Erie spring steelhead fishing is a “strong flow” sport. At this time of the year, the median, spring flow on Elk Creek is 7.6 cubic feet per second. I translate that number as a steady, strong drift.
Even with a strong flow, the tributaries usually have a nice, deep-green color that can be fished with most presentations. Fly anglers trying to fool the fish may be at a slight disadvantage when up against bait anglers offering food. Both do well in the spring.
Spring steelhead season peaks in April and ends in late May when the steelhead drop back into the lake for good. A decent run of spring jacks is now entering the tributaries. We need to release most, if not all, to preserve the fall run!
You will find smallmouth bass and plenty of emerald shiners in Lake Erie tributaries too.
Several things to keep in mind as you schedule a series of Erie fishing trips. Juvenile steelhead and brown trout have been stocked. They represent a future “run” of fish so be gentle when you catch and release them. You may need to change locations or presentations to eliminate accidental hookups.
As the numbers of smallmouth bass in the tributaries increase, you need to carry some tube lures or jigs. If you have colors that represent crawfish and emerald shiners, you will be prepared for the bass bite.
These dated videos provide examples of the weather and water conditions you will face this spring. You will be able to catch steelhead from the lakeside and in good “holding water” upstream locations. In the early spring, most of the smallmouth bass will be found in the near-lake sections of the tributaries. You can click the following images to view the videos that will open in a separate browser window.