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.

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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.

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