Meet The Guides
Best Time 2 Fish
prices and packages
Ohio Steelhead Fishing
Western PA tribs
NY Trophy Browns
NY Salmon River
Online Photo Album
Steelhead Alley Links
e-mail us at
Steelhead alley Map
Google Map of Cleveland Ohio
Steelhead Alley Map
Google Map of North East Ohio
Steelhead Alley Map
make sure your fishing with a Steelhead
is our number one priority at Steelheadschool.com
We want lifelong customers. We strive to exceed our
guests expectations. Our guarantee is simple. If
your not 100% satisfied with anything we do contact us.
If we can't make it right. We will give you a full refund.
No questions asked.
Sorry No Openings
Nov 7,8,and 9th
Taking Reservations Now
Often imitated but never
duplicated. We have over 150 satisfied Graduates thru the years. It is a
three day adventure into the world of fishing Steelhead Alley. Our team of
local steelhead pro's teach you everything you need to know to be a successful
steelhead angler. It also includes a nine hour tour of the hot spots on the
streams. We will cover, When to fish where, knots, rigging terminal tackle,
leader construction, fly selection, reading water, fighting fish, spin, fly, spey and cenerpinn techniques
plus thee hours of hands on fly tying. All you will need are an Ohio fishing license and a
pair of chest high waders. . The weekend is value priced at $350 per angler and
included in the price is two nights lodging. Contact Don at 330-565-5457 for
Bill Rusinko at
Realistics Taxidermy is the
only one I will trust with my trophy fish, He lives in Michigan's UP and
he is an expert at correctly painting our great lakes species.
Blog's from the Alley's
This link takes you to
Greg Lum's blog. Greg is
a good friend of mine and an expert with the center pin. He is on the
river almost every day and his reports are funny but accurate.
Bob Williams blog is full of
good info and stream reports.
Mike Engelhardt's Blog is
packed with great photography and stories of his adventures.
Ohio DNR Info
OH Fishing Report
Ohio Steelhead Fishing
Ohio Steelhead Info
The Best informational book on fishing
John Nagy has updated his great book on Lake Erie Steelhead fishing.
Tube flies are all the rage on the
alley. If your interested in tubes you gotta check out Tony DiBenedetto's
web site tubeflytech.com
County Visitors Bureau's
Dfishinfool's Guide Service is a proud members of the
Ashtabula County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Their website lists local attractions, the areas fine wineries, hotels and other
information on the area.
Our Team of Guides have the
required permits to Guide on
Lorain County Metro-Parks property. Lorain County is host to some beautiful
well appointed parks.
Dfishinfool's Guide Service is a proud members of the
Lake County Visitors Bureau
Helpful links on rigging your spinning
outfit for Steelhead
We trust quality
RedWing floats and terminal tackle on
our guided trips
Here is a great link from
Redwing Tackle on rigging up your Spin or Pin outfit
Team Member Guide Websites
DDon Mathews and
Dfishinfool.com have been your Source
for Steelhead Alley info since 1997
Jeff Novak's website. Jeff
travels the Great Lakes Guiding Anglers.
Guide Dick Keagy is a true
OhioSteelheader check out his
Guide Travis McAllisters website.
Ben's Bait and Tackle Garden River Ontario
In addition to our guided Ohio and Pennsylvania trips
we offer a select number of trips each Fall to Western,
NY and the Cattaraugus Creek. Steel headers often refer
to the Catt as the "Crown Jewel" of our Great Lakes
tributaries. We fish the Catt during the month of
October. It is a beautiful stream and the early fall
fishing is great. Give me a call and we will discuss a
trip to the Catt. Don Mathews NY License #4348
Clubs, Trout Unlimited Chapters, Sports Shops
put together a great Power Point Presentation on Fishing
"steelhead Alley" its not just a bragging guide with a
bunch of big fish pictures. We have put together
an informative lesson on steelheading. It contains
many tips we have learned in our 10 year history of
Guiding Steelhead Alley. The principals we
show you can be applied to many other fisheries. We
offer this presentation at a very reasonable cost of
$100 plus our fuel expenses. We have a high
Definition Power Point projector all we need is a screen
or blank wall and a group of fishermen. Feel free
to contact Don at 330-565-5457 to set up a date for your
Area Fishing Clubs
Western Reserve Fly Anglers
Pennsylvania Steelhead Association
3 c u Trout Association
North West Pa
SONS of Lake
Erie Club (save our native species)
Trout unlimited Cleveland OHF
Boys Fly Fishing Club Toledo Oh
Tri County Trout Club
Other Great Clubs
United Fly Fishermen
Louisville Trout Unlimited
also have a presentation "Finding Fish on Steelhead
Alley" available to put on at your seminar, event, or
club meeting. We have assembled a awesome
power point presentation and
have all of our own equipment. We offer this
presentation at a very minimal cost, $100 plus expenses.
It is very educational and
audience will learn from it. Please contact Don
for more info 330-565-5457
of our streams in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York hold fish during the winter months
MOST YEARS ALL OF OUR STREAMS FREEZE OVER IN JANUARY AND
York Steelhead fishing is best in October thru December
but most years the Cattaraugus Creek s the first stream
to get a run of fish
Pennsylvania Steelhead fishing peaks in November and
December but gets runs as early as September. They
are the most heavily stocked streams on "Steelhead
Alley" and hold the most fish per square mile.
Steelhead fishing starts in October and lasts until
early May. Ohio streams are usually fish the best
in the spring.
Family Winery 440-593-5403
Favorite Great food**
Ferrante Winery 440-466-8466
River Cellars 440-298-9838
Harpersfield Vineyard 440-466-4739
Firehouse Winery 440-466-9300
Wine live music **
Old Mill Winery 440-466-5560
My Favorite wines **
South River Vineyard
Family Winery 440-466-1314
Area Rental Homes
Orange Street Rentals in Conneaut
Ohio rents out a nice home in a quite neighborhood minutes from Conneaut Creek.
Fairport Harbor Rental Home for
very large Groups. 8 BR Sleeps 20. Vey Nice views of lake 440-773-2741
Fairport Harbor Cottage Sleeps 6 with nice
Lakefront views. 440-773-2741
Our Favorite Lake
Erie Charter Boats
If you want
to catch a bunch of Perch without spending a bundle.
Check out the Edward John head boat out of Erie Pa. Just
$28 for adults..!! Call 814-883-7622
My Time Too Charters
George Neil runs a 30' Baha out of Ashtabula Harbor
He will put you on the fish 330-637-0989
Capt Don lives
right on the water in Fairport Harbor. His boat an
gear are first class 216-337-1208
Clark runs out of Ashtabula Ohio in a 30' Baha Give
him a call for some hog eyes and perch. 440-241-2214
tells me Capt Gary Raymond catches fish when no one else
looking for some huge Lake Ontario Browns and Salmon I
Brian Edwards and Fatal Attraction Charters out of
Sodus Bay in Fair Haven NY 315-754-8914
If your ever fishing in central
Kentucky look up are friends at
Cumberland Drifters for a great float trip
If your looking for a guided trip on
the Mighty Muskegon or the surrounding Michigan Streams give
Chad Betts a call at
John Valk runs
Grindstone Angling . They
are located in South Central Ontario Canada. I have used John as a guide in the
past. He is pleasant and nice to fish with. I highly recommend John as
your guide if you travel to the area.
Grindstone Angling also has a
very nice flyshop.
A neat new concept in floats.
Quality eggs straight from
Alaska to your door
For up to date
Steelhead Fishing Reports
From "Steelhead Alley"
Check out our no B.S. Steelheadalley fishing
reports at Twitter.
Spring 2014 Steelhead Alley
A message from Don
Thank You for your continued support. I guess
we must be doing something right. We are so busy I was
forced to turn away 2 out of 3 trip requests last fall.
This is frustrating for me. AND spring 2014 is
almost full now. I can't put off my knee replacement
surgery any longer. In February I go under the knife. So
I will not be guiding at all this spring. I will be back
at it in September for our Canada Salmon trip. Jeff,
Jason, Travis and Kurt will be doing all of our guide
trips on Steelhead Alley and their schedules are filling
up fast. Jeff and Jason will be doing the Grand
River float trips in late March and Early April.
If your interested in a Spring date contact me ASAP
and I will try my best to get you on the schedule
Call or text 330-565-5457
guiding schedule is getting very full. PLEASE CALL
BEFORE SENDING A DEPOSIT.
have openings for
our Garden River Salmon Trip
thru Sept 26 Garden
River Trip The Garden River is located six
hours north of Detroit near Sault Ste Marie.
This fall we will offer four, 5 night packages in our deluxe all inclusive
streamside camp. Sept 10-14, Sept 14-18, and Sept
18-22 and Sept 22- Sept 26. We fish a exclusive
PRIVATE area of the
Garden River reservation with native Ojibaway guides.
Fishing is spectacular for Pink (humpies) and Chinook
(King) salmon as well as Atlantic salmon, rainbows,
Brookies, Coho and Steelhead. Our groups of anglers land
unbelievable numbers of fish to 30 lbs. We have
miles and miles of river to ourselves. The fall foliage
is spectacular and the river is easy to wade. Our Camp
accommodates sixteen anglers in heated wall
style tents with oversize cots. We have two hot water
showers and lighted latrines in camp. We eat like kings in
camp and our cooks prepare the delicious meals camp
style in cast iron cookware. Everything is
included in the package price except for your fishing
tackle. The Garden River Salmon fishery is the
best the great lakes has to offer. It is the trip
of a lifetime.
nights of all inclusive fishing and meals $1195
See the pictures
and read the story about our Garden River Trip
is asking why so few website updates and pictures.
Sorry folks I am just too busy these days. I ain't
getting any younger !! We instead are focusing our
efforts on our guide trip customers. This has
always been our true passion. So I do apologize
for the sparse reports. The Steelheadsite
and fisherie websites provide a good source of
information. BUT honestly those USGS Gauges
are all you really need. Good Fishin..!! Don
SCHOOL SPRING 2014
$370 for the entire weekend (double room included)
SCHOOL Fall 2014
7th,8th, and 9th
$375 for the entire weekend (double room included)
SALMON TRIP SEPTEMBER 2014
Garden River Canada Trip
is Filling up fast. Remember we take just 16
anglers per 5 day leg.
Sept 10 -14
This is a on
year for the Pink Salmon Run !! The Garden River
is the Best Pink salmon fishery in the great lakes
!! PLUS it gets a huge run of Chinook Salmon !!!
Last year we caught 100 Brook Trout in the first two
legs of our trip !!
CAUGHT WELL OVER 100 ATLANTIC SALMON FROM OUR CAMP..!!
wild hard fighting steelhead and resident rainbows to
test your tackle as well. The Garden River is
undoubtedly the Crown Jewel Salmon Fishery of the great
We fish in
solitude on the Garden River First Nation Reserve. Our
Native American outfitter BEN BELLEAU gains us
access to the best sections of the stream.
March 16 2012.
We will only post periodic reports and updates to this
page. After much discussion it was decided that
our team of guides will be Tweeting our reports and
updates on our twitter account @steelheadschool We
can text tweets from the stream for real time reports.
This is a huge time saver for me !!!!!! Our
reports will be more personal than ever but we will
limit our audience somewhat. No guides please...
Just click on the link above and we will accept you as a
follower. Good Fishin..!! Don
Steelhead School our primary focus is on steelhead
fishing on Steelhead Alley in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New
York. Our team of guides have guided thousands of
successful steelhead anglers since 1998. During the summer months our team of guides
keep on fishing and guiding for Trout and warm water
invite you to check back here often to view current
river reports and pictures of our adventures. Plus
you can check out years of
old report archives.
report from Garden River Canada
having a blast up here in Canada. We are at our Fall
salmon Camp near Sault Ste Marie Ontario. 9 1/2
hours North of steelhead alley. We are on the Private
Garden river First Nation Lands. We have over 20
miles of river with only a handful of anglers. It
truly is paradise. Our camp on the Garden River is up
and running about 18 miles up from the mouth of the
river. The river level is low but that seems to be
working for us so far. We set our new camp up in a
section of stream called the Ivory bluffs. This
section contains much shallow spawning habitat.
The fish seem to be stopping in front of us instead of
running up river thru the seven mile rapids. One
hole in front of camp easily has 500 pink salmon in it.
This is supposed to be a so called off year in the Pink
Salmons bi annual cycle but there are just as many Pinks
this year as there was last year. Plus they are
running much larger. Jason got one 26 inches long last
week. Of course the River is full of big fresh
kings. The guys walking and targeting the kings
have been rewarded with quite a few good hookups.
The Kings are running large also with a 32 lber taken in
front of Bens shop.
salmon have not showed up in big numbers yet but we got
two today. The big talk around camp is the number
of Brookies we are getting. Ben and Jason
landed over 40 yesterday and another 10 today.
Most of the brookies are 8-12 inches but a few have made
the 15 inch mark. The wild Brookies are beautiful.
The guys have been hitting the resident rainbows
as well as the steelhead. we hads several
steelhead yesterday that went close to 30 inches.
going to be a great fall run. We still have open spots
in camp for anglers to arrive Sept 23 and Sept
27th for the four night package. Total cost is
$1125 and no license is required.
For more info click here.
I will be out of touch with the cell phone but for
information or directions call our native american
outfitter Ben's Bait and Tackle at 705-946-6334.
So So busy sorry not much time to post reports these
days. Don't worry we are alive and well.
Just back from the Garden River in Canada and we have a
great trip planned for this fall. We saw
Atlantics every day while we were there. Cool to
watch them slash bait in the St.Marys in front of Bens
shop. We got well over 50 Atlantics up there last
fall on our Garden river trip and Ben kept on guiding
after the flood and they got over 50 more after we
left..!! Most of these were taken using spinning
gear but this year I think more of the fly guys will
target them. The Garden River has been running
hard since spring and the water temps are below normal.
This is perfect for the Salmon run this fall.
were up there we teamed up with our Garden River First
Reserve native outfitter
We hired Bens brother Bob to grade the 16 mile road into
camp, fix some culverts and clear off a new spot for our
salmon camp in September. Its got a awesome view and it
sits on a bluff that cant flood. Bob is going to
grade a nice path down to the river for us. It
will be myself and Jeff Novak hosting the camp and Jason
Heinbaugh will be keeping everyone's stomachs full.
He has some tasty meals planned for the trip. Camp in
comfort right next to the Best Salmon fishing stream in
the Great Lakes. Just you and 14 other anglers with
miles and miles of river loaded with fish.
Canada Fall 2014
Exclusive area located near Sault Ste Marie On the
Private Garden River First Nation Lands. We use Ben Belleau
and the guides at Bens bait and tackle. ***NO CROWDS fish
in solitude*** Easy to wade a fly fishers dream stream,
The best Salmon Fishing on the Great Lakes Bar none..!!
salmon, Pink salmon, Chinook salmon, Coho salmon,
Steelhead, Resdient Brookies and rainbows all in the
same stream..!!! You gotta fish it to believe it.
info see Garden River Web
Jeff with a Garden
For more info or to book a trip call Don Mathews at
the best fishing I have ever experienced. You can
literally catch fish till your arms hurt..!! It truly
is a dream trip. I used to fish the Pere Marquette in
Michigan and the Salmon River in Pulaski, NY and I
honestly believe the Garden River gets a bigger run of
Chinooks than either of those streams. We seldom see
another angler that isn't part of our group. Salmon
fishing in such un-pressured conditions is impossible to
find anywhere else in the Great Lakes area. Only a
select few non natives have ever had the chance to fish
the Garden River. I saw what a great opportunity the
Garden River was and I have reserved the Ojibway native guides
for the peak fifteen days of the season on a continuing
Our team of
guides for the 2011 season
You can call Don
at 330-556-547 or any of our team member guides to book
Steelhead School Fall 2011
November 4th, 5th and
two nights lodging. Still just $350 per angler in a dbl
room. Taking reservations now. Accepting 12 students max.
info see Steelhead School
this Great fishing story
by Chris Blau
For More "steelhead Alley"
Fishing reports Click here
We want to hear from you
Tackle we depend on..!!
valuable stream time, buy your fishing license online
the day before your trip.
a trip with any of the above guides please call Don Mathews at 330-565-5457 .
He handles the website and our central booking calendar
You may also call your guide of choice at anytime with
questions or to check on availability.
Best Area Bait and
who travel to the area are in luck. Dan, Eric and
the team at FishUSA
are there for you. They stock what you will
need. Don't waste your money at the marts.
FishUSA will have
your order to you very quickly. They also have a
storefront in Erie Pa. with everything they stock
available there. You can stop there and get
online prices on the spot. Tell them I sent you.
Elk Creek Sports
have known Dan Seaman since I started guiding in Pa.
his shop Elk
Creek Sports is open early has licenses, shiners, bait and
everything else the Steelheader needs. He is
located on Rt.5 right at Elk Creek. He keeps his
reports page up to date and the info is good.
BAC Bait and
Tackle has Several stores with a great selection of
fly tying materials, bait, tackle, rods, reels and
waders. Located around the Erie Pennsylvania area
Gary and his wife Dot run a great bait shop located on
Rt 5 near Walnut
Creek in PA called
I have been a customer there since Gary bought the place
many years ago. The prices are good.
The selection is great, with everything you need to
catch fish, fly or spin. They clean fish and will
exchange your fresh caught steelhead for a smoked fish
on the spot. Check them out..!!
Jim runs Folly's End fly shop and campground. Jim
bought the shop a few years ago from my good friend
Larry. Jim has done a great job of keeping the
shop well supplied for steelhead fishermen and done some
nice improvements to the campground. Clyde Murray
has worked at the shop for years. He is a
steelheading icon. Clyde's friendly advise has caused
the demise of countless steelhead. The shop is
located on the banks of Elk Creek in one of the most
productive sections of stream. You can park on the left
side of the driveway going down to the shop. From there
you can access the stream to fish. Please stop in the
shop and let them know though.
at 3737 west 12th Street in Erie Pa. They are a
Orvis shop that carry's a nice line of upper end fly
fishing equipment 814-833-4040
Market is located just a half mile ease of Chautauqua
Creek on Lake Rd. The have NY fishing licenses,
bait and steelhead tackle.
Appalachian Outfitters is located at 60 Kendall Park
Rd in Penninsula Ohio. They are a full service
outdoor shop with a nice fly fishing department.
Bait and Tackle
Bait and Tackle is located in the Ashtabula county
metro-park at the Harpersfield Dam. They are open
seasonably and they have Bait, Tackle, Snacks, and flies
tied by local tiers. Give Joe a call at 440-983-9500 for
and see Frank at TMF Orvis if your ever near Ravenna
Ohio. Frank is about as good natured and friendly
as anybody you will ever meet. He runs a very neat
and tidy shop that has a great selection of fly fishing
gear for the steelheader, trout fisherman or saltwater
angler. His fly tying material
selection is great. They also have lots of quality
rods and reels.
at 263 Liberty st in Painsville Ohio. Minutes from some
of the best stretches of the Grand River. Kevin
has the best fly fishing selection in the area.
Chagrin River Bait
Bill Goble is a seasoned veteran Erie charter Capt. who
runs trips on his nice 30 foot Baha the
"No Woes". Bill also owns
Chagrin River Bait
and tackle located at 140 forest dr. in Eastlake
Ohio. They sell fishing licenses, bait, and
steelhead tackle. Bill closes up for a few months
in the winter but he offers fish cleaning during the
summer. His BBQ Ribs and Fish dinners are a big hit with
the locals. They open at 6:00 am most mornings 440-942-9716
River outfitters located at 100 North Main Street in
Chagrin Falls Ohio 44022. They are a full service fly
shop and they have one of the areas best selections of
Steelhead Alley fly gear. Give Dan a call at
Erie Shore General
and tackle located in Eastlake Ohio 440-942-3470
has bait and steelhead tackle plus a selection of Lake
Erie Tackle. Located at 413
South Ridge Geneva, Ohio (440) 466-3561
Neshannock Creek Fly
Shop is located on a nice trout stream about an hour
or so south of Erie they have a great fly fishing
Craig Lewis runs
Located in Sheffield Lake Ohio. They have a great
selection for the steelheader as well as lake fishermen.
There is a nice launch down the street that puts you about 6
miles from the sandbar. A lake Erie fishing hot spot in
recent years. Erie outfitters has shiners, bait and
Gone Fishing Bait
Laughard owns Gone fishing Bait and tackle at 1027
Munroe Falls ave in Cuyahoga Falls Ohio. The word
is out on the steelhead runs the Cuyahoga has been
getting the past couple of years. Plus it has some great
bass and pike fishing. Bill knows the river well
and he knows where they are biting. 330-945-4590
Snug Harbor Bait
Snug Harbor Bait and tackle located at 1021 Broad Street
in Conneaut Ohio. The shop sits on the bluff looking
over the mouth of Conneaut creek and the Harbor. I'm in
his shop daily in the summer because in my opinion
Conneaut is the best fishing port on lake Erie. The
perch fishing is consistent all summer and fall and the
walleye fishery peaks in July and August. Snug Harbor
has the right bait, tackle, and advise to make your trip
a success. they also clean fish. Jack also maintains a
river report line call 440-593-3755
store carrying a variety of fly tying supplies at
DeMartino owns the online store CustomFishingTackle.com
out of Rochester NY. He is a Great Lakes pioneer
of using Centerpins for steelhead. He also builds
custom Rods and sells a wide selection of gear for the
centerpin enthusiast online
Area Camp Grounds
Open year round
Jim and Clyde at
Folly's End have a great fly shop on site
at their riverfront campground. You can access one of the best sections of Elk
Creek from their campground. They offer daily stream parking and camping.
As well as seasonal camping. If your near Elk Creek stop in. They will hook
John's Elk Creek Campground is located right on the
stream near the mouth of Elk Creek. Fishing is
very good on their property. John is a great guy
and he let me hold my Boy Scout Merit Badge Classes in
one of his cabins for free. The cabins are for
rent they are new and are very nice. The showers
and restrooms are great The place is always clean and
well kept. It is very angler friendly. He offers
daily stream front parking for a small fee.
Campground Geneva Oh Phone 440-466-8191
Best Area Chow
can' find something you like to eat in Cleveland
your in trouble. I'm not going to waste your time
trying to list hotels or restaurants in the Cleveland or
Reynolds Road Mentor 440-946-2090
4057 Erie Street Willoughby Try the Cheddar Ale Soup..!!
101 River Street Grand River is located on the water
and is a locals favorite for Crab Legs, Prime Rib and
Shrimp. I highly recommend them. 440-352-6343
Street Grand River Excellent fresh fish and seafood
Friends Restaurant Located right at Exit #218 Good
Breakfast and reasonable prices. 440-466-0041
located right at Exit #218 On Rt 534. They have a
nice dinner menu and serve some local wines
Winery is my favorite place. Don't wear your
waders. Good Italian food. Meals are $10-$20.
Located 5 minutes from Exit #218 call 440-466-8466
Nest Restaurant Follow Rt 11 north and you will dead end
in their parking lot. Good choices lots of selections
reasonable prices. The monster bowl of Chili will
warm you up. 440-964-2696
in Historic downtown Ashtabula harbor 440-964-2273
Beer Great food for the money. Home cooked meals.
Daily specials, Hearty burgers. Bottled beer your
real likely to run into one of us there. They Even have
a fish tank table. Located Right at I-90 Exit #241 Right
near the state line.
Biscotti's Restaurant 186 Park Ave Conneaut
Local favorite Pizza and Italian food Call 440-593-6766
is just 2 1/2 miles south of I-90 on Rt 18. Great food
but don't wear your waders. They have a grill in the
center of the place and you can cook your own steaks if
you want. Call 814-774-8450
for me to drive by Avonia Tavern Just West of Walnut
Creek on Rt 5. Great Wings and Burgers all the food is
great and they have reasonable prices.
is located at 5360 West Lake Rd. Just a short
drive from walnut creek. The subs are fantastic
and a big hit with the area fishermen all 814-833-6913
I-90 to Peach Street and there are a lot of choices.
Quaker steak and lube wings are a local favorite.
Or jump on I-79 North to Mill Creek Mall. All the
big chains are in town.
Lighthouse Inn 3704 East Lake Rd is our favorite over
that way. 814-899-9300
located East of 20 mile Creek on Lake Rd just across the
NY state line. They have good burgers and cold
STEELHEAD ALLEY Motels
Comfort Inn Exit #241 Rt 45
Austinburg Ohio is the home of our Spring Steelhead School and offers convenient
lodging for guests fishing Eastern Ohio. 440-275-2711
The Green Roof Inn is located Just
2 miles south of I-90 on rt 18 they are close to the action and very fishermen
friendly. Gene tells me the rooms are very clean. They have reports
on their web site.