Lake Erie Steelhead Fishing Report 4/11-4/13

Posted On: April 14, 2014 BY Delamere

          This weekend I headed up to the Ohio tribs to chase down some steelhead.  Since all of the rivers were blown out, I really didn’t know what to expect.  It turns out it was one heck of a fishing trip.

 I not only picked up my largest steelhead (35″), but the largest one I have ever seen come out of an Erie trib. It took 20 min, 50 yards of bank, and a size 14 egg to land him.
          In the high, off color water, eggs and nymphs don’t get the attention they deserve from the fish.  In these conditions, swinging large intruder and baitfish patterns on heavy sink tips are the way to go.  I attempted this on the Conneaut and the Ashtabula with no luck.  This was a little frustrating because I knew that there were fish in the system, but I couldn’t get any to hit.  After trying the best of the worst conditions on the tribs, I came to the conclusion that I needed to find lower water.  With this in mind I decided to spend the last day and a half fishing a trib of a trib.  This turned out to be on of the best decisions I have made.
          As soon as I arrived to the creek, I saw fish holding in very fast water.  These were all very fresh, chrome, hens ready to spawn with some colored up bucks.  Fishing was almost too easy here.  I was picking fish out of a pocket water style creek that was no wider than 30 ft at the most.  It turned into a game of sight fishing for some of the biggest fish I have ever caught on the fly.  I would either wait to see the fish or to see a bright silver flash in a deep pool.  The large colored up bucks stuck out like a sore thumb in the crystal clear water. 

          Not only were the steelhead spawning but so were the suckers, a true sign of spring arrival in Steelhead Alley.  These fish were literally everywhere to the point where I had to push them out of the way when I was walking though the riffles.
          The steelhead were very ready to feed.  There was one hole where I broke off what I thought was two different fish on 3X when they ran up against rocks.  I threw on 2X and cast back into the same hole.  I hooked into a nice 28″ hen who when I landed her, she had my two eggs in her mouth! 

          As far and techniques and gear goes, stay to faster runs with structure.  The fish are spawning and stage in faster runs and riffles.  Fish in the soft water of eddies behind rocks as well.  I use 3X fluorocarbon tippet for 90% of my nymphing for steelhead.  If the water conditions are very low or high I will use 4X or 2X as needed.  For swinging, 10-15 lb fluorocarbon can be used as well.  Add split shot as needed, especially in the faster deeper holes.  These fish are on the bottom and aren’t going to waste energy to chase eggs in the upper water columns, especially when they are getting ready to spawn.  As far as eggs go, 6mm orange beads were producing fish, as well as sz. 12-14 sucker spawn in pinks and creams. 
          As long as the weather up north stays good, the larger tribs should be coming into shape within the next couple of days.  There will be tons of fish to be had.  Unfortunately, the fish also bring in the fishermen so get to the streams early to reserve a spot. 
If you have any question feel free to call the Delamere & Hopkins shop at 513-871-3474.
Tight Lines,
Alexander Helmicki

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Comments

Michael Edwards said

He is the angling wonder kid… congrats Alex.

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