CLEVELAND, Ohio – Last week’s rainy weather has been a boon for steelhead trout fishing this weekend and beyond, as exceptional numbers of fresh trout have moved from Lake Erie into the rivers and streams of Northeast Ohio.
Although the windy weather has made Lake Erie fishing very problematic for the next few days, with small fishing boats facing a small boat advisory, wading and casting the rivers should be the best if the snow belt doesn’t get in the way.
A true trophy was recently caught and released by Steve Fielder of Perry, who was fishing nearby Elk Creek in Pennsylvania with his work buddy, Gary Howe of Ashtabula. Howe found fishing success under Fielder’s watchful eye a few years ago when they both worked at Lubrizol in Painesville.
“Gary wanted to learn how to fish for steelhead trout, so I took him and offered a few lessons on drifting spawn bags for big trout,” Fielder said. “It wasn’t a great day’s fishing, but Gary landed a real trophy on his first steelhead adventure, about 14 pounds.”
Fielder retired a couple of years ago and was willing to spend more time trout fishing and deer hunting this time of year. Howe wanted to come on his last trip, now that he was also retired.
“We were on different stretches of Conneaut Creek when I hooked a real monster, and I was having a hard time keeping it on the line. I didn’t have a net, so I yelled at Gary to come net my big fish,” said Fielder, which generally releases spawn bags with rotating material.
“It was a beautiful day, with fall leaves and clear water on the gravel, and this trout had some shoulders on it, just scuttling around trying to get away,” Fielder said. “When I finally saw it on the surface, I knew it was my best personal memory if I could land it. I finally did, and Gary took pictures and I posted them.”
Fielder measured the steelhead at 33 inches and estimated its weight at 16 pounds.
The weekend forecast is good: Northeast Ohio’s rivers and streams are high and flowing fast, but fishing should be pretty good this weekend if the lake’s snowpack Erie pauses a bit.
Dan Pribanic and guides at Chagrin River Outfitters report that cooler temperatures this week will make steelhead trout a little slow, so a slow presentation is needed and prime areas should be thoroughly covered as typical strike zones have decreased in size.
Temperatures in the area should slowly climb into the 40s next week and last through Thanksgiving, and there are plenty of fresh trout to catch right now.
Walleye derby fishing will require caution: Almost all of the big charter fishing boats are in dry dock, so most of the anglers in the Walleye Slam and Fall Brawl fishing derbies on Lake Erie will be on the water in boats smaller fishing.
This will require extra caution, especially heading into the weekend. The US Weather Service has issued a Small Craft Advisory for the weekend and next week. Anglers should be cautious and watch the weather during the last 10 days of the derbies, which end on Sunday, November 27.