Serving  all of "Steelhead Alley" in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York     Turkey Creek Oh, Conneaut Creek Oh, Grand River Oh, Chagrin River Oh,  Rocky River Oh,  Vermillion River Oh,  Twenty mile Creek Pa,  16 mile Creek Pa,  12 Mile Creek Pa,  7 Miile Creek  Pa,  Walnut Creek Pa,  Elk Creek Pa,  Crooked Creek Pa,  Racoon Creek Pa,   Cattaraugus Creek NY,   Zoar Valley south branch,  Clear Creek NY,   Canadaway Creek NY,  Silver Creek NY,  Chataqua Creek NY,                      WE GO WHERE THE FISH ARE.......................á

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Western New York's Cattaraugus Creek
The Crown Jewel of "steelhead Alley"
By:  Don Dfishinfool Mathews
 
It seems as time stands still in Western N.Y.  Not much has changed since I was first introduced to the "Catt" in 1982. It is still the premiere destination of serious anglers to fish for the magnificent steelhead. Over time it has been dubbed the Crown Jewel of "Steelhead Alley". I suspect the unmolested beautiful scenery and relatively light crowds have earned her this title. The fishable water of the "Catt" starts below the Springville dam. This dam stops all steelhead migration. Its upper reaches above the dam are very turbulent quick flowing water. A nice trout fishery exists above the Dam. The Catt is a very long river that drains the Appalachian mountains in New York .  It takes a long time to clear after a high water event.  Some years there are few fishable days on the Catt.  It needs to be flowing 600 CFM or below for me to consider fishing there.
 
 Just above the town of Gowanda the Catt flows through one of the most beautiful places on earth, the Zoar valley. This wild and scenic area  is home to a huge heard of deer and it is a rare day that you hike its banks  without encountering deer and wild turkeys along the way. Long walks and rugged terrain should be expected.  It is one of the few places where one can escape the huge weekend crowds that "Steelhead Alley" is so famous for.
   In the Zoar valley the Catt flows through a area of massive high wall cliffs. This area contains the highest cliffs of any lake Erie Tributary. It is very scenic but due to the shale bottoms most fish quickly run through this section searching for prime spawning gravel below Springville. There are some good holding pools in this section but be prepared to hike. THe South Branch joins the main river in the Zoar Valley.  The South Branch can be a very good place to fish at times.  Downstream from Gowanda the Catt flows through the Seneca Indian Reservation. It shores are undisturbed and seldom can you see any sign of development from her banks. I often wonder how similar of view the Native Americans must have had hundreds of years ago as they fished her magical waters.  
The Seneca reservation is a real fish factory. The stream bed is very wide through most of the reservation. It contains many deep holding spots for the steelhead. Between these deep holes It contains many areas of gravel bottoms that the steelhead find to be excellent spawning habitat.  It is for this reason that the Catt has the best wild reproduction rates on the south side of lake Erie.  It also has a small population of wild Chinook and Coho Salmon.
It is estimated that about 30% of the steelhead on the Catt are wild or native fish. For these wild fish to survive they must have something to eat. Again the Catt fits the bill. It is a virtual bug factory. Turn over almost any rock in the river and a variety of nymphs will scurry away. The steelhead of the Catt gobble these abundant nymphs up like candy.  A well presented stonefly nymph on the fly rod is hard to beat and is sure to bring explosive excitement.
 Time and time again I have had clients ask me why these fish of the Catt seem to fight so much harder. I suspect the reason for the toughness of these fish is their genetic background and the high numbers of wild fish present. New York stocks fish raised in their Salmon River facility in Pulaski. This very hardy Lake Ontario strain of steelhead have adapted well to the rich waters of the Catt and Lake Erie.
  Fishing the Catt can be very intimidating. It is big water. Sight fishing opportunities are rare. Numbers of fish are much lower than the Pennsylvania tribs. I find a much greater sense of satisfaction bringing one of these beauties from the Catt to the net. This is the essence of steelhead fishing and I find it very rewarding. This big water of the Catt lends itself well to a variety of fishing methods that don't work as well on the other Erie Tribs.  It is a great place to use the Spey Rod or the Center-pinn float rod. Both of these methods can be very effective when applied on the Catt.
   Myself and my staff of guides have met the very strict requirements are fully licensed by the state of New York as fishing guides.  We book a select number of trips to the Catt in the productive fall months of Oct. and November only. We feel we can offer clients the best trip possible to the Catt. Often our trips start with a exciting ride in our 4WD trucks to the riverbanks. Once at the river we can hike for literally miles in either direction. After a morning workout with the steelies we retreat back to the truck where a cooler of cold beverages and a comfortable lawn chair await. After lunch I'll break out one of the Amish cooked pies that have made me so famous! Laughing!
It is a great setting to shore up a business deal or just to renew ties with old friends. We have done several very successful corporate trips to the Catt. My staff of licensed guides can handle any number of anglers from two-twelve. I recommend a two day trip for those who can get away.
Lets go fishin!!  Don

We fish the Catt in October and November only.  Due to runoff from snow melt in the mountains it is seldom fishable in the spring months

Let's Go Fishin..!!



Save Time and buy your fishing license online.  Please check with your guide on what state you will be fishing.

\OHIO LICENSE

\PA ONLINE LICENSE

\NY FISH LICENSE

 

NEW YORK TRIPS

In addition to our guided Ohio and Pennsylvania trips we offer a select number of trips each Fall to Western, NY and the Cattaraugus Creek. Steel headers often refer to the Catt as the "Crown Jewel" of our Great Lakes tributaries. We fish the Catt during the month of October. It is a beautiful stream and the early fall fishing is great. Give me a call and we will discuss a trip to the Catt. Don Mathews NY License #4348

We also have a presentation "Finding Fish on Steelhead Alley" available to put on at your seminar, event, or club meeting. We have assembled a awesome slide show and have all of our own equipment. We offer this presentation at a very minimal cost, and your audience will learn from it. So Please contact us....

Many lodging options exist along "Steelhead Alley" and Interstate I-90.  Here are a few lodging options located near to the streams that we fish.

LOCAL LODGING
Comfort Inn Elyria Ohio;  440-324-7676
EconoLodge Elyria Ohio; 440-324-3911
Howard Johnson's Geneva Ohio Exit#218; 440-466-1168
State Park Lodge Geneva Ohio Exit #218; 866-806-8066
Hampton Inn Ashtabula Ohio Exit #223; Call   440-275-2000
Comfort Inn Ashtabula Ohio Exit #223; Call   440-275-2711
Days Inn Conneaut Ohio Exit #241440-593-1226
Best Western Erie Pa exit#18 814-838-7646

Clarion Inn Erie Pa Exit#18 814-833-1116

Comfort Inn Dunkirk NY Exit#59 716-672-4450

White Inn Fredonia NY Exit#59 716-672-2103

Best Western Dunkirk NY Exit#59 716-366-7100

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