Cold Steel- by Grant Michaels
From the time I started fly fishing, it has been a dream of mine to take a trip to Northwestern Pennsylvania to chase the famous wild lake run Steelhead. Through much planning and preparation, the opportunity arose for my brother, my cousin, and I to make the four and a half hour trip to Erie Pennsylvania to test our luck with these marvelous creatures. With the abnormal rainfall totals in the state of Pennsylvania this year, we planned our trip based on the conditions of the Lake Erie tributaries and upcoming weather patterns. With hotel reservations in check, preparation mode was in full effect. Numerous work lunch breaks were spent tying flies of various patterns such as eggs, sucker spawns, leeches, wooly buggers, and various other steamer imitations. We set out on our journey on Friday October 18th with much excitement and anticipation. Arriving to our hotel around 9 pm, we knew we would only have all day Saturday and Sunday morning to fish but we certainly made the best out of the time we had. After researching and reading various reports, we determined that 20 mile creek would be one of our best bets if we wanted to hook up with some fresh fish. We woke up Saturday morning, October 19th, at 5:00 AM with very little sleep but we were so amped that sleep wasn’t necessary. We had a twenty minute trip to the creek arriving close to 6:00 AM to an empty parking lot, much to our surprise. Water levels were very low but had a nice color to it which worked in our favor. No more than twenty minutes after arriving to our spot, I was fortunate enough to hook up with my first ever steelhead. The fight was unreal, a fight like I’ve never experienced before. The sheer power and weight of these fish is something to marvel over. After about a five minute fight with this beast, my brother scooped the beautiful female into the net. She was at least twenty seven inches long and must have weighed nine pounds. Truly satisfying. Five minutes later, I hooked up again. While not as big, the male put up a very powerful fight, one that I will never forget. There is something quite exhilarating about fighting these feisty steelhead and I believe I have found a new addiction. I proceeded to land one more small steelhead on Saturday along with my cousin and brother each landing two. Sunday we decided to wake up earlier around 4:15 to get to the creek before 5:00 AM. We secured the same location on 20-mile creek and this time there were many more fish stacked up in the hole. My brother successfully hooked and landed a twenty five-inch female before the sun peeked through the clouds. While my cousin and I encountered many hookups, neither of us were able to successfully land a fish that morning. We left Erie around noon on Sunday, October 20th fully satisfied with our experience. As mentioned previously, this was a trip the three of us dreamed of taking and our success put a great taste in our mouths for future trips to Erie Pennsylvania. If you are looking to take a fishing trip that will leave you fully satisfied but also humbled, I strongly suggest traveling to our Great Lakes to chase Steelhead. Getting out and exploring new places, fishing for species you’ve never caught before, and fellowshipping with family and friends while all sharing a common passion, is what makes these experiences so fulfilling.
Written by Grant Michaels Instagram handles @gemichaels @luke_michaels5 @tpiper.fish