2010 Steelhead Season - Lake Erie
I'm back in Erie PA for a week of steelhead fishing. I was able to get out this morning for 5 hours. The am hours were overcast, cold, sleet that turned to rain. About noon, the sun came out, and the fish stopped biting. Lack of rain this fall has made all the streams very low. Not a big fish run.
A lot of fishermen out today. I really do not like fishing the weekends. I'm going to hit it hard during the week.
Anyways, had a good time. Landed some fish, missed some fish, took few pics. Most of the fish where 3-4 pounds - about 24". Those are the good jumpers. I hooked a larger fish, it came to the surface, rolled, took-off, then broke the line. I'm guessing it was 8 pounds. It was a lot longer and wider than the pics below.
My goal is to land a Brown this week.
With the low water, what flys seem to be working and what size, If you don't mind telling,if you do no problem.
I've been using #14 sucker-spawn and eggs for all the fish. Pink or Orange. I've tried a bunch of different colors for nymphs and stone flies, but those have not produced any action. Another item I would suggest is the type of leader. I only use fluorocarbon - smaller the better in the clear water.
I fished on Sunday am for 5 hours. Had a good day with 10-12 hookups. I landed 6 fish. Fishing was slow for many others on the creek. I stood in the same spot (pool) all morning. If you were 5-10 yards on either side, it did not produce any fish. Therefore, when I was catching fish, the guys were starting to move closer and closer. Everyone wanted to know what was on the end of my leader. I did not mind telling people if they asked.
Funny story, I caught the same fish in a 1 hour time-frame. When I caught the fish the first time, I noticed a 2" mark on the lower tail. It looked like a scrape from a sharp rock. Most fish have marks on them, but this one was deeper than normal. The fish put up a good fight. Well. about 1 hour later I hooked another fish. Once it was hooked, it was like reeling-in a log - not much of fight at all. When I got the fish to the bank, I took a look at it and noticed the mark on the lower tail. Same fish.
My good deed for the day: Toward the end of my day, I started to talk with the guy fishing next to me (nice guy to talk to). He was the Penn State area (State College) and was flyfishing with with his daughter. He wanted his daughter to catch one fish. I told to guy to call his daughter over to fish in the spot where I was catching fish. I helped her pick out some colors and get properly rigged up. I stood there for 20 minutes teaching her how to cast in the current and mend line. She was very thankful. As I was walking away, I got about 30 yards away and heard a bunch of noise. I turned and looked over my shoulder to see the girl hooked a fish. That was cool !!! It make my day.
Here are some pics.
You dawg, those are some broad shouldered fish....... When can I tag along for one of these trips?! :).
Keep sending the pics, and good luck this week!
The big fish of the trip so far
Fished on Monday am. Spent a lot of time walking and searching for fish. Found a few. Hooked and landed some - not many. Finally caught a fish on a nymph (black #12). I did not get any good pics b/c I left my camera at the house. I had my iPhone, but the pictures are poor.
I was pretty tired after all my business travel from last week, getting up so early for the last three days, and all the walking I did on Monday. Therefore, I did not fish on Tuesday am. I turned-off the alarm when I heard it.
The afternoon fishing paid off. I fished a creek called 20 Mile. It's on the border of PA and NY. They had some fresh fish that 'exploded' when you had them hooked. These fish ran. I lost my first 3 or 4 fish because they took off down stream and found some rocks or trees. It really put a definition to 'screaming reels'. I can describe it as: lifting the rod when your line stops moving, you feel a head shaking, then, when the fish knows it's hook, it takes-off. You are left standing there with your rod up in the air waiting to see if the fish is going to stop.
I finally landed a big one. Like I mentioned earlier in the post - most fish are around 24". I hooked and landed this one a brown nymph. I was just around dark - 6-6:30. I was the only one fishing this hole. I really wanted to get my picture with it.
This is how I guage/measure steelhead using my 7 weight rod:
From the butt to the first eye is 27.5".
From the butt to the next rod section is 30".
You tell me how big you think it is. This fish really bent my rod. The picture does not do it justice - it was thick.
I really appreciate the info. I always wanted to steelhead. Were you able to sight fish at all or was it all blind. That was really nice of you to help the young lady out. I had many people help me when I started out. A helping hand never hurt anyone and I try to help as many as I can. Good carma I guess.Thanks again.
Since the water is low and clear, I focus on the water. 'Fishy looking water'. Hard to explain. Once you start catching a few, you start to know where to look.
If you are willing to walk, you will catch more fish. I put some miles on the boots today.
Polarized glasses is a must. Good boots. Studs. The streams are shale. Very slick.
You can usually see fish moving around in the pools - back and forth. I do not to target those. I like to fish the faster moving water. Usually riffles in the head or tail of the pool. I good sign is when the fish are moving up-stream, not swimming around the pool.
I do not see the fish taking the fly.
Once you hook a fish or two, or you find the fish are not active, then it's time to move on. My thought and observation is, the guys fishing in the middle of the pool, where they are staring at the suspended fish and the fish are looking back at them, is a waste of time. It makes people frustrated when the fish have lock-jaw. That leads to snagging or foul-hooked fish. I watch some guys do it. If they keep the fish, it's illegal.
When you get a bend in the stream, you can also find some good areas closer to the bank. Fish will hug the bank or try to find something to hide under - rocks or downed trees.
I did not have a good 'catch-ratio' today. I pulled a little too hard on some, found some rocks on the others, and lost the majority of the fish. I did manage a few smaller ones.
Do you use indicators? I normally don't but I know a lot of people do up there. I've been up to Vermilion a couple of times but haven't found any fish. I need to head east over your way if I try this fall.
Most of the time I do not use indicators. Once upon a time, I fished with them all the time. Then I started to 'bottom-bounce'. I took a little time to get the feel and learn how the manage the line. But I like the feeling of the initial strike. It adds more excitement. I get bored watching a indicator all day.
You need to be able to adjust your split-shot to the speed of the water. Therefore at each hole, I need to add/subtract. I always buy the sizes of B or BB that are removable.
I also fish with a nymph and a dropper set-up. The dropper is usually an egg, sucker-spawn, or crystal meth - pink, orange or cream. The nymphs are usually BH Pheasants, Princes, Stones, Coppers. Not really specific colors. I switch up.
If I'm bottom-bouncing, and I do not feel the drift is good, then I will switch to a indicator. I use Thingamabobbers. Mostly white (not sure it matters). Sizes 1/2 and 3/4. They are EASY: to use, to see, and to get on/off the line. They look like the bubbles floating down the creeks. I also add a split-shot 6" down from the indicator - trying to get the fly down ASAP and below the indicator.
PA and OH are very different. The OH creeks are much larger. PA has more steams and more public access PLUS more fishing pressure. A lot more pressure. Fishing during the week is great.
If you are ever going back up north and need some info, drop me a line. I can get you started on where to stay, where to fish, and who to talk to once there.
Hope this helps.
Elk River Head
Was fishing some of the extreme East Ohio Creeks/Rivers the week before Thanksgiving. Did not catch large numbers but did hook and net a 31 inch x 12 pound Head on the Elk in PA. Got him on a Wiggle Stone x !6.
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