Steelhead Fishing Reports
From "Steelhead Alley"
Ohio fishing reports and Pennsylvania fishing reports
compliments of licensed professional Steelhead fishing guide, Don Mathews and the
team of guides at
What a day for late December. With the water on
the drop we fished an un-stocked Ohio trib today. No
huge numbers but a good day on the stream with some nice
fish brought to the net. I fished with George today and
he was a pleasure to fish with. It never got much above
freezing but the water temp was 36* so line icing
wasn't too big of a problem. Travis fished with a
couple of buddies and they did well, making easy double
digits. Dick was out too but I never did hear how
they finished up. Stream was crowded today.
I think a lot of people are off work for the holiday.
Now for the bad news. They are calling for a high
of 29* tomorrow and 4 inches of snow. It might be
slush city in the morning. I decided to cancel my trip
for tomorrow. The slush is s a tough call after all the
water is 36*. Either way sounds like the roads
will be bad, so be careful if you venture out.
Forget about the Grand and Vermillion, there still too
high. Conneaut, Chagrin, Rocky, and all of
the PA tribs will be at a good level to fish. Will they
be slushy? Wish I had a crystal ball. Guess
I'll just have to go anyhow. Good Fishin..!! Don
What a wacky
weather week..!! On Monday morning when I woke up
they were calling for 45* on Tuesday with 42* and mostly
sunny on Wednesday. I sent out some e-mails and booked
trips for Tuesday and Wednesday. By 4:00 Monday
afternoon they had changed the forecast to a high of 29*
with a snow storm on Wednesday. That's Ohio
Ohio Steelhead Fishing Report 10:38 AM We were without a
guide trip today. So we headed out in different
directions. I headed west and got chased off the
water this morning when the stream became un-fishable at
9:00. I choose a small Ohio feeder stream and the
water was on the rise big time. Managed two on
bait before it became unfishable. Talked to Clyde
at Folly's End Fly shop
and just as I expected Elk Creek
is blown out today as well. I just got off the phone with Greg L
and he is fishing a little larger un-stocked East Side
Ohio stream this morning. He landed four on bait
with the Center Pinn and he's still out. He said the
water is on the rise and visibility is less than a foot. So
conditions are less than prime.
Travis hasn't checked in yet but I'm sure he will not
have any good news for the short term either. All of the
streams will be un-fishable by this afternoon and it
isn't looking good for tomorrow. I rescheduled my trip.
Weather is shaping up for next week and we have guides
available every day. Lets Go Fishin..!! Don
I'm going to
be talking Steelhead With Dan Armitage on his
Sportsman" radio show, this Saturday Morning.
Our local station is AM 570. To see what radio
station it plays on in your area
Steven shows off a big Elk Creek Pa steelhead
Steelhead Fishing report Fished Elk creek
Pennsylvania with Bob and sons, Mike and Steven.
We found the creek in near perfect water conditions
today. A little bit of rod icing in the morning
but no slush or side ice and about 30 inches of
visibility. It was Mike and Stevens first day of fly
fishing and they both caught fish. Crowds were
surprisingly light today. We had our best success
with Chartreuse Glo Spawn but we mixed it up changing
flies often. We had hoped to fish Ohio today
but the streams were still too high. Before
daylight this morning I looked at several Skinny water
locations and Conneaut Creek, and they were all too high
to fly fish. Greg was out with his center-pin and
he did well on a couple of Skinny water streams in Ohio
with bait. We didn't get much rain today and my guess is
that Pa and the smaller Ohio streams will fish tomorrow.
Forget about the Grand and Conneaut and the -V-
tomorrow. Chagrin and Rocky are questionable.
Watch the weather and stream flows. We will be out
tomorrow and I'll post a report when we get off the
water. Good Fishin..!! Don
Mike left the warmth of Los Angeles California for the
cold of Pennsylvania. Here he shows off a fat Elk Creek
hen caught on the fly.
this out I have assembled all of my past
reports from 2001 until present on one easy page
a hoot going thru the old reports and pictures.
There is a wealth of info to be had. 890 pictures
and over 50 individual web pages. So go ahead and
take a blast thru the past on steelhead alley. I
am also adding past steelheading articles I have had
One for the smoker
Today is truly a day to give thanks. Myself, my
wife Erma and daughter Ashley would like to wish
everyone a MERRY CHRISTMAS and Thank You for your
continued support. . I'll spend the day with
family today. Most of the streams will be too high
to fish for the next couple of days. Real skinny
water should fish Friday but with more rain in the
forecast things could change quickly. I haven't been out
for a few days. Travis said you could walk across lower
Conneaut on Tuesday. Upper Grand near my house is
roaring. At least a week away before she will
fish. At least the high water will wash out all of the
ice and prolong the season. If streams come down
to a fishable level the fishing should be great.
God Bless..!! Don
It's been bitter cold here in North Eastern Ohio.
Wind Chill was -25 on Sunday night and it was 4* last
night. I haven't been out fishing since Saturday.
The USGS flow gauges are froze up and shouldn't be
trusted. The streams have ice along the sides
and slushing. Trout is out today but I haven't talked
to him to see how they are doing. Just talked to
Uncle Goober and the Chagrin has some open water but
much of it is frozen over. It is supposed to warm up and
the weekend may fish great if the rain doesn't blow the
streams out. Its a tough call right now.
Some high water would be nice because it will get rid of
the side ice. There are good numbers of fish in
all of the streams it just a mater of getting to them.
I'll post more when I know more. We have guides
available every day. So if your into some winter
steelheading give me a call. Merry Christmas..!!
battled the cold and slush for this winter steelhead
Steelhead Alley fishing Report At 4:00 a.m. I
walked out on the back deck. It was about 30* on
the thermometer and it hadn't rained a drop. I went back
to bed with a sense of relief. We were worried that rain
would flood the streams out in the morning. We
knew they would more than likely blow out later in the
day but we had done so well yesterday we had high hopes
for the morning. I warned my guests that it was
going to rain all day and the streams would probably
blow out in the afternoon. They had winter steelhead
fished on the Salmon River and they assured me they were
up to the conditions.
Here is Lee and myself are with his big Ohio Steelhead
daylight now and I'm crawling my way twords the lake.
Every mile closer I get the more snow that is on the
road. A honest 5-6 inches had already fell in
places and to make maters worse it was a wet slushy icey
snow that was making the roads terrible. My high
expectations were crushed when I finally see the stream.
Slush city huge snow slush bergs coming down the river
making it unfishable. So I limp back to Burger King
where the guys are having breakfast. When I
deliver the bad news the guys aren't shaken they still
want to fish. I didn't want to waste their
valuable stream time standing in the slush. That
would be foolish and a rookie guide move today.
Knowing the Grand at 900CFM and 33.6* will not be slushy
we head over to fish her high. We found the stream
completely slush free and we didn't even get icing on
our rod tips. There was one other guy in the
parking lot and he didn't stay long. So we had the place
to ourselves. There wasn't even prints in the snow
as we walked downstream. We had perfect conditions to
put on some big buggers and have a blast. I'm kicking
myself n the ass for not hooking up the drift bat this
Ken gets it started with this Grand River Manistee hen
take but a couple of minutes before Ken is hooked up. We
end up having a great day on the stream and everybody
catches fish. Lee catches a impressive buck (a
personal best) that he decides to get mounted. It
was a beautiful full color male that was 28 inchs long
but weighed an impressive 10 lbs 5 oz. I carefully
packed it up so master taxidermist Bill Rusinko can work
his art on him. It didn't take long to
figure out wooley buggers and Crystal minnows were hot.
Never got any on nymphs in the stained water but we did
hit a couple on Chartreuse Glo Spawns. My guests
had a long drive and were concerned about the weather,
so they called it a day early. With perfect stream
conditions and no one around I grabbed my spey rod and
hit the water for about an hour. I tied on a big
chartreuse bunny zonker and ran one of my handmade 15'
T-11 tungsten tips in the strong flow. I
found a good pod and had eight on the swing before I
called it a day. I had one huge male that went 32" but
unfortunately the camera batteries were dead from the
busy last couple of days. I kneeled there looking
at the fish reflecting on the moment and thinking about
the spot I was fishing and the memories made there.
Like time stood still " The Rock" remained unchanged
since the first time I saw it over thirty years ago.
What a day on LaCherage. Feeders to the Grand are
blowing chocolate milk and I doubt that she will fish
tomorrow. Looks like we hit that rare window of
These guys laugh at brutal winter conditions
hear from Travis AKA Trout all day and he wasn't at the
Grand So I figured he found somewhere to fish. He
opted to rough it out on the very slushy Conneaut. Water
temp there was 32.7* and he reports you could fish
around the slush some what. He started on Skinny
water but found it unfishable. He reports it took
awhile but it eventually Conneaut burned off in the
afternoon. He only had one guest today and they ended up double digits in the net for
their efforts today. He said Connie was a little lower today than it was yesterday They left at 4:00 this afternoon
and the stream was perfect but
that's going to change tonight. He agreed with me
that it will probably blow out by morning. There
is still 3-6 inches of frozen ice snow on the ground in
most places in NE Ohio. Talked to Greg L AKA Uncle
Goober in the afternoon and he
reports that the rocky and Chagrin were flowing dirty so
probably blow out as well. With the forecasted low
temps for early next week it ain't lookin good. We will
be on the stream tomorrow ditch jumping and I'll post a
report when we get in. Good Fishin..!! Don
A hard earned winter steelhead from Conneaut Creek Ohio
caught fishin with Trout
Novak Helped Caylee land this Ohio Steelhead on her
first day of fly fishing.. Awesome job guys..!!!
Brothers are excellent fly fishers and Jeff showed them
where to find these big Ohio steelhead
You can tell
by the flash that it didn't take long for Jeff to put
the above two fish in his net on a un-stocked Ohio
Ohio and Pennsylvania steelhead fishing report
My guest from Indiana decided to cancel today because of
the forecasted low temps. I can't say that I blame him.
It's been cold..!! So I finally got a day to just
go fishin..!! I met up with Trout this morning and
we headed to the stream. It turned out to be much
warmer than forecasted. We had no problems with
slush, side ice or rod icing today. Our plan was to do some
scouting, covering as many spots as possible.
First stop was Conneaut in Ohio. We were
pleasantly surprised to find her a tad high but very
fishable. We didn't even wet a line we got back in the
truck and headed for Elk Creek. First stop was the
very upper river. Bingo fish on. We stayed at hat
access for only 35 minutes but it was long enough to
land three of the four we had on. Not wanting to spend
to much time in one spot we loaded up and headed to the
middle river. Bingo again..!! This time we
stayed about a hour and a half and we landed seven more
before loading up again. Next access was another
middle river spot but we didn't even drive down the hill
because the road was a sheet of ice. So we scratched
that stop. Next we stopped at Follies End Fly Shop
and spent a little while shooting the breeze with Jim
and as pleasant as his company was we were out fishin
today. So we loaded back up and headed to upper Conneaut
on the Pa side. After securing permission from the
landowner we hit the water. BUT we were more than
surprised to find upper Connie flowing high and much
dirtier than the lower river. We didn't waste much time
a this stop. Greg L calls just about then. He is
just getting on the water on the upper Chagrin. He
reports the stream is in nice shape and the crowds are
very slim. Same goes for Elk Creek. Not many
people out fishing today. Feeling it was too late to
drive to the Chagrin we decide to hit lower Conneaut in
Ohio. Bingo..!! We found the river in nice
shape and full of chromers. We ended up having some reel
screaming fights before we had to call it a day.
All in all a terrific day of winter steelheading on the
alley. They are calling for freezing rain and snow
tonight and tomorrow. It may flood them out again for
this weekend. Its a tough call. I'm guiding
tomorrow and I'll post a report when I get in..
Good Fishin..!! Don
Mike and Jordan on a winter Steelhead alley double
We have decided to do some trips for Summer
Run Skamania steelhead in Late August and Early
September. We will be headquartered in Niles
Michigan about 30 minutes north of South Bend. The
fish run huge and 12-15 lb class fish are common. They
fight like bulls on steroids. We can Spin or Fly
fish and most trips will use the drift boat. We are
putting together a two day package that includes
streamside lodging in one of our 10 by 20 wall tents.
There are also several nice hotels nearby for the less
we will be offering fly fishing trips for Striper-White
Bass Hybrids known as Whippers in a local tail water. The action is
unbelievable and they can get to 10 lbs. The fish are savage and attack flies
like a pack of Piranhas. Give me or Travis a call
for more info.
forget the terrific summer hatches in Pennsylvania..!!
Trout shows off a fat Conneaut Creek Ohio steelhead
caught fly fishing
Steelhead Alley fishing report Trout
spent the last two days ditch hopping on Ohio Skinny
water and he has been hitting a few. He got a hog
yesterday in a ditch just feet from the lake. I'll put
up a pic as soon as he sends it to me. Trout
reports some of the smallest of tribs have received a
huge run of fish, but the word is out. One very
tiny trib had thirty cars in the parking lot today.
Almost everybody there were locals. Word travels fast. Most of the
larger streams were to high the last couple of days.
Chagrin and Rocky will fish tomorrow but Grand and
Conneaut are still to high. The Pa streams all
should fish tomorrow as well. Forecasted high is
32* so fishing may be tough. More rain-snow is
forecasted for Thursday night. Hard to tell what
the weekend will bring. We have guides available
every day if your up to the cold. We will be
out on the water tomorrow and I'll post a report when I
get in. Good Fishin..!! Don
Travis with a big Ohio Skinny water steelie
Mike shows off a Ohio Steelhead Guide Jeff Novak put him
Ohio Steelhead Fishing Report The
temperature rose all night long and it was a nice
morning. I had Doug and his son Josh up from Knox
County for their first steelheading experience. With the
larger streams still too high we opted to fish a small
un-stocked Ohio stream. We started early so we
would be sure to slip into Trout's new found honey hole
from yesterday. Our plan was to start with spinning gear
and have a fly casting lesson in the afternoon. It
didn't take two minutes for Doug to get into his first
steelhead. It took Josh a few minutes longer than
dad but his first steelie was a 27" fat chrome Manistee
hen. Jeff was about a mile down stream from us with a 13
yr old girl and her father who is a veteran steelheader
and graduate of our
Steelhead School. He though hiring a guide would be
the way to introduce his daughter to the sport of fly
fishing. I called Jeff at 9:00 and they had both
already landed a couple. I saw her casting near
the end of the day and she could show up quite a few of
my guests with her newly learned casting abilities. Greg
L also was working the same area of river with us. He
was hitting them with the Center-pinn as well.
Heck everybody I saw was catching fish today. We had a
great morning and everybody caught multiple fish. No
huge numbers but man did we get some bruisers today.
We got one big male that had to go 12 lbs. Flies
and eggs both produced well. I brought shinners
and couldn't buy a fish on them. Go figure? Now for the
bad news. It rained all afternoon. Stream was
still in good shape when we left but the water falls
were pouring chocolate. Dick and myself opted to
re-schedule our Monday trips. I'll post a report
tomorrow. I have a bunch of recent pictures from Travis,
Jeff and Dick to sort thru and I'll get some of them put
up here soon. Good Luck..!! Don
Josh with his first steelhead
Hows that for a Bruiser Ohio Steelhead
Doug with a thick Ohio buck steelhead
Jeff at the net with first time fly fisher
No were not
night fishing here. Guide Jeff Novak netted this
fish early in the day
Ohio Steelhead came just after Dads fish above
Steelhead Alley Fishing Report Today was one of
those days you wish you would have never got out of bed.
We had nine guests from the Bluegrass Trout Unlimited
club in Kentucky up for their annual steelhead trip.
This is their fourth or fifth club outing with us.
Almost every time they come up we are faced with
terrible weather conditions. Spring or Fall it doesn't
mater. If there coming look for a blizzard to blow
in when they arrive. This trip was no different. Luckily
they knew what to expect and were well prepared for the
weather. The past two days they braved the
elements and pounded the fish in Pa. BUT today we
wanted to show them some buckeye steelheading. So we
headed to a small un-stocked Ohio stream to start the
day. All of them are experienced fly fishers and
we don't even bring the spinning gear. With nine anglers
on such a small stream we opted to get there very early
to get everybody into good spots. It was bitter
cold this morning, much colder than they were calling
for. We arrived to a river full of slush.
The guys were troopers and gave it 100% but it was just
plain unfishable. At 10:30 the air temp was 19* and the
stream was at 31.5* with slush on top and on the bottom
of the stream. Travis had a couple of bait fishermen out
upstream from us and they were the only ones to actually
land a fish all morning. So we headed back to the Days
Inn for the warmth while we ate our lunch. While the
guys ate I worked the cell phone desperately looking for
somewhere to fish. Greg L was out on
Conneaut and he reported decent visibility and no
slush but too much flow even for his center-pinn. Clyde
over at Follies end saved the day!! He gave
me a 12:00 report that the slush was burning off the Elk
and she was starting to fish. So we loaded up and headed
east. The move paid off and we found a slush free stream
full of hungry fish and unbelievably light crowds. The
menu was #14 Golden Nuggets and #14 Yellow Sally's.
The fish ignored the eggs and streamers we tried.
Everybody landed multiple fish and we stayed on the
water until dark. Travis might have been the
smartest one of the group. He stuck it out in Ohio
and the slush finally burned off about 2:30. That
was all the window he needed. They ended up putting an
amazing 20-25 fish in the net before dark..!!!!!
Tomorrow should be a much better day. Some of the larger
streams will fish and I don't think slush will be a
problem, but this is Ohio. Good Fishin..!!
Anna with a huge Elk Creek warrior
Steelhead Fishing Report High water has most
steelheaders frustrated. All of the larger streams
are too high to fish. Some of the smaller streams
in Pa and Ohio are starting to fish. Walnut and Elk
Creek in Pa fished very good today. Crowds were slim for
Pennsylvania and slush wasn't a problem until afternoon.
Most of the fish are holdovers that have been there
awhile. Some of the hens are loose and dropping
eggs. Travis fished Ohio today and ended up
putting four in the net despite the high water. He
jumped around on grand River tribs and other skinny
water and reports that even the skinny water was dirty
though not all that high. Cold temps tonight could lead
to slushing in the morning. It's snowing pretty
hard here now. Watch the weather its a tough call.
Good Fishin..!! Don
Creek Pa steelhead on the fly
12-11-08 Gotta keep it short tonight cause I'm tired and
hungry..LOL... Most streams on Steelhead Alley are
still very high and unfishable. The smallest of
streams are fishing very- very good. There was a
lot of fish in twelve and sixteen mile streams in Pa
today BUT everything else was still high. Skinny
water will be best bet for tomorrow but its going to be
cold and snowing. They backed off the forecast and now
they are calling for 1-3 inches and 30* tomorrow. Be
careful on the roads. I'm predicting a great
weekend with warm temps and dropping water. I have
guides available all weekend. If you can go on
such short notice drop me a line and we will hook you
up. Good Fishin..!! Don
True winter steelheading paid off today
Streams are at flood level today. This is bad for
the short term but good for the long term. Its
warm outside 50* and there isn't much snow. water
temps will spike up 3 or 4 degrees from the steady 33*
they have been at. This will make the fish active and it
should bring more in. The streams are very high
and there is lot of water on the ground. It
will be a few days but they should start to fish by
Saturday or Sunday. The problem is they are calling for
cold front Friday with 4-6 inches of Lake effect snow
and a high of only 23*. This could bring back the
slush if night-time lows get into the teens. I'll
be out Friday and I'll post a report. Only sure
thing is there's fish in the creek and its cold outside.
True winter steelheading at its best.
hatch A Emerald Shiner next to my Olive Crystal Minnow
Got a little break in the weather today. I hooked
up with Travis and we headed out to Conneaut to do some
scouting. Dick was fishing today with John, so we
hit the same general area to start. We were
surprised to find no cars in the parking lot and no
tracks in the snow. River was a nice color and
flow with no slush. There is some side ice in
areas but it didn't make fishing difficult. We did
break the ice in a few areas to make landing the fish
easier. We did well and got some nice fish.
Did try bait and flies but the fish definitely seemed to
want the flies. They wanted it small so we used
#14 Steelhead Candy and #14 orange sucker spawn.
Travis had a huge one on for 25 minutes. We chased
it downstream about 1/4 mile. Since we were
scouting we didn't have a net. Side ice prevented
us from beaching it so I tried to tail the beast.
I couldn't get my hand around the huge tail and she
rolled on the line and busted off. I would guess her at
about 15 lbs. Travis just laughed it off but I felt
terrible. It rained all day and we were sitting in Beef
and Beer with Dick and John having lunch by noon. They
had double digit hookups as well. After lunch we headed
to upper river and it was a bit stronger flow from the
rain but still very fishable. Talked to a fellow
that fished Elk this morning and he said it was very
slushy with ice covering most of the holes. Greg said
Chagrin didn't look bad . Grand was still just a
tad high for me today But this rain is going to change
all of that, I think. I'm betting things are going to
blowout tomorrow. Good Fishin..!! Don
found this winter steelhead in Conneaut today
Didn't fish today because of severe slushing of the
streams. Things are going to start to freeze if it
doesn't warm up soon. Greg said even the Rocky was
slushy tonight. Only game in town in the warm water
discharges in the Lake. The shad are in thick and
fishing can be awesome if everything comes together.
When fishing the Lake shore fishing is usually best on
south winds when they are pumping hot water.
Talked to Travis and I figured he would finally have
taken a day off from the fishing. Believe it r not
he caught a couple of walleye today in a local stream.
He's a fishing fanatic and I'm glad he's part of our team
now.. Good Luck..!! Don
Travis AKA Trout had a die hard steelheader named
Chris out in Ohio yesterday. Man it was cold and slushy
but they braved the elements and prevailed. Chris
ended up putting 4 or 5 nice fish in the net with the
fly rod. I know how tough it can be fishing in
those conditions ( I cancelled my trip ) but Trout tells
me that Chris is a true fishing nut and he never
complained all day. When I talked to Trout last night he
said the slush isn't going to get better anytime soon.
Looks like it will be Tuesday before we see any temps
above freezing. I'll keep you posted. Good
Chris with a hard earned Ohio winter steelhead
wanted to send you and email and say thanks for
the first rate service. Travis was an AWESOME
guide. I'm sure you know but the weather was a
bit cold yesterday and the water was a little
slushy, but none the less Travis put me on
fish!!!!!! We ended up landing four in the net,
and given the conditions I couldn't ask for
more. Travis took one particular picture, it
was a close up and you can see the water
freezing on the fish, so it looks like it has an
ice beard. Travis thought you would like to see
it and since it was on my camera I'm attaching
it to this email. All in all I had a great time
and an experience I won't every forget. I'm
hoping to talk some of my friends from back home
(Texas) into join me for the spring run. Take
care and I hope to fish with your outfit again
Ice beard steelie Notice the slush in background
Quick update on Steelhead Alley River Conditions I
cancelled my trips fri-sun due to cold temps. Probably
could have fished but when it's this cold we always give
our guest the option of cancelling or rescheduling. My
wife was happy and I ended up putting up the Christmas
lights. Back to the fishing. Greg
just called me and repots the Rocky is slushy. He
fished the Lake front this morning and got a few. Grand
is flooded and Conneaut is also slushy. Travis
fished yesterday and ended up with eight. Not bad
considering the temperatures he was fly fishing in.
Believe it or not he's out there somewhere today.
Oh to be 24 again.. Since I haven't heard from him yet
he apparently found somewhere to fish. It's
snowing hard here now so things are only going to
get worse. I
wouldn't waste your time tomorrow (Sun) as I'm sure the
streams will be slushy. I'll keep you posted. To
all those who e-mailed me about shows THANK YOU..!! Good
Sons pictured above caught these brute winter Steelhead
I want you to
know that we really enjoyed the fishing trip last
weekend. It was an awesome experience and you are
a great fisherman. Thank you so much for
spending so much time with Adam, especially at the end.
You and your friends
are such wonderful people. I was totally impressed
by the comraderie of the
Steelhead fishing group. Adam spent all day Sunday
tying egg sacks. His plan
is to go fishing again next Sunday but the forecast is
cold and windy. I don't think
it will happen.
Thanks again for a wonderful trip. Adam said it
was the best fishing day of his
We cancelled our trips the past two days due to high
water. Water finally came down to a fishable level
today. Dick and Travis were out in Ohio today. Both
reported a decent day on the water with double digit
hookups on the fly. They fished skinny water and
the flow was up a bit but the water color was good. A
nice sunny day on the Alley and there was no slush in
the streams with very light angling pressure. Egg
patterns (sucker spawn) was the hot fly today.
Dick reports that Conneaut was still too high today but
it should fish tomorrow. Same goes for the Rocky and
Chagrin both will probably fish tomorrow although they
are still on the high side. Forget the Grand for awhile.
I'm chomping at the bit to float her as soon as she
comes down. I spent two hours tonight chopping ice out
of my drift boat with an axe..!! I forgot to pull
the plugs last time I had her out. The water got about
two feet high in the bottom before it froze. I got her in
the garage now thawing what I couldn't chop out. They are calling for a 17*
low Thursday night with a high of 24* on Friday.
Slush may be a problem on Friday. I'll post a
report when I get in tomorrow night. We have
guides available every day for the rest of the Winter.
If you can go on short notice, watch the weather and my
reports. Then give me a call when conditions are right.
I'm confident we can put you on the fish. I
guarantee it..!! Good Fishin..!! Don
Snow Covered steelhead
What's new at
Dfishinfool's Guide Service?? Fly's Fly's and more
Fly's. I just got a shipment of 265 dozen from our
new supplier in Maine. They are bad ass flies.
Some of the most well tied flies I have ever saw.
We sent them some of our most complex patterns.
They copied our ties exactly. Heck their flies were
better than the originals that I tied ..LOL..!! After a
month of using the USA made flies we haven't had a
single hook break and the fish love them. Watch the
fly shop as I add some of these new
patterns during the next couple of weeks. I'm also
going to rethink the deadly dozen. We also have added a
new local fly tier to our list of suppliers. She
is going to be helping out with some of our egg patterns
for now. Made in the USA flies cost more but I am
going to hold the price at $15 a dozen. We now have
about 10,000 flies in stock.
So getting an order out in time for Christmas shouldn't
be a problem
Steelheading in Ohio
Just wanted to drop you a line and thank you. I
ordered a ready to go fly box, leaders, and indicators
from your web site. You might remember me. I'm the
guy that never landed a steelhead in three trips to Elk
creek. Last week my luck changed thanks to your
flies. I took my two sons up to Elk creek. We had
close to fifty fish on and landed about half of them. We
were the envy of everyone around us. We had fish on
every one of your flies but the minnow is deadly.
We were the only ones catching fish in the mouth
everybody else was tail hooking them. My sons had a
blast but we used almost all of the flies. Could
you please send me three of your $50 fly boxes plus
three doz olive crystal minnows. I also need three
bags of the 5/8 indicators and three bags of leaders
(9). I put the check in today's mail. Could you please try to have it here before
x-mas as they will be gifts. Again thank you.
Siler winter hen on a sunny winter day
to thank the Good Folks at Redwing Tackle in Ajax,
Ontario for adding us to their Guide program. We are
huge fans of their fine line of floats and custom
fishing tackle. Especially the Phantom line of floats.
Now if we could just stop decorating the streamside
trees with them. Grinning..!
What a nice
We use Scott
Fly Rods. Ask me why? They are the best rods
money can buy in my book. They cast like a dream, are
made in the USA, and can take the daily abuse the Alley
puts on a rod without breaking. For your streamside
enjoyment we just ordered five of
the new 10' seven weight A-3's to add to our rod
Was it worth
the cold fingers? You bet it was..!!
February find us froze out from the streams most years.
I have been busy scheduling sport shows for those
months. If anybody out there knows of any good
sport-fishing shows in your area drop me a line.
We still have several open weekends I would like to fill
these weekends with shows. Not so much the big
mega shows. Were looking for the smaller shows
located in Oh, Pa, WV, KY, and Ind. We feel
the smaller shows are more personal. While I'm asking
for cyber-help. Do you know a individual who
would make a exceptional guide?? Are you that person?
Were looking for some help during the busier times. If
you think you got what it takes to guide with us give me
a call and lets talk. The fishing business has
been great.! It was one of our busiest Novembers
In closing I have many exciting plans for the coming
year. Watch us grow..!! Good Fishin..!!
beautifully colored buck Steelhead in Ohio
I headed west to the -V- this morning. I haven't
fished her much this fall but I heard a rumor about a
fresh run of fish. After a very long hike in the dark
(Sorry Rich) We found the stream to have a nice flow but
visibility could have been a little better. Crowds
were slim to none so we moved around a lot. Greg L also
started on the -V- this morning. Jeff and Kurt
headed out to the east side. Sorry but I can't
mention stream name they fished for obvious reasons but let me
tell you there are a bunch of fish to be had on some
sections of the streams. Jeff and Kurt smoked them
today. He called me at 8:30 and already had each
landed double digits on the fly. We didn't hit big
numbers out west but there are fish in the -V-
now. At this point of the game there are fishable
numbers in all of the lake Erie tribs. Best bet is
to chase the green water. It is a light rain here
now but they are calling for more tonight. So far
the streams haven't blown out but only time will tell.
I'll post a stream report tomorrow when I get off the
water. PLEASE use caution in the woods this week.
Both Ohio and Pennsylvania deer gun season opens
tomorrow. If your going into areas where there is
a chance of encountering hunters wear some blaze orange.
Be safe and have fun..!! Good Fishin..!! Don
Adam shows off a nice Ohio steelhead trout
I took my guests this morning back to the same area of
stream, I fished yesterday. Ohio skinny water. Travis
had three guests and he started about a half mile below
us. The stream had cleared up nicely and water color and
flow were perfect. We crushed them the first few
hours. Easy double digit hookups by 9:00 AM. Fish
were all chromers and full of fight. We had lots
of long line releases. Trout's group did good
below us too. Beautiful sunny day on the alley and when
the sun got directly overhead it seemed to slow things
down a bit. Crowded day on the stream but we still had
no problems getting into good spots to fish.
Conneaut looked good today. Water visibility was
over 2 feet but the flow was still a little to high for
me. Everything but the Grand will fish tomorrow.
Snowmelt may have the flows up a bit yet but they will
fish. Were going to canvas a bunch of streams
tomorrow and I'll post an update tomorrow night.
I got an
e-mail last week asking what is Skinny water?
is a generic term we use to describe small un-stocked
streams. There are dozens of these small streams
that flow into Lake Erie. Such small streams are
very sensitive to angling pressure. This is the
reason we never mention the names of the smaller streams
here. Please keep in mind that these very small
streams often clear much faster than the larger streams.
Mike with a nice fish on his first day steelhead fishing
I hope everybody enjoyed their Thanksgiving and got to
spend the day with family yesterday. Both Jeff and
myself took our guests to Ohio this morning.
even the skinny water a bit high but fishable with 24
inches of visibility. The day started off slow and
to make it worse it was crowded. We ended up
moving around a lot but it paid off and we found some
nice chromers. Oddly enough the fish wanted flies
instead of bait. We did our best with electric glo
spawn and woolly buggers. Most of the streams were
still to high today but the Chagrin, Conneaut, Rocky and
Vermillion should fish tomorrow. Flows may still be a
bit on the high side though. Grand is still to
high and will not fish this weekend. Haven't been to Pa
in awhile but I would guess all the streams over there
will also fish tomorrow. Good Luck..!! Don
Dave with a huge Ohio steelhead caught on the fly..!!
Happy Thanksgiving. I'm not fishing today but Greg
L just called me from the stream. He is out with
his center pinn using bait and he is catching them but
the water is still high on all of the East side streams.
Good Luck..!! Don
Steelhead Fishing Report We received quite a
bit of rain yesterday and it brought the streams up to
unfishable levels this morning Dicks guests all
caught fish yesterday but overall it was a tough day
with slush in the stream most of the day. The
sudden drop in stream temp has definitely slowed the
bite down. Now we are faced with high water for
the next couple of days plus they are calling for cold
temps and snow. A warming trend is predicted to
start Thursday this will add runoff from snow melt.
Its a tough call what will fish this weekend.
Watch those flow gauges and the weather. Happy
Thanksgiving..!!Good Luck..!! Don
Larry with a fat Ohio Chromer
John with a Ohio Manistee strain fish
11-23-08 Steelhead Alley fishing Report
Slush, slush, and more slush. I was standing in
the Grand River at 5:45 this morning. Flow was
high (1200 cfm) but there wasn't any slush.
So off I went to meet my guests with high hopes of
another great day of steelheading. I figured there would
be a little slush on the smaller streams, but with a
high of 38* it wouldn't last long. To make a very
long story short, everything but the Grand was slushy
most of the day. We did alot of driving trying to
find open water that was at a good fishable level.
Conneaut, Chagrin, Rocky, and the skinny water were all
very slushy Even the lower Grand had some slush.
To make things worse it was crowded. Seems like
everybody saw the predicted 38* temp. Bad
thing was, our thermometer never went above 23* until
after lunch. OOPs seems like the weather man missed his
mark today.. Good thing was, I had a couple
of die hards who never complained all day. Finally a
little sun and luck shinned down on us and we hit some
fish in the afternoon. No big numbers but seven or
eight nice Manistee's in the net. Dicks
guests hit them once the slush burned off too. So
the day was saved and our guests were rewarded for their
persistence in the cold..
Justin with a nice chrome winter steelie.. Nice hat..
BUCKEYES..!! Sorry about your luck Michigan..
The fish are
there folks. It's just a matter of getting to them
now. We have more rain on the way tomorrow and it's
anybodies guess what this will do to the streams.
If we get enough warm rain to melt the snow its going to
be a big blowout. If the rain isn't too strong and
the snow refreezes each night for a slow melt. The
fishing will be good. I'm off tomorrow but Dick
will be out. I'll post a report when I hear how
they do. Watch the weather. Winter
steelheading is here. Good Fishin..!! Don
fish out. Greg Lum got it last week on the Connie.
Notice the healed over lamprey sore and its unique
spotting. A nice but odd fish. For those of you
who don't remember Greg from his steelheading 101
website years ago he is a fishing machine. He is
the master of the centerpin. He puts in more time on the
water than anybody I know. On occasion I
talk him into helping me out on a guide trip or two. He
has a great blog and if your a steelheader you should
check t out if you haven't already.
DeFrank’s Flies Master Tier and Owner Mark DeFrank
recently took third place out of 360+ entries in the Fly
Tyer Magazine 30th-Anniversary Fly-Tying Championships.
Dfishinfool's Guide Service Guide and fly innovator
Mark DeFrank. Third place out of 360 ain't bad
considering this is a tough contest judged by the
The Championships were conducted with the cooperation of
the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum. For this
contest, each tier was required to submit two flies: one
mandatory pattern and one “tiebreaker” fly of the tiers
choice. The selection of mandatory flies included the
Royal Wulff, Hair-Wing Blue Doctor, and Flashtail
Whistler. The tiebreaker could be an established
pattern or an original fly. The only real rule is that
the tiebreaker fly must be a pattern that would be used
for actual fishing. For his mandatory fly Mark tied the
Royal Wulff and his Wiggle Hex was submitted as the
A panel of judges, chosen by the Catskill Fly Fishing
Center and Museum, selected the top 20 mandatory flies.
The top 20 tiers, which included Mark, then progressed
to step two: the judging of the tiebreaking flies. The
20 top tiebreaking patterns were mounted and on display
during the 2008 Fly Fishing Hall of Fame festivities at
the Catskill Fly Fishing Center the weekend of October
18, 2008. The visitors to the festivities, which
included some of the biggest names in fly fishing and
tying, casted their votes for the winning tiebreaking
Justin with a fat Pa. hen that lost her way and ended up
in Ohio. She was ready to spawn.
Jeff (Dad) with a hard earned COLD weather
Guys did alright despite the weather. I received
this kind e-mail today. Oh yea Peter pics are on the way
I was fishing
with Pete Tonetti and Tom Nilsen on the CENSORED
with Dick last Thursday and Friday, Nov. 21-22,
and just wanted to drop you a note to tell you
how much I enjoyed the trip. Despite the wind
and the snow, Dick took great care of us and put
us on a lot of fish. Tom Nilsen set the pace for
the group, landing 31 fish and missing half as
many more! It was my first steelhead experience
and I hope to be back soon to fish some of the
other rivers up there.
I do have one
more favor I would like to ask. Dick took a
photo of me and a steelhead that I caught. I did
not get any photos of me with a fish and I would
love to have one as a memento of my first
steelhead trip. If you could email me a copy of
the photo he took, I would appreciate it very
Again, thanks to
you and Dick for a memorable trip.
Peter E. Rodgers
11-21-08 Friday..... Steelhead Alley
weekend forecast We got blasted with another
winter storm last night. Roads are in poor shape
with six inches of fresh snow on the ground. They are
calling for a high of 25* today and a possible 4-6 more
inches of snow. I cancelled my trip today but I talked
to Dick the machine Keagy last night and he was rigging
gear for today. He hasn't called yet this morning.
Can't blame him for wanting to fish so bad. The last
couple of days have been awesome More like
catching than fishing. We have been bouncing around on
Ohio skinny water this week and we have been racking up
some impressive numbers. Conneaut is shaping up
and should fish today. Water color was good the
last couple of days but the flow was too strong.
Greg pulled a few nice ones out of Connie on Wednesday
but he reports lots of lead was required to get down.
Greg fished the Rocky yesterday and was double digits
with the pinn. He said the river had a nice color
and flow but it was crowded. My three guests fly
fished yesterday and it didn't take long to find out
that the fish wanted eggs. Glo-spawn and sucker
spawn in pastel colors was the ticket. We caught some
real fresh fish. Bright males with undeveloped
kypes told me that they hadn't been in the stream long.
Dicks guys fished bait the last two days and also did
very well. It appears like the rain last Saturday did
indeed bring in a nice run of fresh fish. Lets
just hope winter holds off a little longer. Most
of the streams on the Alley will fish this weekend.
I'm looking for possible Slushy conditions Saturday
morning but Sunday should be a nice day.
C YA on the water....!! Don
guides available almost every day until Christmas. Lets
On a side
note. I just received Travis and Jeff's picture
cards. I will have everybody's picture CD's made and
shipped next week. I will also get some of those great
shots published here. Sorry it took so
Rae with her big Ohio Steelhead
Paul with a hard fighting Ohio Manistee Steelhead
Bob shows off a male with a huge hook jaw (kype)
For More "steelhead Alley"
Fishing reports Click here