Chasing The Silver Beast

2 Apr

Steelhead are the only freshwater game fish that will strike a fly savagely in 33 degree water, leap relentlessly like a tarpon, make blistering bullish runs deep into backing and test every fly-fishing skill you have.  This is why chasing the silver beast has become a passion for many fishermen, including myself, which leads me North monthly to the Erie tributaries.  This world class fishery from Conneaut to Eight Mile to Twelve Mile to Turkey Creek offers a chance at rainbow trout (hopefully browns in the future) bigger than you can catch in Alaska (well that may by pushing it a little).  With a guarantee to be one of the hardest fighting trout you will ever encounter, who can resist. 

Where exactly is Steelhead Alley?
erie4120102042-1.jpg picture by Bentrod2010
And how can I find it?   Steelhead alley consists of a number of tributaries that flow into Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.  It covers the shorelines of the Great Lakes in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio.   A hot sport for steelhead, especially in the spring and fall, when the main run of fish come out of the lake and into the tributaries looking for LOVE in all the right places.  The tributaries are very susceptible to water level variations.  Which makes catching the silver beast all the more of a challenge.  But that is where the fun comes in, isn’t it?  Ask any sport fisherman, they will tell  you steelhead are probably one of the most popular sport fish in the world.  And steelhead alley provides probably the best place on the planet to find them, not because they aren’t in other areas, but because of the sheer numbers of them.

So the stars aligned, time permitted, the weather cooperated, flies were tied, and the day had come.  Dad and I were off in search of the silver beast!!!!  Dad, to my surprise, was the first to hook up.  Sight fishing to a group of 2 by 2 hens with bucks in trail doing the mating dance in about 2 1/2 -3 feet of water.  His pink stonefly must have triggered something as one of the bucks darted to the right and ate the fly.  A good fight ensued although cut short from the lack of enough deep moving water for the steelhead to maneuver.  We pulled the old shallow water beaching performed many a times over by steelheaders.  Tears were shed, high fives ensued, hugs were given and pictures were taken and the buck was returned to his ladies.  This was the highlight of the trip for me to see my father with the biggest smile on his face after landing his first steelhead ever and on the long rod ta-boot.  The rest of the day didn’t really matter to me, anything else hooked, fought, or landed was just a bonus.  The day itself was picture perfect, blue bird skies, warm temps,  caddis flies buzzing about, and only the occasional passing fisherman sharing the stream.  I guess the best fishing was done when we came across a HUGE school of spawning sucker fish.  And after further inspection about 15-20 steelhead mixed into this inter-species bio-mass of erotic behavior.  This is also when the Squirmy Wormy’s lethality was discover, although known to many others I’m sure.  After wearing out our backs and arms catching what seemed like 200 suckers and about 20 steelhead we were beat to say the least.  With good friday coming the next day and the expected number of fishermen to rise we decided to cut the day short and sit down for a good meal and make our way back home.    Enjoy the pictures……I know we did.

erie4120102030-1.jpg picture by Bentrod2010

erie412010017.jpg picture by Bentrod2010

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erie412010042.jpg picture by Bentrod2010

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erie412010016-1.jpg picture by Bentrod2010

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I know this picture sucks but the cinnamon caddis were everywhere.  I did see a few steelhead rise here and there but I’m not sure if they were taking flies from the top or not.  I attempted the dry fly with no success.
erie412010019.jpg picture by Bentrod2010

erie412010021.jpg picture by Bentrod2010

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erie4120102031.jpg picture by Bentrod2010

erie4120102032-1.jpg picture by Bentrod2010

erie4120102038.jpg picture by Bentrod2010

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erie4120102048-1.jpg picture by Bentrod2010

erie412010038.jpg picture by Bentrod2010

erie412010039.jpg picture by Bentrod2010



2 Responses to “Chasing The Silver Beast”

  1. Steve April 2, 2010 at 5:41 PM #


    I did not realize the fishing was that good in the spring. I always went in the fall/winter.

    • bentrodmedia April 2, 2010 at 8:02 PM #

      As long as they get the needed rain, which they need now, the steel will continue to run up till may. The best way to check out the flows up there is via web cam at which shows flows about 1-2 miles from the mouth.


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