Lake Erie Tribs
Friday, October 30: Fished Elk Creek in the AM. Warm SW winds at 25+ mph pushed the remainder of the leaves from trees into the creeks. It was pretty bad. I was catching singles, doubles, and triples on every cast. I was wearing those leave out!!!!! Every size, every color, every species - next to impossible to get a drift going. Fished the AM hours and had enough.
Saturday, October 31: Fished Elk Creek in the AM. Fished for about 2 hours before the overnight rains caught up to me and made the creeks unfishable – high and muddy. Good thing is the rain will push the leave down-stream. Fishing should be back to ‘normal’ on Sunday. I’m fishing every day the next week, so I’m not worried.
Monday, November2: Fished Walnut Creek all day. Conditions were good. I fished the southern part of the steam with one hook-up in the AM. Fish were not there. Some, but not the numbers you should see in November. My favorite holes were only had a few fish moving around. Usually, walking up the streams you can see fish throughout the stream. I walked quite a bit that morning and spoke to a few fly fisherman, same answers.
In the afternoon, I moved closer to the lake. Landed 5 fish. All on bead-head nymphs (black). I left my camera in the truck, so no pics. Sorry. I will bring it today. Four of the fish were the average size: 24-26”. Caught one female that was over 30-32” (fat and wide). It was a fresh fish that put on a great fight/show. Once it knew it was hooked, it turned downstream started MOVING, my reel was ‘screaming’. I thought it was a larger fish. Then it did 3 quick jumps that made it look like a dolphin going through the water. Then I knew it was a larger fish when I looked at the splash it made. I needed a video camera. After I got it in, I was glad for a good drag on my reel and good knots on the line. That is what brings you back when the day before was bad. The fish were triggered when I moved to lighter line and a smaller presentation (4# fluor and small nymphs).
I've had several good outings on the Elk, including a 34" cow. It's beautiful and great fun.
I'll be going back to my sister's place in Mercer Co for the week of Thanksgiving. I'm planning to fish one day, but that's all I can squeeze out of a family visit.
What took you to PA? Have you lived in the region?
I grew up in Erie. Moved away after college (work), but still have many family members that live in the area.
My grandfather started a fishing tackle/bait store back in 1964. My father ran it until 2 years ago when he retired. I fished the Lake Erie Tribs for a lot of years. When I was in high school it was Walleye and Yellow Perch in the summer and Coho (few trout) in the Fall/Winters. For the last 10+ years, Steelhead have dominated the streams b/c of all the stocking of smolts.
Here’s a few pics. Hard to take a pic when you are the only one around.
Tuesday, November 3rd: Fished from 2 -5:30 pm. Hooked 2 and landed 2. A front moved thought the area. The temps started around 45' and started dropping. Wind, hail, and rain. I wore my breathable waders. I will not do that again. It was cold even with layers. I will go back to my neoprene waders. Yes, I will look like a TN duck hunter with a fly rod in my hand (but I will be warm). Fished the fast water with smaller line and nymphs - prince in size 12. Action was slow. Water was clear and spooky fish. Need rain to bring in more fish. Took the strike indic. off and started bottom-bouncing.
Wednesday, November 4th: Fished the AM hours. Hooked 5 and landed 1. Had a harder time today landing them. I had a few other hits that I missed. Nothing that major in fish size - all fresh looking fish. All fish in the 24-26” range. Had lunch with my uncle and never made it back to the river. All of the fish are in the pools . . . and so are the fishermen. A little harder to find a peaceful spot, but talked to many friendly fishermen from all over the Eastern US. Mostly fly guys during the week. Bait fishermen are here in droves on the weekends. They all come to catch that CHROME beast. Same method as the day before - bottom bouncing. Egg patterns worked better today. Fish sitting in the heavy riffles towards the head of the fast water. Needed to adjust (add) split-shot to get the right drift to each 'run'. Bad side is more weight means more snags. Easy to deal with if you are catching fish.
hey mark nice to hear of another erie area person in tn..... i have know your dad for years... it was the best bait shop in erie in my opinion your dad always took care of his customers... i lived in mckean until 6 yrs ago....hows joe doing theses days as ornary as ever i hope lol lol ... if you ever want to hook up and fish the caney or the clinch sometime shoot me an email ....firstname.lastname@example.org... i do miss the steelhead fishing but not the snow
Here’s my report from Thursday, November 5th: I did not make the AM fishing hours - had a little too much fun the night before. Fished the afternoon hours on a creek on the PA/NY state line called 20 Mile Creek. Fished about 200 yards from the mouth of the creek.
All streams are still low and clear. Most of the fish are schooled in the pools. Fished next to a guy from New Jersey. He was a good person. I enjoyed talking to him (did not mind sharing the fishing hole or information on what was working). He found a great pool that had a shelf/drop-off. The fish were schooled on the low side of the drop. Fish were very active. Hooked 6-8 and landed 4. Also, I had some other foul-hooked fished (not counting those). Weather was cold again. I think it was about 42 degrees with 25-30 mph winds. More drizzly rain and hail. My fingertips were not ready.
Fish were eating everything. Nymphs more that eggs or sucker spawn. When you changed flies, that would trigger a strike.
Here’s a story about HOW LONG A FISH WILL STRIKE AGAIN ONCE HOOKED. I hooked a steelie on a pink egg pattern. The fly had a little flash on it with a black v-shaped tail. I had the fish hooked for about 3-4 minutes, it took off, met a log against the bank, then it broke off. About 15 minutes later the guy next to me from New Jersey hooks a fish. He walks down the creek and lands it. Then he walks back and taps me on the shoulder and shows me the fly that I broke off. We both laughed b/c we knew that was my pattern. I was showing him this unique pattern before I started to using it.
Here I am with one of the fish (got the Power T Hat working):
Fresh Fish, not so good of a picture:
Lake Erie starting to calm down 3-4 foot waves, down from 5-6 footers:
Friday, November 6th: This is my last day on the stream. The weather will be nice but I'm not fishing the weekend crowds. I fished the same creek as Thursday: 20 Mile Creek on the PA/NY state line. My plan was to be the first person in the good fishing hole from the day before. I thought the high lake water and waves would bring in more fish. Woke at 5:45am. Left the house at 6:00am. Walking down the stream at 6:30am. Only 3 cars in the lot that early, so I figured I had a good chance at getting the good spot on the pool. Well . . . it was not to be. There was a person standing in the spot. Oh well. I knew a few other areas that were productive. The guy fished there for 2 hours and left.
Weather was partly sunny. About 45 degrees. No wind. Sun felt GOOD.
Had my best day of the trip. Hooked 15-20 fish and landed about ½. Mid morning and late afternoon were the best times. Had some foul-hooked fish on top of those numbers. Early morning and lunch time were dead. I think b/c of the cold overnight temps (AM) and the high sun later (PM). Had two spans of about 2 hours each where I did not get a strike. I wanted to take a nap on the side of the stream.
During the day, I had 1 big fish hooked. I knew it was larger than normal b/c when the fish realized it was hooked, it did not jump. It 'rolled' in the current. When it rolled, I could see the side of the female fish: large and fresh. The 'head-shake' was also different. It did not jump out of the water, it dove head down into deeper water. I was not able to move the fish. It felt like a snag, After about 5-10 minutes (what seemed to be 5-10 minutes - my arm was tired), it starting moving up-stream and my line was frayed on a rock ledge. The end of that one.
Same flies as Thursday: Nymphs with flash on them, egg patterns, and sucker spawn. Dead-drifting w/o a strike indicator. Adjusting the split shot to get the drift right. Needed to play around to get it right.
I caught fish today (which was great), but some local PA people were frustrating. The people from out-of-town were good to fish with and speak to, but there were a lot of stupid acting people on the streams. Mostly people from Erie and Pittsburgh. Stream Etiquette was ZERO. If you start catching fish, they are right next to you. It also happened several times during the week on other streams. Here are some examples from Friday:
I was catching a few fish, this guy notices me and stands about 8 feet to my right and starts to fish. He did not make eye contact with me. I asked him politely if he was planning on fishing in that spot. He said: yes and still does not make eye contact. My comment was: "you are really going to stand THAT close to me to fish?" No comment again - stares straight ahead. The whole pool is open with just two of us there - this guy is 8 feet from me. I was frustrated. Once I swung my fly rod and fly line over his head a few times, he got the message and moved.
The next time time I caught 2 fish in a matter of 10 minutes. Now, two guys notice me and start moving in – like blood on a fresh kill. Now I have one guy on my right and one guy on my left about 10-15 feet on either side. The next thing I know - egg sacks and spinners flying by my head. The guy on the right is throwing upstream and the guy on my left is throwing downstream. I looked down to see the X pattern of mono line in front of me. I spoke to them (nicely). Didn’t get a good response. I was not moving. We had some tangled lines. They finally left.
The third time I lost my patience. Same as before. I hooked a fish and it took off downstream. After about 10 minutes, rocks frayed my line and the fish broke off. Meanwhile, this guy moves into the spot I was fishing at. The exact spot I was fishing at. I left my rain jacket and vest on the shore to mark my location. I did not want to leave any confusion for other fishermen passing by. Not a big deal b/c I needed to add more tippet to my line. I did not mind b/c it was going to take me some time to get rigged back up - let the guy fish there. So this guys proceeds to snag his lure on the tree on the other side of the stream. Then he starts to walk across the middle of the pool where ALL THE FISH ARE LAYING, to retrieve his lure. Well, I lost it for a minute. This guy was clueless. He just looked at me. At the end of my tirade, I told him to walk around the pool, up the bank to get his prized treasure. Then he left.
I still had a great time hooking and landing all the fish.
First Fish of the Day. My pink egg from the day before is one the rock. The guy from NJ gave it back to me. I should have resized this pic.
Nice belly on this one.
Bad shadows in this pic.
Little River Outfitters (LRO) on Lake Erie
Tried to get the start of the hooked-jaw and pink cheek
Beach houses overlooking a calm lake @ the mouth of 20 Mile Creek. Thought it was a cool pic.
Sunset and calm
Ffishingman62, thanks for the nice words and the invite to join you fishing. I will send you an email.
Per my Dad, he's fighting some health issues. Needs an operation on his back to help him walk better, but he's not too willing for that to happen. Because of his trouble walking and the winter weather soon to be here, everyone's afraid he might fall and break something.
Here's my email address:
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