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Stream and pier anglers have an excellent opportunity to catch quality-sized steelhead trout from September through April.

The Division of Wildlife annually stocks five streams with 6-9" yearling Little Manistee River (Mich.) strain steelhead. For 2003, the Rocky, Chagrin and Grand rivers are scheduled to receive 90,000 fish. Conneaut Creek is scheduled to receive 75,000 fish from Ohio and 75,000 fish from the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission. The Vermilion River is scheduled to receive 55,000 steelhead. Total annual stocking numbers from Ohio hatcheries will remain at 400,000 for the foreseeable future. All Ohio fish are raised at the Division of Wildlife's Castalia Hatchery. Several other rivers including the Ashtabula River, Arcola Creek and even the Cuyahoga River get runs of stray fish. These fish migrate out into Lake Erie and spend the summer in the cooler part of the lake, before returning to streams during the fall through the spring. Steelhead trout caught by anglers in the streams typically average 25" long and weigh 5 to 6 pounds. These fish have usually spent two summers out in the lake (see growth chart below). click here to view the ODNR news release on changes to the steelhead program (Adobe PDF Acrobat file). The Adobe Acrobat Reader is available free at: www.adobe.com

Where to catch ëem: January 7, 2003

Larger rivers are somewhat high and off color; the smaller rivers and tribs are in good shape. The lower sections of the rivers are trying to lock up again with the colder snowy weather. Steelhead have migrated throughout the major streams and smaller tributaries.

Rocky River: Fish from Emerald Necklace marina up through the Metropark Golf Courses.
Chagrin River: Fish from the soccer fields up to just above Daniels Park Dam.
Grand River: Fish from the Fairport short pier up to Harpersfield Dam. Big and Paine creeks also have fish.
Arcola Creek: Fish in the estuary pond and creek.
Ashtabula River: Fish the harbor up to the Cedarquist Park.
Conneaut Creek: Fish from the harbor up to the PA border.
Vermilion River: Fish the river mouth up through the Metropark past the Rt. 2 bridge.

Donít forget the bag limit of 2 steelhead trout and salmon in the aggregate valid from September 1st through May 15th !

There are many public access areas on Ohio streams. If you are on private property, you must have landowner permission. Donít trespass! Private landowners have the right to restrict access on their property. In Ohio, you can gain access to the stream from public access points, but the private land ownership includes their land under the stream. The streams listed above are navigable streams, meaning you can float a boat through them to fish; however, you cannot get out of your boat and stand on private property to fish unless you have the land owner's permission.

For more info on access areas, see the steelhead section in our Lake Erie Fishing Guide. Call 1-800-WILDLIFE for your copy!

Real-time stream flow data is available at the following links for the Grand Chagrin and Vermilion

Want to know how much rain or snow fell in the last 24 hours? Click this: Intellicast Web Site for the region

How to catch ëem:
Typical set-ups are long (7-10í), limber spinning or fly rods with light line (4-8 lb. test). Common lures in the fall and early winter include small (1/16 to 1/80 oz.) marabou or synthetic hair jigs tipped with maggots rigged with split shot under a light pencil-thin bobber. Spoons (Little Cleo, KO Wobblers) and spinners (Rooster Tails, Vibrax, etc.) are commonly used on piers, beaches and lower stream reaches. Fly anglers prefer larger weighted fly patterns, such as nymphs and streamers like woolly buggers, princes, egg-sucking leeches, shiner patterns and clouser minnows. Egg fly patterns (single or cluster, sucker spawn, etc.) work well as a single fly or in tandem with a nymph or streamer once the fish move upstream. Salmon or trout eggs are fished as either individual eggs or grouped together in mesh "spawn bags" about the size of a dime or nickel. Eggs can be bounced along the bottom with the current or fished at or near the bottom suspended under a bobber. The fish will be oriented to cover or moderate to deep water pools, cuts or gravel runs as they make their way upstream for spawning. As stream temperatures cool this time of year, expect fish to be more likely to chase lures or bait until they move further upstream.

To contact us:

Fairport Harbor Fish Research Station
Ohio DNR, Division of Wildlife
421 High St.
Fairport Harbor, Ohio 44077

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