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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Default Annual PA Steelhead

    Our 4th year going to PA for our annual steelhead trip. 2nd year taking my father-in-law and got him his first steelhead.

    Prior to PA the annual fall trip was to Michigan. I did that 2 years and we only got into a few fish over the week each year. The 1st year, for me, I landed a nice 10 pound male. Prior to that my largest fish on the fly was probably a 12 inch bass. I was really hooked after that steelhead. The 2nd year in MI I didn't have a single steelhead bite but did manage to hook into a couple late king salmon. Our group leader had been steelheading there since the 70s and only landed 2 in the week. Our 3rd regular had been going for about 6 years but that was the only fishing he did all year. He had landed a walleye, a resident brown trout and a king but had never gotten a steelhead.

    This year was great for him in PA. He had a lot of fish on and landed 3 nice steelhead in about 3 days of fishing before he left early. Conditions were tough this year with a massive storm coming through on our second day and we spent about a half hour in the cabin basement due to a tornado. Rivers were blown out a good chunk of the time we were there so we spent a lot of time on the small creeks. We all had a ton of fish on though and met a lot of great people including a few from Michigan, Cleveland and some very interesting Russians who gave us their spot and told us right where the fish where hitting.

    Overall the steelhead seemed larger on average than the previous years we'd been going. We got into a lot of fish in the 27"-30" range and I saw a massive 35" fish caught that could have swallowed most of my fish. In previous years most of our fish were in the 21"-25" range. The fish fought hard this year with lots of acrobatics and I had a pretty tough time landing the majority of my fish in tight conditions. I popped the hook more times than I care to admit, had a fish jump over a low hanging limb to break me off, another one jump straight into a steep bank, had 2 different fish turn back on me and ram my legs, lost several in downed trees and lost my furled leader when the connector to my fly line broke on a large fish. My leader and indicator were eventually retrieved when it swam by one of my buddies about an hour later. Each fish hooked into was exhausting and I didnt get any usable pics in the water but did take some scenery pics and video of a nursery water. My phone also died several times so now I'm considering going back to a small water proof camera. We did have a great time, can't wait to get back and it was great that 2 of our group got their first steelhead.





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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Wasilla / Skwentna, Alaska
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    Default Re: Annual PA Steelhead

    Nice!

    I know that one, the water looks lower from here, beautiful shots low or not.

    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

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  5. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Default Re: Annual PA Steelhead

    The first couple of pics were our first day and the water was dropping from some rain early in the week. The nursery water video and pics were on the rise from a small storm early on our second day. There was a pretty good thunderstorm going on over the lake at that point so we had given up for the day and went exploring. The bridge pic is the morning after the blow out, the water dropped almost a foot there by the next day but was still pretty dirty for a few days. I lost a lot of fish on that tiny stream but landed a nice 7 pound male. The last few are 3-4 days later, a popular spot on Elk our last day. It's amazing how quickly that river clears out and drops. The first 2 years we went they were under drought conditions with extremely low water. This year and last year they had a lot of rain so we've been fortunate enough to hit the creeks on the drop. The morning after the big storm I hooked into a really nice fish near the mouth of a small creek and lost him in some downed trees when he headed back to the lake. The next day I probably had 20 fish on and only managed to land 2 of them. My fishing mentor says I need to set my hook better and chase them over the limbs

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  7. #4
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    Default Re: Annual PA Steelhead

    I used to go out that way every year in March, the trick that time of year (if it is freezing at night & warming during the day) is to get yourself up stream before daylight. The water is clear at day break and remains so until the sun starts melting things again. By 11:30 AM things can get very muddy. The creek with the high cut banks, I fished that a lot, those cut banks catch the sun and any ice or snow melts hard and fast. The area doesn't get snow and cold the way it did 25 years ago I don't believe, yes it gets cold and it does snow but back when I began fishing out there it was just the regular weather. March was good because the tip of any spring run was coming in, most of what you found were bright fish. Those who had been all winter looked almost black by spring.

    If you've spotted any posts from me about fishing then you know that winter came early here. One year ago today I had already caught 2 steelhead and 7 silver salmon by this time............. I also got a bit of frostbite, the temps on that river have been real close to zero every morning for the past three weeks and I have stayed home. I don't think I've gotten soft, but I know I've gotten smarter. The river remains open due to being fed from a lake outflow, it can freeze the closer you get to the lake itself and I've seen some serious shelf ice conditions there. My Mokai makes it possible to fish if the weather takes a freak turn, they call them Pineapple Clippers, warm air coming up from the South Pacific. We can easily see a 49* day in January but I can't predict them. The Mokai works because I can drag it to the edge of the ice and slip it in by hand alone. Since it has the 7.3 Subaru motor I can then go to where there are no others but I just won't do it in negative weather again. This morning I had -2 here, the weaher page says it was +5 down there but that isn't taken at the river. Problem here is that once we get into these low temps things don't warm during the day. Last Thanksgiving it was -8 when I launched my little boat and -1 when I pulled it out at dark. Not much of a break so I'm at home buddy

    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

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  9. #5

    Default Re: Annual PA Steelhead

    Glad you had a successful trip. Iíll concur with you, this has been the best run weíve had in years in regards to number and size of fish. I canít wait until Monday when most will be off the water and in tree stands and wandering around the woods for Bambi.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Jack of all trades, Master of none.

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  11. #6
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    Default Re: Annual PA Steelhead

    Quote Originally Posted by repperson29 View Post
    Glad you had a successful trip. Iíll concur with you, this has been the best run weíve had in years in regards to number and size of fish. I canít wait until Monday when most will be off the water and in tree stands and wandering around the woods for Bambi.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    A couple of people have said that about PA water during hunting season. During the blow out we were jockeying for positions on one of the small creeks but the rest of the week we were able to find space with a little walking. Overall wasn't bad though and I did meet some interesting people that way. 2 of which were Russian or Serbian and they were cracking us up with non-stop banter. After catching about 8 fish they gave us their spot.

    I thought about heading over after Dec 1st. to get an annual license and get a day on the water. I think when I retire I'm going to move somewhere between Cleveland and Erie. That should give me a solid 8 months of steelhead fishingAnnual PA Steelhead

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  13. #7
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    Default Re: Annual PA Steelhead

    Hi Jeff,

    Why not go all out and look for a place near Avis, Waterville or Slate Run PA. Avis puts you near I 180 and a short drive to the fantastic fishing in Southern Clinton and Center Counties as well as close to Penns Creek. The other two village's are right on good trout waters. I lived in Cogan Station for many years and then after living out of state for a few years took up residence in Williamsport. From there I fished all over the place with a whole lot close to home.

    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

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  15. #8
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    Default Re: Annual PA Steelhead

    Ard, thanks for the suggestions! Those sound ideal but I have just shy of 13 years before I can retire. My parents and in-laws live just about an hour and a half south of Cleveland and will all be in their late 70's and early 80's then, so that's about at the limit we are looking at. Plus my wife has some ancestral and cultural connections to Cleveland and has always wanted to live in the area. Hopefully one of my kids will do something in life that makes them happy and rich so they can buy me a nice vacation cabin in PAAnnual PA Steelhead of course a lot can change in 13 years so who knows.

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  17. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Default Re: Annual PA Steelhead

    Ejsell
    Thanks for posting the great trip report and awesome photos, it was very enjoyable to read!
    Larry


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  19. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    Akron, Ohio
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    Default Re: Annual PA Steelhead

    Ejsell,

    Great report!

    Dec 21st and 22nd is the season "kick-off" for my son and I :-) Too soon to know where we will be fishing this year but definitely looking forward to it!!!

    We might even wander into PA if the reports are better there than the Ohio rivers. Must admit the water temps will be a little cooler than the Pacific ocean was LOL!!

    Scott

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