Fd: Can you tell about the beginnings of your outfitting service?
I started Keystone Anglers Guide Service as a way of introducing new people to the sport of fly fishing. I feel that sometimes the sport can be a little confusing and overwhelming for beginners and I wanted to help dispel some of those misconceptions and show people that they too can be successful and enjoy the sport that I love.
Fd: Why do you think every fly fisherman should visit your destinations?
Whether it’s fly fishing for Lake Erie Steelhead and Smallmouth Bass, Wild Brown and Rainbow Trout, or the ultimate freshwater predator fish: the Musky… We have your trip covered. Our trips are designed for beginners as well as experienced fly anglers and we cater the trip according to our clients skill set. Our goal is to ensure not only a successful trip but a fun and enjoyable trip.
Fd: What can you tell us about the Steelhead Inn?
The Steelhead Inn is our home base for most of our Steelhead Alley fishing adventures. It’s located in Erie Pennsylvania and is centrally located to most of the top Steelhead waters in the Lake Erie Region. The Steelhead Inn offers special “Fishermen Rates” for fishermen traveling to the area to fish.
Fd: When do the lake-run steelhead and brown trout begin “running” into the Lake Erie Tributaries?
Steelhead and Lake Run Brown Trout begin staging at the mouths of the Lake Erie tributaries in early Fall. A lot of our tributaries are very dependant upon rainfall to ensure optimal water levels for the fish to “run” and this can speed up or delay the time frame of the Fall Steelhead runs. Most years October would be the first good month of the Steelhead season.
Fd: What kind of fly-fishing gear should anglers take for a week over there?
Fly gear needed for a Steelhead trip would begin with a good 5-7wt fly rod with matching fly reel. The weather can change on the dime in the Lake Erie area so bringing clothing to cover all extremes would be beneficial. Waders are an important piece of gear with the Goretex style being the most popular but some fishermen like to use Neoprene in the colder months because of the added warmth.
Steelhead flies of all sizes and colors are very important to bring. Another item that is invaluable to me that I would highly recommend bringing would be a quality pair of polarized sunglasses. Polarized sunglasses not only help you see the fish but they help you find the little seams and hiding spots that the Steelhead like to use as they make their journey upstream.
Fd: What are the top 5 flies that should be included in our boxes?
Egg patterns in lots of colors… this includes the Nuke Egg style of eggs with the white veil material that resembles the milky look of freshly fertilized eggs. This look sometimes produces fish when plain colored eggs do not.
Sucker Spawn..again in lots of colors.
Squirmy Wormies… under-utilized fly for Steelhead but highly productive for us and our clients.
Streamers… when the fish are active and hungry catching them on streamers is a blast. The strikes are intense and most of the bigger fish we catch are on streamers. White and olive colors seem to produce the most fish.
Natural flies, Nymphs, Stoneflies, Hare’s Ears, Pheasant Tails in sizes 12-16.
Fd: How's the programme for a typical fly-fishing day?
Our full-day trips are 8 hours but we normally run longer if the fish are biting and half day trips are 4 hours. Clients are responsible for current State Fishing licenses and appropriate trout/salmon stamp where applicable. Clients bring their own fishing gear such as rod/reel and waders but we can provide with prior notice. All flies are provided for the trip but clients are free to use their own.
We like to start our day early but start times are up to the client. We encourage the client to have some streamside snacks and water with them and it is their option to leave the stream for a lunch break or continue fishing. It is the clients day and we will accommodate their wishes.
Fd: How long before should anglers contact the lodge for reservations?
Our fishing schedule starts to get busy in late summer in preparation of the Fall Steelhead run. Most weekend dates are the first to fill up so if you’re requiring a weekend date we suggest booking your date sooner rather than later. If you have a more flexible schedule and are able to fish during the week we can accommodate you with a few weeks notice. The Steelhead Inn on the other hand has rooms available through most of the Fall for our traveling fishermen.
Fd: Any other advice for those visiting your area?
The best advice I can give is: the more flexible your schedule is, the more successful your trip will be. We try to schedule all of our Steelhead Trips around optimal water levels so that our clients will have a successful and enjoyable trip.
Find more info and contact Keystone Anglers Guide Service, right here: Travel.