Steelhead fishing: winter to spring transition

For months starving steelhead were holding under the ice waiting for your bait to pass by.  This underwater video shot at Walnut Creek shows the trapped fish waiting for the ice to clear. 

Over the last several days thanks to Uncle John’s Elk Creek webcams, we saw the ice jam on lower Elk form, the ice and water pressure increased by the hour, and then the jam broke free and rushed into Lake Erie.  This series of images shows the “de-icing” process.




Here is a video that shows the glacial flow of ice, debris and water heading downstream into Lake Erie.

You fished in January until the ice and cold got the better of you, and you patiently waited through February until the weather and water flow moved the ice jam north into Lake Erie. Well, your wait is over.

Now what? Go fish is the easy answer, but let’s be reasonable!

Once the off-color water settles down, post ice-out steelhead fishing gets a solid B+. You may think that you need to hurry before those starving steelhead wise-up and realize that the egg cluster passing by has a hook and line attached. I understand the desire to administer a “fishing vaccine” to cure your case of cabin fever; however, timing is everything so carefully pick your fishing date.

Remember your next outing will not be easy, but it can be productive if you know where and how!  One final word of caution is to be careful. The ice walls that form along the bank of Lake Erie tributaries are unstable and dangerous.

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Good luck.