20 Great Economical Adventures

Ohio: Feeder-Stream Steelhead

Outdoor Life Online Editor

I've ever dreamed of hitting one of the Great Lakes' fabled steelhead runs, a quartet of Lake Erie tributaries can accommodate you. Every year, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources stocks nearly half a million six- to nine-inch steelhead trout in the Grand, Chagrin and Rocky rivers, and in Conneaut Creek. These fish spend their summers in Lake Erie. They return to the streams in the fall and stay in them through mid-spring.

The season runs September 1 to April 30. In September, the water is low and clear, perfect for wading, bank-fishing or pier-fishing. A boat offers more versatility, not to mention access to the best areas. The average steelhead caught by anglers measures about 25 inches and weighs about 6 pounds, but three-year-old fish can weigh up to 10 pounds.

All you need is a long, limber spinning rig and an assortment of traditional trout baits such as Mepps or Vibrax spinners, small spoons such as Little Cleos or Syclops, small jigs under pencil bobbers or salmon eggs. Flyfishermen should use weighted flies. An annual, nonresident Ohio fishing license costs $24, or you can get a three-day license for $15.