Winter in Steelhead Alley

Posted on January 15, 2012


If you haven’ t been fishing for Steelhead on the tributaries of Lake Erie then I highly recommend planning a trip to the world’s greatest fishery before April and the steelies head back to the deeper water of the big lake. In my opinion, nothing matches the satisfaction of landing your first big chromer with a couple of inches of snow on the ground. One good day Steelhead fishing will send you back to “Steelhead Alley” whenever you can find a free moment to get away from the hustle and bustle of everday life.

Doug Surra of TSO shows off one of his many 2011 Steelies. Editors note: It is a good thing that Doug has an older brother that allows him to borrow a rod, reel, tippet, minnow bucket, and hooks 🙂

Your setups for Steelhead will be determined by the water depth, temperature and clarity, as well as wind, precipitation, snow/ice accumulation, and air temperature.  Most of my days fishing for steelies are done with a 9 1/2 ft 4 piece 7 weight fly rod with a mini fight butt and a Browning open face reel. I usually garner my steelhead rod with 8lbs Trilene XL low vis green, 4lbs fluorocarbon tippet, very small hooks (no larger than 12 and as small as 20), and a single egg. Depending on the water clarity you can use larger and heavier equipment in higher muddier water. Many anglers find success with flies, jigs, minnows, and maggots to name a few. A quick google search for “Steelhead Alley” or “Erie Steelhead” will reveal an infinite supply of information for you to digest before making the trip to the banks of the Lake Erie tributaries.

Andy Surra, TSO Editor, sets the hook while fishing for steelhead on 20 Mile run in North East, PA Erie County.

 If you are planning a Steelhead run of your own be sure to grab local intel at bait shops like Poor Richard’s Bait and Tackle Shop at 6821 West Lake Road in Fairview, PA . The staff at Poor Richard’s will outfit you with the most accurate information from the stream including weather conditions, water height and color, and they will even set you up with bait and tackle that was recently successful for other anglers. I highly recommend that you stop over Poor Richard’s before heading to the stream, especially if you are an out-of-town fisherman.
Winter in “Steelhead Alley” is a must for any serious Pennsylvania fisherman. Readers can expect more posts on Steelhead and fishing for Steelhead in Pennsylvania.
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