Erie Steelhead Help - The Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-08-2019, 02:51 PM Thread Starter
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Erie Steelhead Help

Planning on a trip up to Erie to try for some steelhead fishing, never fished for steelhead, only trout. If someone can point me to Best method to fish for them and choice of bait. Using spin-fishing outfit. Any and all help would greatly be appreciated.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-08-2019, 03:11 PM
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I lived in Erie for a while and used to fish steelhead quite a bit. My advice: If you can, fish through the week and not on weekends. Get there VERY EARLY. Fish when water levels are up and not low and clear. For spinning gear, I like a longer rod with relatively light line. I used to use 4# line but would lose a few. You can go heavier in stained water, but some of the newer thin diameter 6# stuff is a good choice with #10 hooks being the biggest I would use. I used to do quite well on egg sacks and wax worms. In stained water, green glitter power bait used to do wonders for me.
I found the vast majority of Erie steelhead fishermen to be very courteous. It always amazed me when someone had one on, how everyone else would just reel in and wait for them to land the fish. I always tried to return the favor to folks and just ignore those who don't. Good luck.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-08-2019, 03:54 PM
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For spin like kudu said 4# gin clear water and 6# if water has color. Hooks sized 8-12 work all the time. You can "donate" money and get some skein and I have done great with that. Single eggs and egg sacs always worked well for me. Get a noodle rod if you don't have one as the longer the rod the better when using light line. Don't horse the fish in. Stay away from Elk Creek lower access, Walnut above route 5(north of), and Trout run on the weekends as they are all a zoo. If you want to go artificial I've done well on marabou jigs and sucker spawn in bright colors under a float/bobber. Best of luck! Just remember to get there early and grab a good spot. I prefer the east end streams, but that is just me.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-08-2019, 09:52 PM
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shoot me a PM when your heading up! I can show you all the place on the East side of town to fish! 2-4-6-7-12-16-and 20 mile. Very easy access to all under a 1/2 hr drive. 7 mile runs thru my land near I-90 Harborcreek exit
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Last edited by 59Willys; 10-08-2019 at 09:55 PM.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-10-2019, 09:18 PM
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Flourocarbon line will increase your catches along with clear floats. Run the line through the clear float use the small rubber bands around the top and bottom of the float, enough split shot to make the float stand up and a 12 or 14 hook. I catch alot on single eggs or minnows.


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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-10-2019, 09:25 PM
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It's been a long time since I went up, but i'm planning to give it a go this year as well.

Years ago we had success of egg sacs and powerbait. We used Salmon Peach powerbait, but some guys will tell you that various colors work better at certain times.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-10-2019, 10:00 PM
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Emerald shiners work well for us along with salted minnies . We also caught quite a few on black wooly buggers . Drift a wooly bugger about 5 in from the bottom with a strike indicator floating on top , this method works well .
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-15-2019, 12:27 PM
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My 9 year old son and I made a trip up yesterday, and things are way behind for this time of year. Supposed to get some good rain in Erie tomorrow and Thursday which should help. About the only game in town right now is lower Elk, from the lake upstream to the Cascade hole, or the wall in the Walnut Channel. Didn't fish at Walnut, but stopped by to look and NOBODY was fishing in the project waters, which should tell you a lot. A few guys in the Manchester Hole and in the Chutes.

As for gear and tactics, a noodle rod is a big help. All the tackle shops up there sell 'em. Can get one as low as $30-$35, and I've been using those for years. I use 6# mono on my reel, and ALWAYS run a fluorocarbon leader. 8# most times, but sometimes 6# or 4# is necessary, as it was yesterday. Some guys like fluro for their main line as well, so that you don't have to re-tie leaders when you break off. Either way, I would make sure the last 4' of your line is fluoro. Use a real small barrel swivel or a surgeon's knot to connect fluoro to mono.

I never use a hook bigger than a 16, and sometimes will go down to 20. Didn't have any 20s yesterday, but wish I would have. I think it would have made a difference.

Don't use the split shot you find at the big box stores in the general fishing section. The box stores with fly fishing tackle usually have Black Bird brand split shot. It's a duller color and much smaller. I use size 2 and size 4 depending on flows and water clarity. Sometimes one or two is enough, sometimes 4 or 5 are necessary. It will depend on your bait and water flow.

As for baits I use with that set up, I love the 3" Berkley Power Worms. Bubblegum pink has by far produced more steelhead for me in the past 5 or 6 years than any other bait. Yellow and White are also good. Sometimes in stained water chartreuse or orange is good, but I always use pink worms first. Emerald shiners are a good choice, as are single eggs that you can buy cured at bait shops there. Egg sacks can be good too.

Most of the time, I'll pin my bobber (I use the small foam ones, with a slit in the side and a peg) at least 6' above my hook. Sometimes as much as 8' depending on water depth and where the fish are holding. Sometimes 2 or 3' if I can see that fish are in shallower water or holding in the middle of the water column. Start with a presentation where your bait ticks the bottom from time to time, and adjust from there if that's not getting any looks.

Jigging can be effective too. A lot of anglers there have success with hair or maribou jigs. When I jig, I like to use Gulp Minnows on a 1/32 or 1/64 oz jig head. If you fish in the lake, spoons can be good. If you start chucking spoons in a creek, you're not going to make many friends around you.

If you wait a few more weeks (assuming rain amounts return to something more normal) fish will be well spread out along bigger streams like Elk and 20 Mile. They will also get into the smaller streams as well, and you'll have plenty of options to get away from the crowds. It's tempting to fish lower Walnut because it often has a large amount of fish concentrated into a small area, but it's a zoo, even on weekdays now. However, you can learn a lot by going there and watching what others are doing and asking questions.

As others have said, if you have any more questions, feel free to send me a PM on here. Be glad to help you out.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-15-2019, 12:58 PM
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+1 on the noodle rod. You can get more natural drifts with it and it allows you to land bigger fish with lighter line. Flourocarbon leader is a good idea too, as it is harder to see than mono of the same diameter. Steelhead are trout, so they go for the same baits as other trout go for. They can be finicky tho, so you might have to try several different things before you find something that works. Be prepared to get friendly with strangers because in most places, the good spots are crowded.

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