Enjoy steelhead fishing?
The best way to enjoy your next steelhead fishing experience requires that you have realistic expectations as to what constitutes a successful trip. I have often said that landing one steelhead makes the fishing day successful, 2-3 fair, 4-9 good, double digits great, and 20+ excellent. So what are your expectations?
Are you a "remember the good old days" angler? Is lamenting the demise of the steelhead fishery a topic of all conversations you have with other anglers? Well stop that, your whining is spoiling our fun.
I was skunked many times during days past. The problem was never the fishery. It was my lack of steelhead fishing experience, poor fishing technique, limited fishing presentations, and my unwillingness to try new options and locations. Can you see yourself in that description?
At some point in the fishing year, many anglers are preaching one of two sermons. One - the major run is over and fishing now is marginal at best. Two - this year the run was weak because the Fish & Boat Commission cut down on stocking to eliminate public relations problems caused by "steelhead madness" or something ate most of the smolts. You may have heard other versions of the sermon, but the message is always the same. No fish to catch so stay home!
Funny, I continue to see the same local anglers fishing day after day. Are they stupid? Maybe they have not heard the sermon about no fish to catch.
At times during just about every steelhead season, I get email messages from one of my fishing partners. He often has one of the best days of his fishing year after hearing stories about the end of the steelhead season. Usually his message follows a high water event and the onset of colder weather when he fishes egg sacs. Those messages seem to be in conflict with fishing reports posted on the "chatter pages".
Erie tributaries will hold a fishable number of steelhead from October thru May . You may need to search a bit to find them or use an ice rod to catch them, but the fish will be there!