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Great Lakes Region Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Post fishing reports, ask for information, discuss this area...

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Old 11-11-2013, 02:33 PM
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Default Great Lakes Steelhead

Hoping someone on here can get me pointed in the right direction. I am looking to head north to the Great Lakes region sometime in January to try my hand at Steelhead on the fly. I have the right equipment I just don't know where to go. I am coming from Virginia so It's going to be a decent trip for me to get there. Can anyone offer some guidance on the best location for that time of the year? I would prefer to fish some tributaries instead of a really large river if possible. I just want to do my best to make sure I am there when the fish are there. Thanks for the help!
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Old 11-11-2013, 02:39 PM
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Default Re: Great Lakes Steelhead

The region is big. Have you narrowed it down to a lake or state?
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Old 11-11-2013, 02:43 PM
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Default Re: Great Lakes Steelhead

january can be real good or real hard by me in wisconsin

the last few years we have had some mild winters so the fishing was excellent well past new years

years past when its super cold alot of the rivers freeze and the sections that are open are running with slush and ice. that in my opinion isnt even worth fishing. hard to get a fly under the slush and ice has sharp edges

best advice is wait it out till you get close and pick the warmer areas to target
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Old 11-11-2013, 05:30 PM
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Default Re: Great Lakes Steelhead

You can write off Michigan's U.P. in January. We're usually frozen solid by then with rare exceptions.
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Old 11-11-2013, 05:31 PM
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Default Re: Great Lakes Steelhead

I haven't narrowed it down to a specific state. I would like stay east coast. Maybe PA or NY?
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Old 11-11-2013, 06:37 PM
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Default Re: Great Lakes Steelhead

Hi,

I am no longer living in that part of the country but due to the lack of suggestions I can give some insight based on my experiences from the past.

Tributaries although they may have a number of fish in them will not provide a real steelhead fishing experience. let me expand on that a bit; when you say tributary stream I am thinking of a small creek. There are several things that I did not like about this. One was that instead of being what I had always dreamed of, fishing small streams for 2 foot long 6 pound fish was like the old adage, shooting fish in a barrel. I felt guilty when I did it and I only ever did it once. The second thing that can happen is that if there is anyone else there (highly probable) the fish will be a stressed out mess and you will have to dam near snag them in order to catch any. Trust me, I was doing steelhead before the internet arrived.................

Now let's talk about Mid Atlantic options, actually other than New York's Salmon River and Sandy Creeks which are in close proximity, there are few 'big rivers' around. The Niagara is an option but you'll need someone up there who knows the ropes because that is a big one. As far as Elk and the others out in Western PA. they are nice size creeks but even in January can be crowded. The Salmon River in NY has gotten busier even in January over the past 10 years since I was last up there. Part of that is due to the fact that there are more fish, a lot more. In the end it, The Salmon may be your best shot in the Mid Atlantic religion. Because of it's size you can always find a spot where you can swing your flies without interference especially in January. There are no guarantees that time of year unless you are willing to go fish the stack abobe the bridge at Altmar and honestly that never appealed to me any more than bushwhacking them in the rivulets where they can be found.

Even though you'll be traveling a good ways, you've gotta face the fact that steelhead fishing is never a sure thing. When it gets to that point what will be the allure of it. Some of the folks who are up there will spot this thread and offer their insights I'm sure. Mine tend to be , well, mine, and not always in agreement with others

Ard
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Old 11-11-2013, 07:10 PM
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Default Re: Great Lakes Steelhead

Go to Baldwin Mi and setup shop. Real strong numbers in the Pere Marquette already. The Muskegon, Big Manistee all with in an hour, thank me later. Check out Schmidt Outfitters, Hawkins Outfitters & Baldwin Bait & Tackles websites and Facebook.
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Old 11-11-2013, 08:11 PM
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Default Re: Great Lakes Steelhead

Good post! I gotta admit 'Pere Marquette ' even sounds like a steelhead river

Welcome to the forum hookhorn
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Old 11-11-2013, 08:30 PM
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Default Re: Great Lakes Steelhead

Not much to add that the others haven't already covered. January can be tough depending on where you go since many streams can get locked up by then. If I were planning a trip then, I'd want to go somewhere that can provide me with alternatives. The fish are there at that time of year, but numbers and size obviously vary one year to the next. Are you planning on driving or flights? If you're thinking PA, you really want to do that between October-December. January here is a cr@p shoot.
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Old 11-11-2013, 08:35 PM
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Default Re: Great Lakes Steelhead

I guess also a good question would be, do you have to go in January? Late February and March are real good for spring runners and hold overs.
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