The Steelhead fishing in the Lake Erie Tributaries, specifically the Pennsylvania tribs, is very dependent upon rainfall to ensure adequate water depth and temperatures for the Steelhead to run. With this in mind it is very difficult to schedule our clients fishing trips with these hit or miss weat View more...The Steelhead fishing in the Lake Erie Tributaries, specifically the Pennsylvania tribs, is very dependent upon rainfall to ensure adequate water depth and temperatures for the Steelhead to run. With this in mind it is very difficult to schedule our clients fishing trips with these hit or miss weather patterns. So in an effort to better serve our clients I started scouting some possible waters outside of our normal fishing areas that don't necessarily need rain for the fish to run. After some online research, and consulting with a few fellow fishermen I decided on New York.
The day was sunny with no clouds and a high temperature of 70 degrees (felt hotter), with a low temperature of 63 degrees. Water temperatures varied from low 60's to upper 60' s. This body of water has a lot of underground springs which adds a dose of cooler water and the fish will congregate close to the springs when they need to.
I started fishing a gorgeous run that started with a deep riffle at the head that lead to a wide deep tailout. I chose a black egg sucking leach, with an orange egg as the head, to start with. I like throwing streamer patterns when I'm prospecting for fish because I can cover a lot of water quickly with them. But unfortunately after fishing this run thoroughly over I had no takers and I moved on to the next run.
I fished run after run and I continued to strike out so I changed to my confidence setup of a tandem of egg patterns. I tied these particular egg patterns out of a new tying material to me called "Eggstasy" and I was very excited to see how it worked. For the next hour I focused on a long fast moving riffle and after several egg color changes I was still unable to move a fish so I pressed further up stream.
The next spot was the type of run that as a fishermen you just know there has to be fish in it. My instinct was confirmed when a fat 10lb Steelhead breached the surface and my hopes of catching a fish were raised. I now knew there was at least one fish (and probably more) in this run and I was not leaving until I caught one.
The run was wide, and deep and I was going to have to cut it in half to fish it thoroughly and effectively. I started at the head and drifted and drifted with nothing so I moved downstream 10-15 feet and drifted more but still nothing. After fishing the near side of the run I crossed the stream to fish the other side. On the first drift through the head of the riffle my indicator paused which I instantly checked with a swift downstream set ,and I was finally hooked up with a fresh Lake Erie Steelhead.
Unlike their cousins that run in the Pennsylvania tributaries these New York fish have a lot of water to work with and they use it to their advantage. The husky male had my drag singing as he was leaping from the water trying his best to throw my fly. After a back and forth battle I had him in the net and a huge smile on my face. I took a couple pictures and quickly returned him back to his cold water haunt.
I was soon back to drifting the same riffle and moments later I was hooked up again with strong fighting New York Steelhead. I caught 5 more fish in this new "honey hole" until I was forced to vacate the area because of some bad weather but my scouting adventure was a huge success in my book.
I tried several different colors of the "Eggstasy Eggs" but I only caught fish on the pink. I used Orvis brand egg hooks in size 10. My rod is a 10' 7wt Syndicate Aquos with a Hatch Finatic 7 reel and Rio indicator fly line. This set up performed flawlessly and handled everything these big fish threw at me with relative ease!