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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Steelhead School Presents

Fall steelhead in Erie's Tribs

By: Don Dfishinfool Mathews

Septembers cool rains start to trigger the biological clocks of the thousands of steelhead stacked up at the mouths of our rivers. When water temperature drops and the river levels rise, these waiting fish come in in waves." The Mutts Come Home" Steelhead fresh from Lake Erie have a major attitude and often push both angler and equipment to the max.

Thanks to the wise people at the New York and Pennsylvania fish and game commission's for creating this fall steelhead fishery. They have undertaken a breeding program for these fall run fish. They start by selective egg gathering from fall run Lake Erie fish. They collect the eggs from adult fish that have migrated up a Nursery water stream.  In effect they have created their own strain of steelhead. Being opportunistic feeders these fish are becoming very well adapted to the Lake Erie ecosystem and is vast array of forage fish. We have come to know these fish fondly as "Pennsylvania Mutts". Return rates of these hardy fish have been almost unbelievable. They are considered by many to be the ultimate steelhead. They run in the fall and winter in the river. Offering many days of fishing opportunity.

Ohio's steelhead stocking efforts have concentrated on the Manistee strain fish from Michigan. These big hard fighting fish run in the spring. The exception is Conneaut Creek in far eastern Ohio.  The upper sections of the Connie are in Pennsylvania.  It is a long river and I have caught fish over 60 miles from the lake.  This unique stream gets stocked by both Ohio and Pennsylvania. So it receives equal numbers of Fall and Spring run fish. It is a terrific fishery from September thru May.

Steelhead tend to be much more active in the warm fall water and this is when we get most of our big number days. They also respond very well to the fly rod and you might even persuade one to take a dry. Brilliant fall landscapes and clean air can invigorate the soul. This time of year I often prefer to walk a lot, always seeking new fish in the next lie. It's a great time of year to learn the rivers.  Without heavy clothing or numb fingers, its also a great time of year to learn to fly-fish.

This is a true world class fishery and the secret is out. Crowds are common during the pleasant weather of our fall months. Fish are concentrated and it is often hard to find solitude. For those willing to share the moment with others the rewards can be fantastic. In the fall months I prefer to get a very early start and want to be standing on the river at daylight.

Pennsylvania's tributaries are often plagued with low water conditions during the fall months. This is when its time to load up and head east to Western NY's Cattaraugus creek. It is located one hour east of Erie Pa. It has some breathtaking scenery and is home to the highest cliffs on Steelhead alley. It is big water and many find it intimidating. I love to fish it because it is relatively un-crowded and offers lots of opportunity to spey fish as well as swing sink tips. The fish are big and mean and the battles are long. You will see your backing on the Catt.

In the fall you will need to dress in light layers that can be shed as the temperature rises. A pack able rain Jacket may be necessary. Long walks are common so it is best to be able shed some clothes while walking. Breathable waders are the perfect choice for fall fishing on steelhead alley. Stream bottoms are slick from algae.  I suggest felt or studded soles on your boots.

As with all of our guide trips everything will be provided for you. You will use a high quality rod and reel. I am an Orvis Pro Guide. I use their rods as well as rods by Scott. I use custom 13'6" float rods built by master rod maker John DiMartino for the Centerpin enthusiast. You have the option of Spey, Traditional fly, Centerpin float , or Spin fishing.  I will provide you with hand knotted fluorocarbon leaders and tippets and hand tied flies of my own patterns. If you prefer to bait fish I will have perfectly cured king Salmon eggs and fresh hand tied spawn sacks from local steelhead hens. I will also provide minnows and various other baits.

I will provide you with instruction on reading the water, casting, knot tying, and fly selection. I will serve you a streamside lunch and provide hot and cold beverages.

I work hard to assure that you will be fishing the best available water that steelhead alley has to offer the day of your trip. This makes it hard to forecast in advance exactly what stream we will be fishing. I will call you two days before your trip and set up a meeting place and time. As I will know by then where we will be fishing.

Some people call and want to fish a certain stream on their trip. I will do this but they must understand the steelhead is a migratory fish that enters and leaves the streams in surges or runs. These runs are dependent on water levels, fish species , temperatures and a host of other reasons. By selecting from all the streams of steelhead alley I am assured to be able to put you in front of a good number of fish and teach you how to catch them. With this knowledge you will be able to catch fish on any of the streams of steelhead alley.

I am so sure of my ability to put you into fish that I offer the " you catch fish or you fish free policy" on all of my trips.

 Lets Go Fishin..!!

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






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.

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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