Tired of January? I am too! Let’s move on to February.
Winter is slowly loosening its grip on the Lake Erie tributaries. A growing seam of water continues to carve out fishing opportunities in the ice-locked streams for any angler who is willing to give it a try. Those open water slots that end at the head of deep pools are a key to catching February steelhead.
Don’t overlook February when you are considering a trip to Erie for steelhead. It may be debatable if the month of February is the end of the winter fishing season or the beginning of the spring steelhead fishing. A lot depends on the weather and who you ask. At this time of the year, once the ice cover on streams is gone, I am in spring fishing mode.
Steelhead are hungry and easy to catch in February except for one major detail, where to fish. When you discover where the steelhead are holding, you will catch them. We can all agree that finding steelhead in your favorite tributary is a challenge at any time of the year. In February, the search for steelhead can be painful. That is the first hill you need to climb.
To be successful this month find open water, use jigs to prospect likely, fish-holding areas and move often until you find the steelhead. I would begin my search where I left off fishing before the hard freeze closed the tributaries.
Do you know where the fall steelhead run begins? I watched it begin one February afternoon at Trout Run. It started with Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission employees netting female steelhead to collect eggs. The video tells the story.
These February images give you a glimpse of the fishing conditions you will encounter.
Click for larger view.