Finally, March steelhead fishing is here. The "spring run", if it does exist, relies on the Manistee strain of steelhead that enters tributaries in the spring. You can add into the total of available steelhead the fall holdovers and those dandy spring "steelhead jacks" that invade all Lake Erie tributaries at this time of the year.
The best, early fishing usually occurs near the lake at the beginning of March as snow melt and spring rain increases water flow and opens the tributaries. Once the ice jams are gone, the warming water draws steelhead into the streams.
As the month progresses, steelhead will travel upstream to potential spawning beds.
Your best choice for early, spring baits include single eggs, egg sacs, emerald shiners and jigs. As the water warms, get your favorite fly patterns into the mix of presentations. Egg flies of every color and combination and the full range of nymphs catch plenty of spring steelhead.
Weather is the key to successful March steelhead fishing. Rain is good, but too much causes problems. Try to match you steelhead fishing plans to the rise and fall of tributaries water levels. You need a strong flow with that deep green color. That type of water will produce steady action. However, if you find yourself facing near muddy conditions don't panic. Try fishing large egg sacs or jigs deep in slow moving pools or tailouts.
The Green Roof Inn is one motel that understands the challenges of rising water levels. Book your room there. They will understand if your trip is "blown-out".
While it may not happen this year given the cold winter we have experienced, early arriving smallmouth bass begin to show up in late march. Unlike the hard hitting steelhead, smallmouth bass have a tendency to stop and hold your bait much like a snag. When you lift the rod, you will get a pleasant surprise.
Here are some videos from last March. The videos present the wide-range of possible weather conditions you may face this year. Warm spring days may be the exception this season.