November 18, 2019
Good news and not so good news is part of the steelhead fishing watershed at this time of the year. Don’t be overly concerned. Just be aware of the situation you face.
Thirty fish days while casting to stacked lower tributary steelhead are gone. Water flow and more importantly water temperature is moving fish 24 -7. For instance, the flow on Elk Creek is slightly below the annual average for this time of the year; however, the more critical element of water temperature is just right.
No one knows for sure why steelhead hold in “skinny-water” below or above a deep hole rather than in the deep flow. As you walk past the riffle to cast into the deep hole just upstream, you will spook shallow fish and spoil a fish catching opportunity. We have all done that.
During a good fishing day, you may cover a mile of water to find and catch 10 steelhead. Fishing pressure will be moderate to light. If that sounds attractive to you, then gas the truck and go.
Jigs, sucker spawn, egg patterns, single eggs, and egg sacs are good presentation options. I am reluctant to add metal to the mix because of personal bias, but spinners and flatfish in skinny water catch fish.
When you do locate fish, going through your “bait” rotation sometimes results in more hook ups after the hot-bait-bite stops.
Many anglers who love steelhead fishing have been waiting for the current conditions to arrive. They may face skim ice, line ice, snow, sleet, rain, clear cold, heavy wind or warming, cloudy calm days. Erie weather is a treat!
In the absence of a major water event, fishing will replace catching. Anglers willing to move and find fish will have a good time as long as their expectations match the conditions they face.