Making the most of late November 

Late November steelhead fishing ranks at the top of the best time to fish list.  If you are lucky enough to be fishing then, I trust you will do well and/or enjoy yourself.

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If like me, you are preparing for company during the holidays, hanging decorations and providing Uber services for family members, you can do some steelhead preparations for your next fishing trip.

Replace that ratty line, get the squeak out of your reel, repaint those jigs heads, check your rod tip and replace guides with line grooves – yes if you catch steelhead with a cheap tip, the line will cut a groove and your line will fray and break, toss/replace those leaking waders, cook some single eggs, replenish your tackle box with hooks, swivels and split shot, and locate your ice fishing tackle – you may need it.

Finally, do a mental review the past weeks of steelhead fishing. You may have discovered new holding water so keep that in mind.  A new presentation technique you discovered may need some special tackle – buy what you need.  Make a few notes about the conditions – water level/flow CFS, weather and location that produced your best day – future success may hinge on matching your next trip to those conditions.

After decades of fall fishing in Erie here is what I learned and believe to be true

  • Some days you will not catch fish
  • It is possible to learn how to catch more fish than most anglers
  • Steelhead, which hold in tight groups, are moved by water temperature more than flow
  • You can pattern steelhead much like other animals
  • Fall steelhead run is a series of mini-runs
  • Night fish bite according to patterns similar to day fish
  • Best Elk Creek fishing is limited to a handful of locations
  • Walnut Creek and Trout Run are best places to catch multiple steelhead
  • Elk Creek is the best place to fish for steelhead.
  • 90% of fish caught by 10% of anglers
  • Feeding steelhead works better than fooling steelhead
  • Power Bait always works if you are patient
  • Caught and released steelhead bite again that same day
  • Lining is common practice used by low water anglers  
  • Minnows are expensive, overrated bait for steelhead
  • Diving crank baits trigger steelhead reaction bite
  • Moving bait or jig gets more strikes
  • Presenting your favorite bait in a new way produces strikes
  • Bait kept longer in strike zone produces more strikes

Most of the items on the preceding list are common sense. You may have also learned a few tips worth sharing. Drop me a note and I will add them.

I received a book, Through The Fish’s Eye by Mark Sosin and John Clark, from Ed DiCaprio.  That gift is a book about gamefish behavior which is providing me with a better understanding of steelhead.  The knowledge I gain will help me catch more steelhead.


Good luck. 

Photo at the beginning of this post shows the late Mike Magula. He and I were fishing on the ledge above the Beech Tree hole. There have been so many changes since Mike's passing in 2011.