Steelhead run starts fast in northeast

By Jeffrey R. Frischkorn Contributing

Mentor, Ohio – Bob Ashley of Mentor is already enjoying the
fruits of a near-perfect early run of steelhead trout.

While fishing recently in a local river, Ashley hooked 19
steelhead, landing 13 of them. Each of the fish fell to a carefully
crafted spawn sack.

Then again, many other area steelheaders are doing well, too.
And they are using everything from spawn sacks to jigs tipped with
maggots to casting small spoons and in-line spinners.

The fishing’s been good throughout the northeast region. Stream
anglers fishing Euclid Creek are scoring as are those anglers
fishing the Chagrin and Grand rivers along with Arcola and Conneaut

The sleeper of the bunch continues to be the Ashtabula River,
which some day may over-shadow the other creeks even though it is
not stocked.

Just why the fish are being so cooperative so early has
everything to do with the weather, says Kevin Kayle, manager of the
DNR Division of Wildlife’s Fairport Harbor Fisheries Research
Station. Kayle also oversees the state’s steelhead program.

‘Yes, the fish seem to have started their run earlier and yes,
there is a great deal of variability in when that run actually
starts,’ Kayle said.

‘It could be because we’ve seen more flow in the rivers and
cooler temperatures. The past couple of years we had low water and
high temperatures, which slowed the runs.’

Kayle says he still expects the main push of fish will begin
later in October and through November.

‘If conditions are right, of course,’ Kayle said. ‘A warm, dry
pattern could delay the run as there is as much variability within
a season as there is between seasons.’

Those anglers who relish fishing during the bone-chilling days
of winter need not fret either. Northeast Ohio’s streams are hardly
going to run out of steelhead trout, Kayle says.

‘A lot will depend on what will happen during that time, of
course. If we don’t have ice up, guys will be able to fish all
winter, just like they did last year,’ Kayle said.

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