Since the official arrival of steelhead running in the PA tributaries of Lake Erie, fishing congestion and angler traffic has become rather maddening. This is to be expected as it occurs every year around this time. Fishing on a weekend during the prime months of late autumn and winter is difficult to believe the first time it is experienced. The “fishy” spots near the mouth of the tributaries with easy access and parking are bound to be continuously crowded for the next 3 months. How can an angler looking to land a few freakishly large rainbow trout better their chances? Here are a few tips.
- Take a day off during the week or call in sick to work. There will still be a large number of anglers on weekdays but if you can find a day mid-week to sneak out you will have more water to yourself and your hook ups and catches will be greater. Plan to arrive before dawn if you want to target the local favorite spots and seek out areas that offer multiple fish holding areas. For instance, an area with a large cascade followed but a lengthy riffle deep enough to hold large numbers of migrating fish above or below a deep blue pool is ideal. Why is this important? Because you need to find a spot that you can fish for long periods of time? The fish will be there and more than likely you will be able to see them but until the y begin to feed you will need to be patient.
- Don’t be afraid to travel long distances. Since the easier the access the more anglers if you are willing to walk a mile or more to remote areas there will be far less congestion. Bring water and pack a lunch; bring hand warmers to help keep you warm and pack for a full day on the water. The Erie tributaries are many miles long but it is typically only the first half mile that most people will fish. Get as far off the beaten path and as far away from the crowds and the fishing will improve exponentially. This is especially true as the season progresses.
- Choose the best times to fish the hardest. All anglers know that sometimes they just aren’t biting. The Erie Steelhead fishing scene is no different but with large concentrations of fish in a relatively small area feeding events become a site to behold. All of a sudden the steelhead decide to feed and every line seems to connect with a fish. If you can figure out what times of day the fish are most likely to be feeding and concentrate you effort on those times you will be the envy of the trout stream. During extended periods of cold temperatures typical of December and January target midday when the temperatures reach their peak. Often times changes in weather can start or stop a feeding event. Snow storms that spring up and nearly blind you can be just the ticket to start the steelhead feeding.
Check back tomorrow for 3 more tips to Steelhead Success.