High Water Ohio Tributaries & Fresh 20 Mile Creek Chrome

The itch to chase spring run steelhead trout hit me about the middle of last week. A large weather system moved across the Mid-Atlantic Tuesday night through Wednesday and it put a lot of creeks over their banks. Thursday morning, Lake Erie tributaries on “Steelhead Alley” were all blown out. I heard reports that there were still a good number of fresh steelhead staged in the lake prior to the wet weather and all I could think about was how many of these fish were moving upstream. By Friday, folks were posting videos from Walnut and Elk Creek on YouTube and Instagram and sure enough, fresh fish were being caught. Somewhere in the middle of all my internet surfing I came across a podcast by Washington D.C. fly fisherman Rob Snowhite. If you love to fly fish and you’ve never checked out Rob’s podcasts, I’d suggest you do. He’s got a lot of great content posted online that can fill long hours travelling to fishing destinations. Each year Rob spends time fly fishing for steelhead in Ohio. In the podcast I came across he was talking with Dan Pribanic of Chagrin River Outfitters. After listening I made the decision I was going to explore Ohio over the weekend.

Read More

Here's a Toast to Spring Run Erie Steelhead

I typically make a couple of trips to northwestern Pennsylvania each year to fly fish for steelhead in the tributaries of Lake Erie. Coming off of a very active 2017 fall run, I was expecting the spring fishing to be good. There are two types of steelhead you can catch in Erie from March through May. First is the “drop back” steelhead, a fish that ran upstream in the autumn to spawn and is now working its way back to the lake. Second is the “fresh” steelhead, a bright chrome fish that decided to make its trek up a tributary in the spring instead of the fall. A healthy fall run typically means good springtime steelhead fishing because there are drop back and fresh steelhead in the streams at the same time.

Read More

Ice Out & East Side Spring Steelhead

Every March I head to Erie, Pennsylvania with a group of fly fishing buddies (“the steelhead crew”) to chase spring run steelhead. We’ve been making the trip for five years now and each time we get better at understanding the tributaries, finding fish, and catching them. This past weekend was the 2017 spring trip. Last week flew by and before long I was packing my truck with gear and looking at online steelhead reports out of Erie. Jack York’s Twitter feed was saying the creeks would be ice locked until Saturday and every post that went up on the Fish Erie thread made the weekend sound less and less promising. At one point I was texting the steelhead crew and seeing if they wanted to postpone our trip. After thirty minutes of back and forth, my enthusiastic friend Matt said we should just go and see what we find. And after I thought about, I realized that almost every trip we’ve taken to Erie has involved some type of uncertainty with weather, fish numbers, or water levels. It was settled, we were going to Erie, ice or no ice.

Read More

Mop Flies, Green Water & Winter Erie Steelhead

I’ve wanted to get back up to the Erie tributaries to chase steelhead for a few months. I hadn’t been in Erie since October 2016 when I took my annual fall run steelhead trip. Anyone who has been reading my blog since that time knows that October was a terrible month for Pennsylvania steelhead fishing. The creeks were low and clear and the fish didn’t have the water required to move in large numbers. Because of the poor conditions, I lost interest in steelhead and moved on to chasing lake-run brown trout in western New York. I followed reports from November through January and things improved during that time. Pennsylvania creeks received much needed rain and I occasionally heard from anglers that were fortunate enough to hit a good day on steelhead alley.

Read More