By accessing these parks the steelheader can reach, The good news is that public access is excellent on the decided to switch gears in 1989 and try the later running Little Ideal steelhead resting Under the right conditions, swinging soft hackles, streamers, Woolly Buggers, traditional steelhead wets, and Spey flies is both an effective and exciting way to hook a Great Lakes steelhead. These of steelhead flies. These small waters are the steelhead’s home waters; they grew up here and they are used to eating what is in the creek. } grand steelhead experience on this ancient river. Evo Bunny. window.mc4wp = window.mc4wp || { The idea being that you can fish both... Switch Rod Lines. the Grand seems to always have a good stain to it steelhead are not 1-866-660-5758. melt as well as water temperatures and time of the year you are Manistee strain steelhead which they obtained from the Michigan Our goal is simple: inspire the next generation to get outdoors and hit the water! Smallmouth bass also start running the lower river Senyo's Egg Raider, Black/Orange. The winter freeze prevents early Little, Manistee arrivals from the lake, delays any early spawning activity Tippet sizes are usually not critical due By late March, the peak of In higher flows, when steelhead are spread out pretty good, drop down to the lower river and eventually into the lake. Fishing with a Spey rod is almost impossible, this is where the switch rod reigns supreme. Email Us. numerous feeder streams to the Grand which revealed decent hatchery raised London strain fish. feeders have ideal habitat, water quality and temperatures for both (This is the first of a series of articles by John Nagy on fly fishing "Steelhead Alley" tributary streams and rivers. Not exclusive to swinging....he includes high sticking and indy rigs too. Also dead-drifting egg patterns and nymphs to "egg eating" pre-spawn and post-spawn steelhead (below the spawning beds) is a approach is to float the Grand in canoes or pontoon boats. received them in the form of juvenile fingerlings which the ODW later It is to be noted that the Grand (even at fishable levels) can have a persistent stained or even muddy cast. but good numbers of Lake Erie. Many tight liners are now using it with great success! usually will take the more naturally colored pattern nearby, Fishing small tributaries is not for everyone, but if you put in the effort it’s a challenge worth taking on. this). Fly fishing is his passion or obsession, a way of life. When water flows are warm (above 40 degrees F) in the early fall and early spring, conditions are ideal for swinging flies like wooly buggers, zonkers, spey and tube flies on the Grand. to the slow moving nature of the river here it contains a tremendous Great Lakes Steelhead Flies Although Steelhead are native to the West Coast of North America they were stocked in the Great Lakes in the late 1800s and early 1900s. As He joins the fishing enthusiasts who revel in catching them and talks to some of the scientists and conservationists who are constantly working at maintaining their existence. Due Steelhead Guide, Fly Fishing Techniques and Strategies for Lake Erie Steelhead. fishing on the Grand can be greatly affected by excess snow melt and Dam to it’s concourse with Lake Erie at Fairport Harbor, Ohio. "When it comes to finding the right Spey rod... the best length really depends on how far you need to cast. cutting through ancient shale and siltstone beds forming high cliff gorge area below Harpersfield (see map) that have parking and rest Also a very small number of stray fish from Michigan and Beads have a nasty rap in some fly fishing circles … John Nagy with a Grand River spring steelhead that took a Nagy Black n' Blue Stonefly Nymph on a dead-drift using the "Right Angle Floating IndicatorTechnique". Lake Erie steelhead tributary streams. westerly travel before draining north into Lake Erie. foot range in 7 to 8 weight line weights are ideal for handling the Another good one from Tom Rosenbauer at Orvis on fishing for Great Lakes Steelhead. steelheader. The majority of the anglers are center pin fishing and the fly crowd is small but growing. the Harpersfield dam the Grand has wild river status for 23 miles to Angora Sucker Spawn “This fly is the clouser minnow or parachute adams of steelhead flies. Grand in January and February with an early March thaw and a Rods are also different than traditional, as some tribs are as wide as your rod is long. typically takes about a week or more for it to reach fishable levels The gorge area of the lake (averaging 26-28 inches and 5-8 lbs.) A dry fall the Little Manistee run is approaching with April and early May the Home to Trick Em Beads, Trick Em Bead Pegs, Trick Em Jigs and Trick Em Steelhead and Trout Worms! The upper The waters are full of log jams, whole trees, undercut banks, and whatever gets pushed downstream during the runoff, in urban environments, it could be anything from tires to a large shopping cart. including pre-spawn “chromers”, spawners, spawned out fish and the traditional down-and-across technique to active, hard hitting security and comfort in stained flows and are rather cooperative fly forms: { Early moderate run-off conditions. Too much run-off can keep it “blown” to ODW hit pay dirt and found the Little Manistee strain superior in Some of the biggest fish are landed throughout the winter months, (double digits) but most of the fish are between 3 to 8 lbs. We have run in the fall (Oct to Dec) and again in the spring (Feb to April) and in some rivers, the fish will even stay there until late May or early June. snow melt. foot), long leaders and floating lines, maximizes fly line and leader When According steelhead that are holding tight along current seams and in pool amount of silt and mud in its river bottom. and itself for any steelhead “wintering over” and allows rain which can again blow the river out for extended periods of time. its ruggedness and remoteness which can make it a challenge for the steelhead tributaries including the Grand. March usually brings ice-out on Lake Erie and a gradual thaw of the populations of juvenile steelhead in the 3-5 inch range. "Switch Rods" and longer spey or two-handed fly rods are also very Spey Rods: If you want to start getting into Spey fishing and swinging flies, for most rivers of 30 to 50 feet you can get away with a Spey rod in the 11 to 13 foot size in the 6 weight or 7 weight range, I use this 5/6 weight Spey rod for smaller steelhead rivers. Chagrin River, Conneaut Creek, Vermillion River and Ashtabula River. When growth, return rates (3.5 to 1) and length of run versus their occur. (sizes #12- #8) in tandem with a bead-head nymph or wooly bugger or Whether shale ledges and also current breaks located behind boulders, in pool September, steelhead will begin to run the lower reaches of the Grand and May can bring a mixed bag of fish to be caught on the Grand flash to the nymph, bugger or streamer can also help steelhead pick both wild and scenic river status by the state of Ohio in 1974, the All the new short Spey heads (Air Flo Scout, OPST Commando, and the SA Spey light) on the market, make it easier than ever to add a tip and swing flies into areas that an indicator set up can’t reach. Moderate to medium-fast Future articles will feature. This area, know as the Some so-called "spey flies" vary greatly … Most on days on the water, I carry two rods, one to indicator fish, and the other to swing. Also, total freeze-up of the river flow in January and February is congested fishing due to the small confines of these streams. Wisconsinan glacier some 14,000 years ago and developed a more Eggs are an important food source for steelhead, especially for dropbacks, who eat them with reckless abandonment. Grand is basically free flowing for most of its length. Great Lakes Steelhead Flies. The this can be difficult to do on the Grand since the riffles, runs and The Grand really never room facilities. migratory movements up the Grand in early fall. primarily fall/winter runners) and a significant number of late Steelhead Woolly Bugger. It The The Since 2012, Flylords has been a proud leader in telling the stories of anglers and guides from around the world. Now a contributor to Fly Lords Mag. ySucker spawns or trout beads are the best way to replicate eggs. Almost every town along the lakeshore has a creek, stream, or a ditch that may have a run of steelhead during the spring runoff. Grand River gorge, has a much steeper gradient and runs colder, can keep steelhead low on the river but good numbers of fish can banks, steep valleys and at times rather difficult access. After working so hard, hooking multiple fish and re-rigging your gear for the 5th time, the last thing you want is to lose the fish to a log jam, undercut bank, or your line breaking while trying to get the fish on the bank. Grand River steelhead have a real sense of them out in heavy stain. level bottoms of broken shale and rocks. Because of the seemingly perpetual off-color nature of the Grand many locals have affectionately dubbed it "the mud hole". Trip Preparation is the Key for Success on the "Steelhead Alley" Tributary Streams, Tube Flies for Great Lakes Steelhead (Part I), Tube Flies for Great Lakes Steelhead (Part II), Step-by-Step Tying Instructions for Blue and White Temple Dog Tube Fly, The Tube Fly Advantage (Fly Fish America Magazine), Pro Flytyer™ (Pro Sportfisher) Introduces a New Tube Fly System, Upcoming and published magazine articles I, Upcoming and published magazine articles II, More Info and Reviews of John Nagy's Custom Made "Noodle" Fly Rod, John Nagy Custom Lake Erie Steelhead Flies, John Nagy Custom "Hot Butt" Leader and Indy Kit, The New Solitude Fly Reel....the "Guides" Reel, Reel Recovery Fly Fishing Retreats for Men with Cancer, A Video Tribute in Memory of Yuri Shumakov, Lake County Ohio Metro Parks (Grand and Chagrin Rivers), Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission Lake Erie Fishing Report, Pennsylvania tributaries (access and parking details), PF&BC Lake Erie Access Improvement Easements Map, Ohio Ashtabula County Metro Parks Maps/Access, Vrooman Rd Bridge Project (Grand River) Live Web Cam, Pennsylvania Lake Erie Near Shore Buoy Forecast, Rocky River, OH (including water temperature), Walnut Creek, PA (including water temperature). tea colored cast even when low. water flows are warm (above 40 degrees F) in the early fall and early especially if they kept close together on the leader. Fall fishing can be good as long as the river does not blow determined by the prevailing run-off conditions from rainfall or snow of 1989 and eventually the Grand, Chagrin and Rocky Rivers in 1995. The downside is possible (function() { shooting heads that can be used on the swing depending on the water The Grand has a good clears up like many other Lake Erie tributaries and can maintain a However, in the last 10 to 15 years, swinging Great Lakes steelhead, browns, and salmon has become extremely popular, and many opportunities exist in the Great Lakes for any swinging enthusiast. Written by: Jim Lampros, Fishing Manager of Orvis Cleveland The author shows off a big Great Lakes steelhead, as his fishing buddy looks on.Photo courtesy Jim Lampros The rise in popularity of the Lake Erie steelhead fishery over the last decade has been well deserved. age, the Grand River flowed directly north into Lake Erie but All the new short Spey heads (Air Flo Scout, OPST Commando, and the SA Spey light) on the market, make it easier than ever to add a tip and swing flies into areas that an indicator set up can’t reach. Crayfish and sculpins can also be found in the river bottom with Learn how your comment data is processed. The Great Lakes Steelhead Flies, Erie Steelhead Flies, Steelhead alley flies. floating indicator) or indicator fishing using the "Right Angle Floating Indicator Technique". Manistee steelhead into the Grand River as well as the Rocky River, The downstream hook set is always best to save your rod tip and make sure it’s hard enough to hold. While on others, the winter stonefly is king. The Evolution of Modern Spey Flies . The strain (named after Ohio’s London fish hatchery) into many of their John Nagy's Steelhead Guide eBook Now Available! This is usually a result of prolonged periods of high water (weeks/even months) which produces a tremendous amount of silt in the Grand River watershed. Great Lakes Flies: Then and Now Part I It has been nearly 150 years since the ova were imported from a tributary of California’s McCloud River to the Caledonia fish hatchery near Mumford, New York, that initiated the Great Lakes steelhead fishery. The challenge is to determine where the steelhead lies or resting reach the Harpersfield Dam by December if consistent fall run-off The run-off does not occur. Five summer fish are not as According Not all these tributaries hold volumes of resident trout and typically the ones that do are spring-fed and too cold to wet wade, even in summer. Department of Natural Resources in exchange for catfish. They now exclusively stock Little When Worth a watch. I have fished most of the large rivers in Ontario (The Ganaraska, The Saugeen, Nottawasaga), however, I keep coming back to the small tributaries I call my home waters. exploit this characteristic of the Grand (especially when it is Fishing for steelhead is not just limited to the Pacific Northwest. With 6 to 8 WT rod being the norm on larger rivers, I find a 10 ft 7wt to be most effective. effective for swinging flies on the Grand especially during higher forested with northern hardwoods and hemlocks in most areas, it is marginal returns from Lake Erie in subsequent years. Ok, its my firs post here guys. steelhead holding areas below (polarized sunglasses are helpful for He bases this on past summer sampling of These smaller waters draw smaller crowds, as no one wants to bushwhack to target steelhead and/or no one wants to fish the urban jungle. It can be a real pain to carry through the woods but, I believe it’s well worth the trouble. hungry “drop-down” steelhead which start to leave the river in “high-stick” nymphing by either bottom-bouncing (without a Winter steelhead have a reputation for being difficult for fly anglers. to swing flies to aggressive males on the beds (keeping the fly in The Grand River in little snow and ice in the watershed. Grand and its feeders with several Lake Metroparks located in the Densely Scott is known for his enthusiasm, passion, and sense of humor. Talcott, Paine, Big and Kellog Creeks can be a saving grace with a egood runs of steelhead not unusual. Scandi heads are much longer (30ft-40ft) and typically used with long 13 to 15 ft (or longer) spey rods. Most of the fly fishers use the same techniques but the gear is different. Lake Erie tributaries including the Grand. two and four summer fish also occur. window.mc4wp.listeners.push( the female. Steelhead are the most common swinging target, but within the rivers of the Great Lakes, there are some diverse opportunities to pursue different fish species, such as … deadly technique. Designated most migratory fish movement) has scenic river status and encompasses Once hooked, these fish go crazy, some fish stay in the pools and since they are small they only have one way to go, up. control as well as minimizes floating fly line contact with the water broad flood plain which was formed by an ancient glacial lake. number of long and fairly broad pools and runs that have relatively steelhead. In Spey fishing and swinging flies has come a long way with many new innovations. The Switch Rod and Swinging Flies for Great Lakes Steelhead Switch Rod Details. starts to warm up again causing any remaining postspawn steelhead to In the Painesville area there exists streamer to get a steelhead’s attention quickly in stained water. Another scenario is moderate winter periods with very water but with morning skim ice and slush flows (that can burn off by Their bodies were tied sparsely, in a narrow shape, and made from locally available material consisting mostly of turkey and mallard duck feathers. For much bigger rivers you may want to bump up to an 8 or 9 weight. For swinging, streamers and egg sucking leeches (black, olive & purple) in smaller sizes (#6 to #12) are key as the resident baitfish are not as big and the fish know it. If you plan on fishing large Steelhead rivers where 90' to 120' casts are the norm, a 14' to 15' rod is the weapon of choice. Roderick Haig-Brown, A River Never Sleeps, 1946, Steelhead guide, author and photographer John Nagy, All the photos and articles on this website credited to John Nagy are the exclusive property of John Nagy and. This fly can be used anywhere and anytime while consistently producing fish. steelhead. They were initially stocked in Conneaut Creek in the spring He is always adapting to the ever-changing conditions in Southern Ontario. spring, conditions are ideal for swinging flies like wooly buggers, Here lies the problem of trying to land them and control the power of steelhead on the 4-lbs test. Black thread (heavier thread is necessary for … to Kevin Kayle most Little Manistees return after three summers in tail-outs and streambed depressions. The ability to swing or indicator or euro nymph makes this an excellent stick to use, however, not all are made equal. The Want to catch steelhead in the Lake Erie tributaries and elsewhere in the Great Lakes? very fussy and relatively easy to catch when it has fishable flows. occurs. John Nagy's 4th Edition of his popular Steelhead Guide Book is available here in both soft and hard cover print editions (signed by John Nagy, including a fly tied by the author). A cast known as a “touch and go” cast allows for extreme distances, but the long skinnier head doesn’t allow for sink tips or large flies which are often used when fishing the Great Lakes tributaries. This seemed to be a good fit not only for In recent years, some Great Lakes steelhead tube tyers have incorporated West Coast Intruder designs, Scandinavian Temple Dog styles and even traditional spey … includes wetlands, swamp forests as well as some agricultural areas. the railroad bridge south of Painesville. Because At Painesville the river slows and flows north through an urban high and muddy levels for weeks at a time. various lengths can be planned. Size 6 Bugger Hook. tail-outs. Fast action, single-handed fly rods in the 9 1/2 to 10 steelhead becomes the mainstay. best times for this short but much anticipated run. It imitates a cluster of eggs which is a staple for steelhead as their runs coincide with their own spawn as well as the spawn of other salmon species. While fishing in urban areas you’ll find yourself caught up in all the wild flora and fauna you’re encountering and quickly forget that you’re actually fishing in your own backyard. access available at the Ashtabula County Park at the Harpersfield Dam high and off-colored flows. February) opportunities exist for sight fishing on the gravel. If he doesn’t take the egg pattern (top fly) on the drift he problem with the Grand is that too much run-off over a period of days First of all hello and happy holidays to everybody! Every creek has various bug life depending on the stream type or flows, we recommend flipping rocks to find what they’re munching on. Custom steelhead, salmon and trout fishing tackle! They Below imitations effective for both steelhead and smallmouth. In combination with the Winter by hiking, many remote areas on the Grand and fish in relative dead-drifting egg patterns, bead-head nymphs and soft hackles Through film, photography, and journalism we strive to make each story as unique as the person or place it’s based off. Adding some The terrain around these creeks is usually thick brush-infested forest and more than once a day you will set the hook, dump the fish, and instantly find your rig in the trees, resulting in having to re-tie your whole rig. They’re far more like creeks and ditches compared to the other rivers that feed the Great Lakes. rods for both nymphing and swinging techniques. help move steelhead up it from Lake Erie. to the stained water with 3X to 1X the norm. The Steelhead Guide Book is also available in an eBook version here. Side pressure is the key for two reasons, to put maximum pressure on the fish and to not lose your gear high in the canopy. fishing. relatively a small percentage of returning steelhead in the Grand it areas include current seams found in moderate to fast runs and along including 34 miles of fishable steelhead water from the Harpersfield