– Welcome everyone,to The New Fly Fisher. My name’s Mark Melnyk. I love spring steelhead flyfishing in the Great Lakes,and one of the best placesto go is the rivers of Ohio. Joining me on my adventure isTom Rosenbauer and Jeff Blood,who are both excitedabout the prospectsof hooking into somebright, fresh chrome. This is going to be a verytechnical and detailed showwith lots of great information. Even better, the nymphingtechniques we will discusshave applications for otherspecies, too, such as trout. That’s a nice one, too. Great fish. Fantastic steelhead. Stay with us for this greatadventure on the rivers of Ohio. All this coming up nexton The New Fly Fisher. – Welcome to the southernshores of Lake Erie,specifically, thefreshwater arteriesthat make up the lifebloodof this Great Lake. Lake Erie is blessedwith multiple tributariesall along its shoreline. The lake borders the statesof Michigan, New York,Pennsylvania and Ohio. All four states contribute tothe stocking of salmon heads,specifically, steelhead,or lake run rainbow troutinto Lake Erie for the benefitof the lake and anglers alike. We are fishing the tributariesof Lake Erie in Ohio,making the SteeleMansion in Painesvilleour home for the week. Fishing with us is localsteelhead expert Jeff Blood,and good friend Tom Rosenbauer. Both gentlemen are well-fishedand experts in their own right. Fishing for steelhead happensin the fall and in the spring. It’s an importantindustry and great drawfor anglers alike in Ohio. Fall time sees lake run rainbowtrout coming into the systemto feed on freshly spawned eggs. Springtime sees themreturn to the riverslooking to spawn themselves. It’s mid-April and the steelheadare just entering the system. Fresh fish, or fishjust entering theriver, are our target. The plan is to fish thesouthern shore of Ohioand the surroundingrivers and creeksthat empty into Lake Erie. I’ve never fished here before,and upon approaching this riverI’ve noticed that because ofrecent rains and spring runoff,the water’s really dirty. I don’t know what’sbeyond four feetfrom the edge of the river. When approaching a piece ofwater for the first time,don’t go barging in upto your knees right away. Stand back and fish asclose as you can to youwhere you might thinkthat fish may lay. It turns out we’ve been watchingsome anglers catching fish,and they’re supertight to this bank. So, don’t go barging in,start short to yourself,cast out, fish it, andthen work your way out. What’s considered perfectwater color for steelhead?Good question. In the spring, thereare a variety of factorsthat will alter thecolor of the water. Water color is really dictatedby the amount of sedimentor material in the waterafter a natural weather event. Some of the factors that playinto the color of the waterinclude rainfall,river bottom makeup,and the amount of spring runoffthat the system is experiencing. Ideal water color should beslightly tinted or off colorwhere you can see up to twofeet or so in the water. A slight tinge in colorallows fish to react to a flyversus seeing itclearly, and spook it. Stained water allowssteelhead to eat,as that hit can be moreof a reaction bite. – When you’re fishing formigratory fish like steelhead,you’ve got two options. You either areflexible and you wait’til conditions are perfect,you call you a fly shop,you check the internet,you get on the riverwhen it’s just right, oryou do what we’re doing hereand you take whatthe river offers you. You’ve planned atrip, you’re gonna go. So, we’re here,the water was high. It’s dropping now, itlooks a little bit better,it’s starting to clear. We’re gonna make thebest of it, have fun,and try to catch some steelhead. I came up to this spot here,kinda worked my way up. It looks like pretty marginalwater, but you never knowwith the high waterthat we’ve had,the steelhead have droppedback in the shallower water. So, there’s very bigexpanse of fast water herewith a tree overhanging,but the current out there,to my eye, is way too fast. There’s just a littlebit of softer wateron the inside here, andjust gonna take a few castsin this shallow, softer waterjust in case theremight be a fish in here. So, I came up onthis fast water here,and I noticed the softwater on the insidewhere that whirlpoolgoes around. I thought maybe just aheadof that swirling whirlpoolwhere that big foam thingis where those bubblesare coming down there,there’s a nice, soft edge. It’s relatively deep inthere, and sure enough,the second cast therewas a fish in there. So, just looking for that littlebit softer water, you know?This whirlpool would be tough,but that nice, even, softwater just above there. Not really a good placeto land ’em in here. I’d like to be below him. So, pulling a fishupstream is always tough. The hook’s gonna pull out. So, I think what I’m gonnado is try to run downstreamand get below ’emso I can get ’eminto a little bitslower water, too. So, I’m gonna get in the waterhere and try to get below ’emand get in a little bitbetter landing spot. Nice fish. Oh, and he ate the egg!This fish ate a flythat was given to meby an angler who’s beendoing well with it. It’s a yellow, big,yellow yarn egg fly,and I’ve gotta go overand thank him for that. There he is. Pretty, bright steelhead. Give it a drink. Whoa, and off he goes. – So, you can fish forthese fish with streamers,with nymphs, withtraditional salmon fliesor steelhead flies, but today,what we’re gonna do isfish some egg flies. It’s prettystraightforward setup. It’s basically nymph fishing,and I’ve got a floating line. Just plain, old floatingline, standard floating line,and then I’ve got a leader butt,then I’ve got sightermaterial on here. So, this is amulticolored sectionthat I can keep an eyeon as my fly drifts. And then I have, youcan either have a knot,or a swivel, or a tippet ring,and then a long piece offluorocarbon tippet fairly thinto get those fliesdown to the fish. And then I’ve got a coupleof egg patterns on here. I’ve got a chartreuse one, andkind of a natural egg color. I’m gonna try a tightline, euro nymphing-type,where what I’m gonna dois put some split shotahead of that first fly,and then I will just plunkit out there with a high rod,follow that sighterdown the current,and watch for any hesitation. – As you can see, Tom is usinga very different techniquefor targeting thesesteelhead than I am. He’s tight liningwith a sighter,which means that he’s indirect contact with his fly,and the weight thathe has to get his flydown to the bottom. I’m using an indicator,which is not unlike a bobber,which shows what’s going onbeneath the surface for me,but I don’t directlyfeel what Tom feels. So, it’s two very different waysof presenting eggs and nymphs,and they’re both veryeffective in their own right. You know what?To each his own. Tom loves thesensitivity of being ableto feel those fish take,or to feel the bottom,and I like the action ofseeing the bobber go down,the indicator go down,and setting the hookon these fantasticGreat Lake steelhead. Oh!- Yeah! – Well, it’s been a longcouple of days for me. Let me tell youthat much for free. But through the guidanceof experts like Tom,and of course, Jeff, it’sfinally come to fruition. Come tight on a steelheadafter losing fish after fish. That’s a nice one, too. And it took the white zonker. Ooh, into my feet!Hey, Tom, you weregonna give me a hand?- Yeah. – Great. Thank you, Tom. – You’re welcome, Mark. Nice job. Nice job. – Great fish. Fantastic steelhead. Good stuff. We’ll get him unbuttoned. And he wasn’t comingloose anytime soon. – No, you hooked him well. Took the white zonker. – Yup, white zonker. – Cool. – Great fish. – Yup. – Fantastic. All right. Let’s go see, now thatthe skunk’s off my back,maybe things will change a bit. Thanks, Tom. – I hope so. – We decideto pack things upand hit a smallertributary of Lake Erie. Tom asked Jeff the mostimportant of questions,where do we look forsteelhead in a river?- So, we’re here on asmaller steelhead stream,a tributary of a larger river,and I’m here with Jeff Blood,who grew up in this area andknows this fishery intimately. We want to talk a little bitabout how you read the waterbecause where you put your flyis the most importantthing, right?- Absolutely, Tom. If you look at this water, Tom,it’s got a nice current comingin, but it’s not too heavy,so they’re not expending alot of energy to stay here. They drop down in, there’sa ledge over there,so they like structure,they like rocks,like what’s in thewater right here,and it’s just a softdrift coming down through. Perfect place to hold ’em. You want to spend a little moretime on this type of a poolthan you might onanother smaller,lesser pool as yougo up the stream. There we go. Yeah, we got a nicesteelhead here. So, he was laying right in that,just soft seam right there. And there’s some good structureand a ledge right down there. Just a perfectplace for him to be. It’s not a particularly hugefish, but it’s a nice fish. So, I caught himon a white zonker,and I find that fly to beparticularly effective,especially on theLake Erie tribs. And what I believe it’simitating is an emerald shiner,and particularly, adead emerald shiner,which the reasonwhy it works well isthere’s natural mortalityevery day out in the lake,and the fish feedon the dead ones. A lot of people don’tknow that, but they do. So, this looks likea nice, little male. You can see that whitezonker in his mouth. So, here we go. Got a little color to him. Woops!That’s a nice, little male. Woop. Yeah, he’s off andready to catch again. – Yahoo!Oh, yeah!All right, a jump!Jeff was fishing down therein a little bit slower water,and I always like to fisha little bit moretowards the head. I think the fishare easier to catchwhen they’re inthe faster water. They’re easier to fool. They have to grab itquicker, and this fish,it didn’t take him longto grab that white zonker. – We are the onlyfour diamond hotelin all of Lake, Geauga,or Ashtabula Counties. It’s as good as youcan get in Ohio. We’re a 16-room hoteland a party center,so we’re really twobusinesses in one. We have the potential forweddings or corporate meetingsup to 125 people,but down to roomsthat will occupyjust less than 10. We have 16 guestrooms,and they’re allavailable for anything. Small ones up to largeones, everything different. Everything intriguingand inviting. It really works very, very well. Fly fishing is always verypopular in the local area,and in general, thewhole northern Ohio area. Just on my way to workI pass the Grand River,which is a fantasticplace for fly fishing. The silver bullets,the steelhead. It’s a great place tobe, but we also haveall of Lake Erie withthe fly fishing there. The fishing hereis just amazing. I think it’s one of theunder-sung, under-publicizedtravel opportunities thatpeople don’t know so much about. I’m working on trying toget the word out there. – We atThe New Fly Fisherhave a storied past in Ohio,namely because the fishingfor steelhead is incredible. – There you go. Now, bring it outthere, just snag there. That’s. . . – Fish on. – Yeah. – Right there!What a technique, Jeff!What a technique, right there!This is outstanding. – Steelhead arehigh-jumping, line-pulling,knuckle-bustingadversaries on fly. They will readily takeegg patterns, zonkers,stone flies, andworm imitations. And when a fish eats,you’ll know it, for sure. Any unnatural movement onyour tight line or indicator?Set the hook. When you’re fishinga pool or a run,how deep should you set yourindicator rig on your leader?It’s a very easy question, andit could make the differencebetween catching and notcatching anything all day. Well, a great rule of thumbis if you can estimatehow deep the poolis or the run isthat you’re going to be fishing. Go 1 1/2 times that depthwhere you set indicatoron your leader. So, if it’s a four foot deeppool that you’re fishing,set your indicatorat the six foot mark. If it’s a five foot deeppool that you’re fishing,set your indicatorat a 7 1/2 foot mark. When you approach apool and you’re readyto start fishing it,you know how deep it is,or approximately,go 1 1/2 times,and that’s where youset your indicator. All right, so we cometo this big bend poolhere on this river, and thiswas the third drift through,and boom, got a reallynice steelhead here. Yeah . Look at how freshthis fish looks. Oh my gosh, it’s just beautiful. This is what you cometo Ohio for. What a great fish. This is amazing. Hot, clean, fresh fish. There he goes. That was fun. That was really,really fun. Ate the egg. Perfect. – So, the equipment that we usewhile fishing GreatLake steelheadhere in this great state ofOhio is really quite simple. I have a nine footeight weight fly rod,a large arbor reel for sure,because these steelheadwill take you for a run. Maybe not quiteinto your backing,but you do want the a reelthat’ll be able to pick up linereally fast when they turnaround and come back at you. For leader, we’ve got anine foot 3X tapered leader. 3X tippet. Now, the most importantthing I can sayto bring along with you whenyou come to Ohio is flies. Whatever fly selectionyou choose to bring,make sure you bringa lot of them. We were fishing with eggpatterns and white zonkers,and we did go through a lot. These rivers can bevery snaggy and craggy,and you want tomake sure you’ve gotyour favorite flieson hand while fishingthese Great Lake steelhead. Ooh, hot fish!It’s not a giant, butman, oh man, is it fresh. Silver. And he took the topfly, he took the egg. Good fish, clean fish. What a fantastic fish. Hey Jeff, you want to comeand help me with this? He did, yeah. He took the top one. But that fish ate,I set the hook,and he just went, toon! – That’s beautiful. – Man, this cold water. What do think it is?Low 40s, right?- Yeah, it’s pretty cold. – It’s cold, but there’sstill, oh, look at that. No, man. You still go lots of,lots of power left. There we go, right to ya. – Skinny fish. – Yeah,ate an orange egg. Well, that about doesit for this springsteelhead adventure in Ohio. Thanks for watching. I want to thank JeffBlood and Tom Rosenbauerfor their expert advice,as well as everyonein the great state of Ohiowho helped make this possible. Remember, adventureis out there. All you need to dois go and find it. And what betterway to do so thanwith a fly rod in your hand?For everyone fromThe New Fly Fisher,thanks for watching,and hopefully,we’ll see you on the tributariesof the Great Lake Erie.