Serving  all of "Steelhead Alley" in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York     Turkey Creek Oh, Conneaut Creek Oh, Grand River Oh, Chagrin River Oh,  Rocky River Oh,  Vermillion River Oh,  Twenty mile Creek Pa,  16 mile Creek Pa,  12 Mile Creek Pa,  7 Miile Creek  Pa,  Walnut Creek Pa,  Elk Creek Pa,  Crooked Creek Pa,  Racoon Creek Pa,   Cattaraugus Creek NY,   Zoar Valley south branch,  Clear Creek NY,   Canadaway Creek NY,  Silver Creek NY,  Chataqua Creek NY,                      WE GO WHERE THE FISH ARE.......................á

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Fishing The Pennsylvania Streams of
"Steelhead Alley"
By:  Don Dfishinfool Mathews
 
Often you hear of Erie Pennsylvania referred to as the heart of "steelhead Alley". There is a reason for that.  It's near by streams contain the highest density of steelhead in the world. Pennsylvania has committed to a continued stocking of well over 1 million steelhead smolts per year. Ohio stocks 400,000 in her waters. With these factors you have less than 90 miles of shoreline receiving over 1 1/2 million fish. When you combine huge stocking numbers being made within a very small area and the strong will of the fish to come back to the exact river where implanted. Plus the benefit of Erie's abundant baitfish supply. You are bound to have a exceptional fishery.
The area is starting to draw worldwide attention. Area anglers and guides alike are spoiled rotten with the terrific fishery we have. Unbelievable numbers of fish are available and can be caught here.    Pennsylvania has developed a true year round fishery. Stream anglers can catch steelhead anytime from Sept-May in the streams. Thanks to a well thought out stocking program run by the state and by cooperative groups. For breeders they collect lake run fish returning to the stream. They take fish eggs from fish that run in the early fall, mid winter and late spring. These fish have offspring that will tend to make their spawning run in the same time frame as their parents did. The parents are taken at random. This has resulted in a crossbreed of several different strains of steelhead. The Pennsylvania "Mutt" is born.
   These implanted six to nine inch smolts stay in close to the shore all summer and easily avoid their only lake predator the Walleye. They quickly learn to forage on the mayfly hatch and feed on the mysis shrimp and spinney water fleas. They grow quickly and are a 18 inch eating machine after only  six months in the lake. Now they also can roam offshore without the fear of the walleye. Unbelievably they grow even faster foraging on anything they encounter.  Favorite foods in the open Lake include Emerald Shiners, Gizzard Shad, Smelt and Gobies.
These strong tendencies of opportunistic feeding in early life are implanted into the memory of the fish. When they enter the streams these instincts take over. A steelhead can survive very long periods in a cold stream without feeding. Often our streams contain very little in the way of forage. When the bait or fly is properly presented these fish often will take out of instinct.
These fish tend to be very spooky and line shy in the shallow clear streams. Light tippets and leaders are a must. Lost fish are common and the learning curve can be steep. Jeff has a saying that 90% of the people are spectators. Boastful as this might sound there is allot of truth to it. You must be willing to adapt to the situation at hand. Many can't grasp this and fish the same place and method every trip.
   We prefer to run and gun as I like to call it. We chase prime water. Western Erie offers several different stream gradients. Each stream will clear at a different rate after a high water period. We want to be fishing it the day it starts to clear to get first crack at the fresh run fish. When it is prime conditions the water takes on a greenish color. Often we jump creek to creek each day searching for this magic green water.
    Starting to the west you have Raccoon Creek. This is a very small watershed with a fair run. The banks are extremely tree covered and it can be tough to land them. It runs through flat swampy land and takes 24-48 hours to clear after high water. Next its Crooked Creek also a small watershed. It receives good runs and has a population of wild fish. It does have allot of log jams in the river. This can make it tough to land fish. It takes 36-72 hours for Crooked to clear. 
   Near Fairview Elk Creek flows into the Lake. The Elk is world class steelhead water and the word is out! It can be very crowded at times. Crowding has led to property being closed on some sections. Please respect all posted areas to help prevent further closings. With the majority of the stream open to fish there is no need to trespass. There is good public access and parking in the lower river at the mouth. If you have a 4wd there is good access at the Conrail RR property. Please do not park along RT 5.Don't let the crowds scare you. Most anglers are respectful and the fish are plentiful. Elk flows across mostly shale and starts to fish 36-48 hours after high water.
   Just west of Elk near the west side of Erie Walnut Creek flows into the lake. In its lower sections major stream enhancements have been made to facilitate fishermen. Huge numbers of fish are taken in these man made holes. Crowds are heavy always! This is where the state record fish was taken. Twenty, thirty and forty fish days happen here regularly.  It can be elbow to elbow. Some people love it. Most hate it.  I often fish it but never guide it unless requested. About 3/4 of a mile from the lake the fish encounter a falls on Walnut. This barrier proves to be difficult to cross. Some fish always make it but most don't. It depends allot on water levels. If fish do make it over the falls there is some very nice water upstream. Walnut is relatively small and almost entirely shale bottom. It has a steep gradient. This makes it one of the first to clear after high water. Often it is fishable less than 24 hours after high water.
   This western Pennsylvania steelhead Mecca is the perfect setting for us to teach you the fine art of catching steelhead. Often our clients are hooked up within minutes of arriving at the stream. With large numbers of fish present we can spend our time learning how to make the proper presentation. You will be able to sight fish and you will visually learn the types of water they hold in. (reading the water) You will be able to take this knowledge to any stream and catch steelhead.
Lets go fishin!  Don

Let's Go Fishin..!!



Save Time and buy your fishing license online.  Please check with your guide on what state you will be fishing.

\OHIO LICENSE

\PA ONLINE LICENSE

\NY FISH LICENSE

 

NEW YORK TRIPS

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

We 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 slide show and have all of our own equipment. We offer this presentation at a very minimal cost, and your audience will learn from it. So Please contact us....

Many lodging options exist along "Steelhead Alley" and Interstate I-90.  Here are a few lodging options located near to the streams that we fish.

LOCAL LODGING
Comfort Inn Elyria Ohio;  440-324-7676
EconoLodge Elyria Ohio; 440-324-3911
Howard Johnson's Geneva Ohio Exit#218; 440-466-1168
State Park Lodge Geneva Ohio Exit #218; 866-806-8066
Hampton Inn Ashtabula Ohio Exit #223; Call   440-275-2000
Comfort Inn Ashtabula Ohio Exit #223; Call   440-275-2711
Days Inn Conneaut Ohio Exit #241440-593-1226
Best Western Erie Pa exit#18 814-838-7646

Clarion Inn Erie Pa Exit#18 814-833-1116

Comfort Inn Dunkirk NY Exit#59 716-672-4450

White Inn Fredonia NY Exit#59 716-672-2103

Best Western Dunkirk NY Exit#59 716-366-7100

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