst good company.

Posted on: 2010/8/28 21:17
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Re: New to Steelhead!

Joined:
2006/12/29 10:00
From Harrisburg
Posts: 2009
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My experiences show mon-tues are the least crowded. Be prepared to cancel your trip and save the money if heavey rains are forecasted.

Posted on: 2010/8/29 8:37
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Re: New to Steelhead!

Joined:
2009/3/3 19:40
From girard pa
Posts: 221
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Once you get a steelie on a fly rod you will be hooked. I have lived and fished on the erie tribs my whole life. There is no other fish that is much fun as fresh run steel ripping the drag. I use 9ft 8wt def dont go under a 6wt if water is low and clear you will need light tippet fish get super spooky in low water. Because to many guys splash around and think they have to stand right on top of them. Stay away from the big holes they will be crowded look for fish in the deeper runs in the riffles. Most guys walk right past fish and never know they are there. Dont know how many times i have made guys mad that were fishing the big holes and i walk into a riffle below the hole and hook fish in the first few casts and they have been there all day and not done very well. Shoot me a pm if you need some directions to a few places to star

Posted on: 2010/8/29 18:53
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Re: New to Steelhead!

Joined:
2006/9/10 20:44
From Room 109
Posts: 3131
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Always bring a set of extra clothes. It can be very cold and if you get wet a change of clothes is very important. Also consider you clothing options. Dressing correctly can mean the difference between a good day and a very bad day.

Posted on: 2010/8/30 8:44
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Re: New to Steelhead!

Joined:
2006/10/18 15:46
From Patterson twp, Pa (Beaver Falls)
Posts: 6459
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Here's a pretty typical picture of the "combat fishing" experience by the mouths of the streams. Once the fish are there for a while they will spread out and so will the fishermen. The best time is right when the leaves start falling, but that becomes a pain. The trick is the flows. Those streams rise and fall pretty quickly and can result in a great day of fishing, or a wasted trip. It's always a good idea to bring extra clothes just incase of that slip and fall. I just PMed you and see that you're about 20 min from me. I'll be more than happy to have you tag along on a steelhead trip and show you the ropes.


Ryan

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jpg  combat fishing.jpg (759.92 KB)
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Posted on: 2010/8/30 13:57
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