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LittleJSeptember 14th, 2008, 7:16 pm
Hollidaysburg Pa

Posts: 251
It's about that time of year again. So I thought maybe some of you vets might like to discuss some tactics, maybe a few patterns, or if the mood hits you right maybe even a secret people- less spot.(p.m. to my name only of course :). My knowledge of steelhead falls somewhere between very little and nothing, but i was tying some stones & spawn up today and thought it would make a good topic. And hopefully improve my success this year.
GrannomSeptember 15th, 2008, 3:10 pm
Northwest PA

Posts: 87
Lets start off with where everyone fishes for 'em? LittleJ, I assume you go up to Erie, my backyard, right? I fish Elk pretty much all season. My favorite pattern last year was the nuke egg, followed by small black stones. I say that was my fav. last year because it changes every year. I wanna work a lot with tube flies and streamers this year. Can't help you much with the people-less spots, but I live WAY up on Elk and usually only see 3-4 people in a day, and that's perfect for me. I like to fish near a few other guys to make some convo and see how they've been doing.

"Be calm - you're there..." "...Tell yourself there's no rush, even if there is."

-John Gierach
JADSeptember 15th, 2008, 4:56 pm
Alexandria Pa

Posts: 362
Hi Jeff

(discuss some tactics, maybe a few patterns, or if the mood hits you right maybe even a secret people- less spot.(p.m. to my name>
Tactics---Their just large Rainbows, IMHO I use regular nymphs 14 to 20 ies sometimes they key on bright colors not always. I use wollybuggers , Olive---- black--- and sometimes white--- with flash in tails.
(Even a secret people- less spot) good luck on that one. I fish after Thanks Giving that helps some if it gets cold.

Advice---- fish the dark spots on the bottom of the stream, don't fish for them if you can't see any


They fasten red (crimson red) wool around a hook, and fix onto the wool two feathers which grow under a cockís wattles, and which in colour are like wax.
Radcliffe's Fishing from the Earliest Times,
RleePSeptember 15th, 2008, 6:19 pm
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
Like Grannom, I'm born and raised in Erie County, PA. Since we now live in the Midwest, its been a few years since I fished the creeks much. But I did fish them hard for a good many years when I was living there.

Here's a few things that come to mind about the PA fishery:

1) With very few exceptions, these fish are not at all that bright. But they are neurotic and will turn off one fly type and on to another in a heartbeat. Once on Elk on a weekend when it was beaucoup crowded and the water was pretty skinny, I put my spin-fishing dad on a pod of fish that were in plain sight. He proceeded to hook 7 on 8 casts on a smoke colored crappie jig with 10lb test with a snap swivel. There were a half dozen fly guys nearby who I feared were going to commit ritual suicide when they saw this.. I think novelty is very important. So, change flies a lot.

2) I used to do real well in dirty water on these creeks by fishing egg flies the diameter of a ping pong ball (tied on a #6 wet fly hook). Takes a lot of lead to get them down.

3) Look for places in the creeks where a sheet of shale suddenly ends and drops off into a pocket you can't see the bottom of. This is common on these streams and even if the pocket looks barely big enough to hold a fish, it is well worth fishing. These places are fish magnets. The steelhead will lay in them with their noses right up tight to the front of the shale. I used to fish an egg fly with a lot of lead by throwing it up on the shale and letting it roll and drop into the pocket. All but bops the fish on the nose. Worked well.

4) In my experience, these fish will not chase a moving fly in water under 40F. So, take a thermometer and put the buggers away when the water is in the 30's. The flip side of this is that when there isn't a lot of snow to melt and keep water temps down, these streams will heat up 8-12 degrees on a sunny day, even in December. The shale substrate really captures heat and warms the water up quickly.

5) I also do not have any advice about avoiding crowds. From my perspective, having fished these creeks when there was virtually nobody around, its just become awful the past few years. I was home over Thanksgiving last year and counted over 60 cars on Elk between I-79 and the Sterrettania access parking lot. And this was on Monday, the first day of buck season. If you poke around on the upper ends of the creeks and if you're willing to fish when the weather is awful, you'll have more elbow room, I guess. Oh, one other way to be able to avoid the crowds a bit comes to mind... When the water is up some, work all the pockets between the pools, where most of the guys are. Use your trout sense and look for bank cover, overhanging limbs and just enough depth to hold a fish. Pick pockets and hunt individual fish. There are so many fish that this is often worthwhile.
LittleJSeptember 16th, 2008, 6:43 pm
Hollidaysburg Pa

Posts: 251
Thanks for the responses guys. Yes I will be fishing erie, but if the schedule permits I would like to make a trip up to new york. I guess maybe I just put to much emphasis on treating them like a seperate species. I've limited myself to "steelhead only" patterns in the past and I think that explains my limited success.
FlybyknightSeptember 17th, 2008, 3:39 am
Milton, DE

Posts: 82
I am of the opinion that the most critical elements are
a natural drag free drift; on the bottom, right to
the fish's nose.
Then comes visibility, you just can not let the fish
see you.
Then comes fly selection, which can lead to a bad case
of pattern anxiety.
Here's wishing you a great season.

Lightly on the dimpling eddy fling;
the hypocritic fly's unruffled wing.
Thomas Scott
Albert17September 20th, 2008, 9:54 am
Placerville, CA

Posts: 1
I fish the American River. Sunrise, nimbus, watt ave

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