Steelhead are the reigning kings of the Great Lakes coldwater fishery. With unparalleled fighting ability, stamina, and simply put insane leaps these chrome bullets are a blast to catch on fly tackle. Generally running anywhere from 5-12 pounds but sometimes up to 20 or more, steelhead are trophy fish that people travel the world to find. And we're just crazy about them. Ask any guide and he'll tell you there's no place he'd rather be than knee deep in a steelhead run searching for silver.
In New York, steelhead begin returning to rivers by mid to late September. Their number increase through October, and steelhead fishing remains fantastic until winter sets in. Steelhead tend to winter over in the stream, spawning under the ice, or as the ice melts in spring.
Ohio's steelhead runs are comprised of mostly spring run fish, though there can be significant fall returns as well. But we generally hit the Ohio rivers from March through May. Immediately after ice out, thousands of steelhead begin returning to Ohio's creeks and rivers in search of gravel. The fish remain in the river until temperatures drive them out, usually by mid May.
Western New York also has strong runs of Lake Run Brown Trout. Chrome when they first enter, browns are quick to don their golden spawning colors. Where steelhead put on fantastic aerial displays after hooked, browns fight deep and dirty. Expect plenty of headshaking and powerful runs from fish averaging 5-10 pounds though sometimes bigger. Much, much bigger...