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.

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Falling for Trout In The Club

At times it’s nice to fly fish to large trout without having to think too much. When I feel this way, I typically head west to the Yellow Creek Trout Club (“YCTC”) in Indiana County, Pennsylvania. I try to get out to YCTC once a quarter and experience catching big trout throughout the different seasons. I never fished the club when there was snow on the ground and figured it would provide for a nice backdrop with temperatures forecasted to be in the 40s. I met the owner Steve at 7:00am on Saturday morning. The club road was slick but with four-wheel drive I was able to get down to the club pavilion without much issue. I was the first person in the lot. I walked over and took a look at Yellow Creek.

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Ice Water, Private Property & The Little Juniata River Railway

On Saturday morning I found myself up before first light driving toward Cambria County, Pennsylvania to fly fish Chest Creek for the first time. It took just over three hours to make it to the small town of Patton. As my GPS signaled I was getting closer to my final destination, I noticed the amount of snow on the ground was more than what I’d encountered just south along Rt. 22 near Gallitzin. The evening before when I’d researched Chest Creek, it hadn’t occurred to me that the overnight temperatures in Cambria County had been consistently low enough that creeks might freeze over. Sure enough, as I descended a long road down toward the creek, I could see that Chest Creek was frozen. I arrived at a bridge and got out to look at the water. Ice on both banks of the creek had reduced Chest Creek to a small channel of water that winded its way through snow-covered ice downstream. From what I could see, some areas upstream were entirely frozen over. I pulled my truck into a snow covered parking spot and decided I’d hike upstream to see if by some stroke of luck I might find open water that no one knew about. After pulling on my waders and rigging up my fly rod I slid down to the creek bank in the snow and tried drifting a double nymph rig in the small channel that cut through the ice. No luck. I figured the trout were tucked under the ice in deep pockets of water.

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Season’s First Snow & Rainbows on Brodhead Creek

A year ago, in one of my YouTube videos, I asked subscribers to comment on bodies of water in Pennsylvania that they’d like to see me fly fish. One body of water that was mentioned several times was the Brodhead Creek, which is located in Monroe County, Pennsylvania. The Brodhead isn’t far from the Poconos and is a 22-mile long creek that splits Stroudsburg and East Stroudsburg before dumping into the Delaware River. Last week I decided I’d finally fly fish the Brodhead. I had plenty of time to research the stream and found out that it has an interesting background. One of the more interesting points is that some fly fishermen regard the Brodhead as the birthplace of modern fly fishing. Apparently there were quite a few well known authors and even Presidents of the United States that once wet a fly line on the Brodhead. Once the Catskills gained a good reputation, they supposedly went north.

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