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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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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Cool, Calm, & Fishless In Pennsylvania

The first couple of weeks of the New Year have brought less than favorable weather conditions for spending time outdoors. We’ve had multiple days of below freezing temperatures, sub-zero wind chills, and almost every body of water in Pennsylvania is frozen solid. Even some of the spring creeks have been seeing ice on the edges of their banks. Against my better judgment, I have ventured out in search for trout three times since the end of December. 

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Dodging Harvey to Find The Chittenango

Late last Friday night I made a last minute decision to head north and cross another New York trout stream off of my “streams I want to fish” list. I decided on New York because it was Labor Day weekend and the remnants of Tropical Storm Harvey were racing towards southeastern Pennsylvania. I knew Saturday was going to be gray skies and a rain jacket at home. In New York it would be sunny skies and a t-shirt. The stream I targeted was the Chittenango Creek, located in Madison County, just south of Oneida Lake. I learned about this body of water back in May when I was fly fishing Ninemile Creek. The Chittenango was rumored to have a healthy population of wild and stocked brown trout and I’d been wanting to get there for weeks. 

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