Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sure sign of spring (Crowded steelhead streams)

I am, (am not), looking forward to steelhead fishing the next two days.

Sure the weather on Friday is going to be unbelievably gorgeous. Too nice, maybe. The streams from the Vermilion River to Conneaut Creek will be packed on Friday and jammed to the point of closure on Saturday.

But the water - with the exception of the still-angry Grand River - is expected to be good to marginally fair. For the smaller tributaries like Paine Creek and Mill Creek the water clarity will probably be too clear while their flows having tempered considerably the past few days to expect decent fly presentation.

Even a sweet little piece of water I have access to was getting too low today. Worse, in about 2 1/2 hours I saw only 15 fish and half that number of other anglers. Okay, so I caught two trout but usually this time of year steelhead in abundance are on their redds. With history as a guide, I should have done much, much better.

Not today as there weren't even any redds for the few fish to float over. It seems that the poor stream fishing that began last fall has extended itself to not-quite-spring.

For my planned expedition on Friday I am heading to the Ashtabula River at Indian Park in Ashtabula. There's some elbow room there though fishing friend Paul Liikala said that by 7:30 a.m. today there were a dozen vehicles already in the parking lot.

That's discouraging, even though Paul and his fishing buddy for the day - Bill Kiel - together still managed to land about 20 trout. They had to find a hole and anchor themselves so no one else could claim the spot. That's never fun.

But later this afternoon I had another friend visit the stream; he immediately turning around in the parking lot when he saw how many other anglers were fishing. That's the downside to trout fishing Friday.

On the upside is the expected beautiful weather with a high in the low to mid 60s and mostly sunny skies. How can anyone complain about fishing in their shirtsleeves with a late winter/early spring sun filtering through the air?

That, plus the opportunity to fish for steelhead with the excuse that it's also a scouting mission. While I rarely trout fish on a Saturday I have promised Sen. George V. Voinovich that that I'd guide him on a local river, making I'm back in plenty of time to attend the Lake Metroparks' Steelheader's Ball.

My bet is that I'll trek to the Chagrin River on Saturday and try to convince my wife to rise and shine really, really early and stake out a hole for the Senator and me. Oh, for sure I will let Beverly fish, too.

My guess is that the crowds will begin to thin out over the next several weeks as other fishing opportunities arise. And if the stream fishing continues to be poor or even fair at best then even fewer anglers will try their hand.

I'll keep you posted on how we do.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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