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Your favorite Lake Erie steelhead Trib?

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2011/3/8 19:04
From York, PA
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I'm hoping to finally make the trek to the untamed northwest. What streams would you focus on?

How early in the year do you expect to see fish in your favorite stream?

How late in the spring are the steelhead fishable in your favorite stream?


Posted on: 2013/7/15 17:45


Re: Your favorite Lake Erie steelhead Trib?

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2010/5/1 9:10
From NE OH
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Focus on Elk Creek. There are miles upon miles of stream to fish. I get into my 1st steelhead each season by mid-September, but realistically, I wouldn't plan your trip until October, with November being primo. There are steelhead in the PA Lake Erie tribs until the water is too warm to support them each Spring. The water warmed early this year and the majority were out by early May, but I have caught steelhead into June in the past.

Posted on: 2013/7/15 17:53
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"You don't need 7x. All right, 7x...now you're just being stupid. That's ridiculous. You know what else...throw away the 6x, because that's garbage too." -Hank Patterson


Re: Your favorite Lake Erie steelhead Trib?

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2006/9/9 16:08
From Erie Co.
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they are/were near shore the past few weeks. Lake temps and rain fall were the culprits. Past two weeks hex hatch was on the lake.
It all depends on how much rain fall occur in late summer early fall as to timing of the runs. Waters close to lake holds the most fish. It all depends on the size of water you wish to fish. Bigger waters are more dependable in the early season.

Posted on: 2013/7/15 20:31


Re: Your favorite Lake Erie steelhead Trib?

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2010/2/15 19:09
From Ohio
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Quote:
I get into my 1st steelhead each season by mid-September, but realistically, I wouldn't plan your trip until October, with November being primo. There are steelhead in the PA Lake Erie tribs until the water is too warm to support them each Spring. The water warmed early this year and the majority were out by early May, but I have caught steelhead into June in the past.


Yup, That sums it up pretty darn well.


Posted on: 2013/7/15 22:11


Re: Your favorite Lake Erie steelhead Trib?

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2012/8/20 23:10
From Southwestern NY
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I havent gotten into pa for steele yet but of the ny tribs the catt is my personal fav.

Posted on: 2013/7/16 7:47


Re: Your favorite Lake Erie steelhead Trib?

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From NE OH
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Quote:

DJBerg wrote:
I havent gotten into pa for steele yet but of the ny tribs the catt is my personal fav.


There is not a ton of difference in the small NY tribs and the PA tribs. The Catt really is the best trib across Lake Erie. It's big and takes some time to get to know. That makes it a little tougher if you don't live close. But man, if you are close to the Catt, not much reason to go any place else. Spectacular system indeed!

Posted on: 2013/7/16 9:31
_________________
"You don't need 7x. All right, 7x...now you're just being stupid. That's ridiculous. You know what else...throw away the 6x, because that's garbage too." -Hank Patterson


Re: Your favorite Lake Erie steelhead Trib?

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2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
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As for my favorite, I'd have to say Elk, just because it's so long. If I have to fish when things are low and clear, I usually go to Elk, as it's the biggest, and somewhere upstream where I can outwalk most of the pressure. Fishing isn't good when things are low and clear, but that's probably the best bet of them.

But I have to disagree with those who said to focus on it. You don't focus on any of them. Steelhead is very much a play it by ear and decide in the morning thing. Have maps of the tribs, including access points, and know the spots that are posted.

Fishing is best after a rain event that brings the streams up. A new run comes in, and even the older fish get active and on the move. Right as it's falling and becoming fishable is when you want to be there. Brown = bad. Greenish brown = ok. Brownish green = good. Green - ok. Clear = bad. Luckily, each stream falls at a different rate, which you can judge mostly by their watershed area. So the day after the rain, the smaller streams turn on. 2 days after, the medium streams turn on. 3 days after, the big streams turn on. (different of course, depending on the size of the rain, but you get the idea).

You don't choose a place to go weeks in advance, and then go. You go where the conditions tell you to go. All fishing is like that, but it's especially true with steelhead.

Posted on: 2013/7/16 9:37


Re: Your favorite Lake Erie steelhead Trib?

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He asked what stream to focus on...I answered. IF there was one to focus on...it would be Elk

And while I agree and fish the Lake Erie tribs the way you suggest, that's because I have the luxury to do so. Some folks just have to pick a date in advance, schedule it out, and go. In that case, you plan on going to Elk.

If it rains, and Elk is not fishing, the good news is, you have the Miles Creeks and Walnut (and a couple of other smaller tribs that don't need to be mentioned) to fall back on. For the most part, they fish within a day of rain. It depends on the rain.

Again, what Pcray is telling you is true. But the reality of it is, it takes years of experience to know which trib to hit on a given day. So, it's not quite as simple as he outlines. Something will fish from Ohio to NY on any given day and I certainly make a point of hitting the prime water, but when you live 6 hours away and have no experience, it's a bit much for someone to expect you to know where to go.

Your best bet in sorting it out on your own is to get a copy of John Nagy's Steelhead Guide. And, you can always spend a day with a professional that can help you dial it in so when you return you are ready to go. Always money well spent when you have limited time to get up here and live a long distance away.

Posted on: 2013/7/16 10:03
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"You don't need 7x. All right, 7x...now you're just being stupid. That's ridiculous. You know what else...throw away the 6x, because that's garbage too." -Hank Patterson


Re: Your favorite Lake Erie steelhead Trib?

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2013/2/12 2:30
From Greenville PA
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wherever the steel is!

Posted on: 2013/7/16 10:41


Re: Your favorite Lake Erie steelhead Trib?

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2010/5/1 9:10
From NE OH
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Quote:

wetboot wrote:
wherever the steel is!


They don't tug quite like that redfish! Caught a couple of slabs in SC this summer. Good stuff!

Posted on: 2013/7/16 10:47
_________________
"You don't need 7x. All right, 7x...now you're just being stupid. That's ridiculous. You know what else...throw away the 6x, because that's garbage too." -Hank Patterson


Re: Your favorite Lake Erie steelhead Trib?

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PatrickC is correct. Distance, and the necessity of planning in advance, does make it harder.

It's even more complicated than what I said. Based on the streams themselves. For instance, maybe on one stream, the fish go way upstream quickly. On another, there maybe a waterfall or something that prevents numbers from passing, except in SUPER high water, so you wanna be below that falls if there hasn't been a recent flood. In winter, maybe one stream gets blocked up with ice, preventing fish passage, while another stays open.

I recognize this is all hard to know, and impossible to plan for. So it's rather daunting for a beginner. Just know that steelhead fishing is typically either on, or off. When it's on there's nothing like it. But driving all that way for a skunking or 1 or 2 fish in a shoulder to shoulder crowd is a distinct possibility.

But if you can't decide last minute when to go, schedule the trip well in advance. If given a choice of times, I'd pick November. Buck season would be perfect if you're not a hunter. If you are, a 1-5 weeks earlier is fine (later can get tricky with weather and ice). Get your hotel, etc. Just don't lock yourself into a spot. Print out the maps from fisherie.com. I concur about Nagy's steelhead guide, excellent book. Get yourself learned up a bit.

Watch the radars in the days prior to your trip. Call a shop on the way up. Pick your spot when you get there. If it's lower than you'd like, and you see fish but they have lockjaw, MOVE. If it's a bit on the high side, and you can't see fish in most spots, perfect. Start fishing likely looking water. They're trout, and hang out where trout would. When you start hooking up, sit on that spot a while.

Other advice: try to stay away from the immediate mouths, especially on the more popular streams. Fishing may be fine but super crowds are not. You can find places that are merely "crowded" by other standards, but not opening day type crowded. If you find a big, slow pool with a bunch of visible fish in the bottom, go ahead and drift a nymph through. If the pod of fish parts like the red sea, don't waste your time, keep walking. Those fish aren't active. I know how hard that is when there's 50 24 inch footballs laying there. In the head or tail of the same pool, there may be a smaller number of more active fish. They're the ones you can get. But they are likely to be less visible.

Posted on: 2013/7/16 10:59


Re: Your favorite Lake Erie steelhead Trib?

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From NE OH
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I concur with everything EXCEPT (I love Pcraying Pcray ):

Quote:

pcray1231 wrote:

I recognize this is all hard to know, and impossible to plan for. So it's rather daunting for a beginner. Just know that steelhead fishing is typically either on, or off. When it's on there's nothing like it. But driving all that way for a skunking or 1 or 2 fish in a shoulder to shoulder crowd is a distinct possibility.


It's always on when they're in the creeks. The questions are...where are the active fish and what will they hit?

Be clear on one tiny thing and it will rapidly hasten your learning curve for steelhead: These fish are salmon. They behave like salmon more than the creek dwelling rainbows you are used to catching. When you make this one simple adjustment to your thinking about steelhead, you will better be able to identify actively feeding fish. Remember, they are running up the creek to spawn. They have a different mind-set about where they stage in the creek for the varying conditions. I cannot remember the last time I was skunked on steelhead.

I helped a forum member out last Fall. First of all, he was already fantastic fly fisherman. Erie had been rough on him for a few years. We had a long talk on the way to the stream and reset his thinking. Once I got him on the stream and pointed out a few things, he went on to land about 10 fish that day. It all boiled down to reading the stream from a salmon perspective instead of a trout stream perspective. I did nothing more for him than that...he had all of the rest of the necessary skills. His comment after landing the 1st of 3 fish out of the initial run, "I just never would have considered casting there."

Anyway, as Pcray and I have both said, there is a lot involved. Those of us that make steelheading seem easy have paid a lot of dues. It can be easy, once you learn all of this stuff. Get Nagy's book. Get out and fish to gain some experience. And continue to ask for help (sooner than later).

Posted on: 2013/7/16 11:55
_________________
"You don't need 7x. All right, 7x...now you're just being stupid. That's ridiculous. You know what else...throw away the 6x, because that's garbage too." -Hank Patterson


Re: Your favorite Lake Erie steelhead Trib?

Joined:
2009/10/11 21:04
From Southeastern Pa
Posts: 900
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My advise is to go with a guide at least once. I went with a guide last year after going to Erie for 5 years and I found I learned more in one outing than o had in the 3 years prior. after I went a few times I started getting complacent because I wanted easy. you go with a good guide and they're gonna show you a lot more water is up there than you realize!

Patrick C is the guide I went with. Definitely give him a shout you will be glad you did. we fished all over and I got to see some very good water. oh yeah, we did finish the day well into the double digits!

Posted on: 2013/7/16 12:18
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Re: Your favorite Lake Erie steelhead Trib?
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There is no substitute for knowledge, but vicarious knowledge helps for certain. Each trib has fish and each its "time." To me, if Elk is fishable, then it has the largest variety and greatest "room" than any of them, excepting the smallest tribs, which to me are only fun when nothing else is fishable.

Posted on: 2013/7/16 12:38
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Re: Your favorite Lake Erie steelhead Trib?

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2010/5/1 9:10
From NE OH
Posts: 1228
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Quote:

JackM wrote:
To me, if Elk is fishable, then it has the largest variety and greatest "room" than any of them, excepting the smallest tribs, which to me are only fun when nothing else is fishable.


Yup...

Posted on: 2013/7/16 12:42
_________________
"You don't need 7x. All right, 7x...now you're just being stupid. That's ridiculous. You know what else...throw away the 6x, because that's garbage too." -Hank Patterson



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